Criminal Law FAQ

Strange but True Laws

Most Americans have a general understanding of what constitutes a crime. However, there are a host of "strange but true" laws which exist in states, cities, and towns across America which may come as a shock to most people. While some of these laws have been taken off the books, and are therefore no longer considered a crime, in other cases, these laws remain in statutes or codes, but have lain dormant and have not been enforced for years. By all means, the following are intended to be only a representative sample of strange laws . . . there are plenty more of them out there, so be on your guard!

  • It is against the law to hunt for camels in Arizona.
  • If you slap a man on the back in Georgia, you have broken the law.
  • In Detroit, Michigan, it is against the law to sit in the middle of a street and read a newspaper.
  • Boston, Massachusetts, once had a law which made it illegal to bathe more than one time per week.
  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is prohibited in Compton, California.
  • In Oklahoma, you can be fined, arrested, or jailed for making ugly faces at a dog.
  • In Memphis, Tennessee, it is against the law to sell teddy bears or yo-yo's on Sundays.
  • A state law in South Carolina forbids people from crawling in public sewers without a permit.
  • In Wyoming, women are required to stand five feet away from the bar while drinking.
  • In Lake Charles, Louisiana, you can be cited if you allow a rain puddle to remain in your yard for more than twelve hours.
  • You may not use a mule while hunting for ducks in Kansas.
  • If you use a bean-shooter in Arkansas, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • At one time in Kansas, it was against the law for restaurants to serve cherry pie with ice cream.
  • In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
  • A Connecticut law prohibits people from walking across a street on their hands.
  • Men, in Florida, are prohibited from being seen in public in any type of strapless gown.
  • In Iowa, kisses may last for as much as, but no longer than, five minutes.
  • Mourners at a wake in Massachusetts may eat no more than three sandwiches apiece.
  • Beer and pretzels may not be served at the same time in any restaurant or bar in North Dakota.
  • In Florida, beauty shop patrons, as well as the shop owner, can be fined if they fall asleep under a hair dryer.
  • It is against the law to lasso catfish in Tennessee.
  • In King County, Washington, it is illegal for any woman to sit on a man's lap on a bus unless they are married.

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