20 Weird Laws from the United States of America



Land of the free, home of the brave … and owner of some of the most bizarre laws you’ve ever heard of. The various states have very specific laws about hygiene, animals and guns, and there’s no doubt that they’re quite useful, or were at some time during the country’s history. True, many of the laws hark back to the good old days and no-one has been bothered to change them, which is great for us because if they don’t shock you, they will bring a smile to your face, so they’re great for entertainment value if not for legal value. And remember, there probably wasn’t a law made if someone hadn’t tried these crazy things to start with, so spare a thought for the trailblazers of ridiculous behaviour!

Criminal Rights

In Michigan, if a burglar is injured while robbing your home, he’s entitled to sue you. So you’d better double your insurance!

No Nukes

In some parts of California and Massachusetts, it’s illegal to detonate a nuclear device within city limits and you’ll be up for a $500 fine. What you do outside city limits is up to you, and the future of mankind.

Say Cheese!

In South Dakota, it’s illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory. This is one of those laws where you have to wonder who the poor guy was who inspired it, and what happened to him?

Leave Dangerous Animals at Home

In West Virginia, you absolutely must not walk your tiger, lion or leopard, even if it’s on a leash. Apparently nothing can contain them when they’re out for walkies, so best keep them at home.

Fake Facial Hair

In Alabama, it’s illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in a church. These kinds of very specific laws are easy to get around: either wear your unfunny fake moustache to church, or wear your funny one to the bar.

Horse Sense

If you’ve had a few drinks and need to get home but you know you can’t drive, a horse isn’t going to be a suitable substitute either. It’s illegal in Colorado to ride a horse under the influence of alcohol, as it would be with any motorised vehicle, so next time you’re off to the bar, better leave your keys, and your reins, at home!

Hair Care

A wife’s hair legally belongs to her husband in Michigan and Minnesota, so she has to seek permission from him before making any changes. So much for that surprise anniversary perm! The crazy hair laws don’t end there: in Oklahoma, a woman can’t do anything to her own her without a license (so no cheap home dye jobs); Wisconsin is also very strict about who can tamper with a person’s ‘do, and in Nebraska a mother can’t give her daughter a perm without permission, which is probably for the best. In Florida, it’s not permitted to fall asleep under a hair dryer at the salon, which is for the benefit of everyone concerned!

A Whale of a Time

In the states of California, Kentucky and Tennessee it’s illegal to shoot game from the window of a moving vehicle … except whales. Whales are ok to shoot from a moving vehicle. Yeah, that sentence doesn’t seem right to us either. In Ohio, it’s illegal to fish for whales on Sunday, so better get all your whale fishing done on a Saturday!

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

The answer is, he didn’t. At least not in Quitman, Georgia, where it’s illegal for chickens to cross roads. Maybe everyone is sick of the joke and hoped that this law would end it. That’s not the only chicken law in the Peach State: it’s illegal to cut off a chicken’s head on Sundays in Columbus.

Animal Rights

There are a multitude of laws across the States to ensure people aren’t using animals for entertainment purposes or otherwise and, again, you have to wonder how much of a problem these behaviours were for these laws to exist! For example, it’s illegal to mistreat rats in Denver, Colorado; dogs with tattoos must be reported to the police in Connecticut; you’re not allowed to wake a sleeping bear for the purposes of a photograph in Alaska (best to let sleeping bears lie); there’s a $500 fine for molesting butterflies in California, whatever that even means; if you tie your elephant to a parking meter in Florida, be sure to pay the parking as you would a normal vehicle; beating bats with a baseball bat in Galesburg, Illinois comes with a $100 fine; it’s illegal to use any kind of reptile in a religious service in Kentucky; don’t tie your alligator to a fire hydrant in New Orleans; you can’t mistreat oysters in Baltimore, Maryland, again whatever that means; no gorillas in the backseats of cars in Massachusetts; camel and ostrich racing in New Mexico are strictly a no-no; in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s illegal to tether a giraffe to a telegraph pole; and, if you’re visiting a zoo in New Jersey, make sure you don’t offer any of the animals any whiskey or cigarettes. Phew! Or, you could use your common sense and just buy a dog and take it for a walk.

Dating Rules

In Idaho, men courting ladies had better not be stingy with the presents – it’s illegal for a man to give a woman a box of candy weighing less than 50 pounds. Wonder if that also applies to virtual candy for internet daters?

No Sale

You’ve only got six days of the week to buy a car in Colorado, where it’s illegal for car dealers to show cars on a Sunday.

Financial Sense

There are plenty of ways to keep your money safe, but in Hawaii, sticking coins in your ears is not one of them. Perhaps put them in a bank instead!

Christmas Spirit Deadline

If you get annoyed with lazy neighbours who don’t get their Christmas decorations down until the next holiday, then Maine is for you! It’s an offence to have your Christmas decorations up later than January 14. Now that’s a crazy law that would be welcome anywhere!

We’re Counting

In both Louisiana and Massachusetts, it’s frowned upon to eat more than three sandwiches at a wake. So stick to two, and move on to the cheese platter.

Fire Safety

In Florida, it’s illegal not to tell your neighbour that their house is on fire. It doesn’t matter how much they annoy you with loud music and their car blocking your driveway!

Go Ask Your Father

If you’re under 18 and live in the state of Washington, don’t throw any tear gas canisters. At least, not until your parents say its okay. After you’re 18, the decision is entirely up to you!

The X Factor

It’s illegal to sing off key in North Carolina, so it’s likely we can assume amateur talent contests don’t happen very often, and very few boy band tours coming through the state.

The Exits Are Here, Here and Here

In Maine, it’s illegal to step out of an aircraft in mid-flight. It’s highly unlikely anyone has actually been charged with this offence, due to the probability that they wouldn’t survive long enough for the police to arrive.

Great Timing!

And winner of the most random law goes to the state of Pennsylvania for this illogical piece of legislation: all fire hydrants must be checked one hour before fires. If your inferno doesn’t give you due warning, everyone is in trouble!