People of America, take note. You could pride yourself on being the most law-abiding citizen of your region, but you live in South Carolina and ever played pinball as a child, you’re not only an arcade guru, but a lawbreaker as well.
From legalized incest to harsh restrictions on fortune tellers, here are our favorite, totally true, craziest laws in each state.
Since we’re lawyers, we checked the books for each law to make sure it’s 100% real. If you don’t believe us, we hyperlinked to each law’s full text in the description. Enjoy!
Incestuous marriages – between two people who are very closely related – is legal.
A drunk person may not “knowingly” enter or stay in an establishment where alcohol is sold. So if you’re in a bar, you better not get drunk.
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If you want to feed pigs garbage, you’ll need a special permit that must be renewed each January. Importantly, this does not apply to you if it’s your own pet pig, raised for personal use. Feed them all the garbage you’d like.
It’s been illegal to mispronounce the state’s name since 1881.
The way we say “Arkansas” reflects the state’s heritage: a Sioux word, with a French pronunciation.
If a frog dies in a frog-jumping contest, it must be destroyed immediately, and may not be eaten.
This section of the Fish and Game Code was a response to the Calaveras County Fair, where a frog-jumping competition is held every year. Some frogs release harmful chemicals after dying, so it’s an effort to protect the public.
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It’s illegal to ride a horse while under the influence. This law is still enforced: in 2013 a man was charged for drunk-horse-riding, and was issued a traffic infraction.
If you want to legally sell pickles here, the pickle must bounce.
In 1948, two men were arrested for selling rotten pickles. The state Food and Drug Commissioner stated the little-known fact that pickles that are safe to eat bounce when dropped from the height of one foot.
Drive-ins may not show R-rated movies, as minors could potentially be present, ever tainting their youth.
All doors of public buildings must open outward.
In 1891, Florida officials were concerned about fires, and wanted to make sure crowds could exit immediately.
In Athens-Clarke County (where Atlanta is located) it’s illegal to whistle, sing, or shout that are “plainly audible” on both public and private property between 11:00pm and 7:00am.
It’s legal to ride in the back of a pickup if there are no seats available on the inside of the truck. As long as riders sit on the floor, you know, for safety.
It’s illegal to sweep dirt and other debris onto the street in the town of Eagle.
You may not sleep in a cheese factory, bake shop, kitchen, dining room, or any place where food is prepared, served, or sold. Unless, of course, the food is “at all times” hermetically sealed.
State code specifically regulates the temperature of certain beverages. Businesses cannot sell cooled water or soda, for example, but can sell room temperature soda.
If you want to legally throw bricks (or shoot arrows) onto the streets of Mount Vernon, you need to get written permission from City Council.
In Derby, it’s illegal to drive a car in a way that makes the tires screech. Screeching tires is a misdemeanor, punishable by $500 and 30 days in jail.
You cannot dye a baby chick, duckling, or rabbits any color. You also cannot or give away these animals, unless there are more than six of them. Violators face a $100-$500 fine.
You cannot mock or insult anyone involved in a boxing match.
It’s illegal to park in front of a Dunkin Donuts in South Berwick.
It’s illegal to have road rage: no one can swear or use obscene language on or near any street, sidewalk, or highway if anyone could hear you.
It’s illegal to sell or play golf with exploding golf balls, and repeated violations can land you in jail.
It’s illegal for any man to seduce any unmarried woman. This is a felony, punishable by 5 years in jail or $2,500. Jude Law better stay out of Michigan.
It’s a misdemeanor to run or participate in greased pig contests or turkey scrambles.
A law from 1942 makes it illegal to have more than one child outside of marriage.
Bear wrestling is a misdemeanor.
You cannot bring a rocket with you to city council meetings in Billings.
It’s illegal to get married if you’re under the age of 17, or have a venereal disease.
It’s illegal (a form of disorderly conduct) for anyone to sit or lay down on public sidewalks in Reno.
It’s illegal to carry seaweed from the ocean after sunset.
The law was put into effect in 1973, likely because seaweed is commonly used as fertilizer and animal feed. The law ensures everyone has a fair chance to harvest seaweed for farm use.
It’s illegal for anyone to wear a bulletproof vest while committing or attempting to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, kidnapping, assault, or criminal escape.
The national anthem and the state song, “Oh Fair New Mexico” must be played or sung in their entirety. Cutting either song off early is against the law.
It’s illegal for more than two people to gather in public places while wearing a disguise or mask.
The law was created in
when farmers responded to decreasing wheat prices by dressing up as Native Americans, with masks to keep their identity hidden, and attacking police officers. The law was most recently enforced during the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.
Bingo games are strictly regulated: they can last no longer than five hours, there can only be one within a 48-hour period, and the prize can be no more than $500.
All forms of human cloning are illegal, according to a 2003 statute. No funny business either: the law also specifically prohibits interspecies cloning.
In Akron, it’s illegal to solicit sex from someone of your same gender, but only if they’re offended by it.
Due to its popularity in local bars, bear wrestling was made illegal in 1996. The law also prohibits horse tripping.
It’s illegal to hunt in a cemetery.
Fortune tellers, psychics, and tarot card readers, cannot tell fortunes that result in any kind of monetary gain. Any violation of this is a third-degree misdemeanor.
You cannot purposefully cut or bite off someone’s limbs, put out an eye, or slit their nose, ear or lip, under a threat of one to twenty years in jail. If it’s an accident, you’re good.
No one under the age of 18 can lawfully play pinball, presumably, so not to tarnish their youth.
Farmers can use fireworks to scare birds away from sunflower crops – but only sunflowers, and only if it’s at least 600 feet away from an occupied church, home, or school.
In 2011, it was made illegal to share your Netflix and Hulu passwords with anyone you don’t live with.
The 2011 law was an attempt to stop hackers who sell passwords in bulk. Sharing a password is a misdemeanor (a felony for repeat offenders) and a $2,500 fine.
Atheists cannot hold public office. Everyone running for office must acknowledge the existence of a “Supreme Being.”
Bartenders must make alcoholic drinks behind frosted glass, or another type of “solid, permanent” barrier, so patrons cannot see them.
It’s illegal to outlaw clotheslines or solar connectors. This is the most ridiculous law we could find for Vermont, making it our sanest state.
In Chesapeake, no one over the age of 12 can go trick-or-treating on Halloween. This is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $100 or six months in jail.
In 1969, it was made illegal to kill or threaten Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot, or any other “sub-species of Homo Sapian.” To do so is a felony, punished by a $10,000 fine and five years in jail.
This was the height of the Sasquatch craze, and rumors and publicity surrounding the giant hairy ape led to an increase of hunters in the Skamania County area. Officials felt the creatures – and innocent hairy humans mistaken for Sasquatch – needed protecting.
It’s illegal to hunt with a ferret. Doing so will land you between 10 and 100 days in jail, along with a $00-$500 fine.
Butter and cheese coming from the state must be “highly pleasing.”
Anyone attending play, opera, or another indoor amusement event must remove their hats and head wear. Any violators will be fined.