Published August 31, 2018|10 min read
Updated July 24, 2019: There are a ton of laws in Americ a — some of them obvious, some of them not so obvious. While in some states you can own your very own flamethrower, in others, you could go to jail for playing a night round of frisbee golf.
In some cases, you could get fined — or worse — for some of the most mundane, or silly, things. Check out these weird fines in states across America and make sure you start reading the fine print of your state's laws.
Strange law: Ready to party in Mobile? Be careful how you celebrate: It’s illegal for anyone to “to have in possession, manufacture, or handle any confetti." Violations can result in a fine of more than $100.
Strange law: In Juneau, you can’t take animals into places where (human) food is sold or prepared – that makes sense. But the additional restriction blocking them from “any barber shops” is a little strange.
Strange law: Fortune telling and palmistry for money are misdemeanors in Avondale, which comes with a $500 fine. Something else that will get you in trouble? Practicing hypnotism (unless you’re a doctor).
Strange law: If you’re looking for a late-night snack, keep it down in Little Rock. It’s illegal to honk your car horn after 9 p.m. at “any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served.” Violating it can cost up to $1,000 – that’s an expensive sandwich.
Strange law: Setting up a cat trap on your property is illegal in Riverside County unless you have a sign that’s visible from the road saying the trap is in place. Not doing so can cost you $100 for a first offense. (Side note: If you catch a lactating cat, you have to immediately release it.)
Strange law: In Denver, it’s illegal for “any person to frequent or loiter in any ... establishment where intoxicants are sold for the purpose of ... soliciting another person to purchase drinks.” If you’re caught and fined, your free drink might not be so free. If you need to save this bad, consider cutting back on the drinks.
Strange law: The stakes are high when you’re gambling, but you may want to reconsider your strategy next time you’re at the Blackjack table. If you’re caught cheating in Connecticut, it is considered a class D felony.
Check out our feature on how low-stakes gamblers think about money.
Strange law: If you’re ever at Rehoboth Beach, be warned: It’s illegal to pretend to sleep on a bench on the boardwalk.
Strange law: If you’re thinking of playing a practical joke, you may want to think again. Theft of livestock and beehives have increased over the years and is considered grand theft of the third degree and a felony of the third degree.
Strange law: Per Georgia law, anyone who sponsors or operates any activities with llamas are not liable if you get injured or die.
Strange law: You should always buckle up when you’re in a car. In Hawaii — and most places for that matter — you can’t legally ride in the backseat without a seat belt. But if you’re over the age of 13, you can casually ride in a truck bed with no safety equipment.
Strange law: You can face up to six months in jail for selling “Idaho Deluxe” potatoes with rot, blemishes or sun damage (based on a percentage on the container).
Strange law: A person with a permanent disability is allowed to own a capuchin monkey to assist him or her in performing daily tasks. However, you can be fined up to $2,500 or go to jail (Class C misdemeanor) for possessing a leopard, ocelot, mountain lion, hyena or bear.
Strange law: Don’t try and flirt your way into a free drink — bartenders can receive a Class B misdemeanor if they serve a drink on the house. According to the law, alcohol sellers are not allowed to “discriminate” between customers by offering one drink at a different price. Class B misdemeanors carry up to a $1,500 fine or jail time.
Strange law: In Marshalltown, you’re prohibited from displaying a poster or sign containing the word “saloon,” even if you’re the owner of one. Terms including bar and barroom are also prohibited.
Strange law: In Wichita, you’re prohibited from owning more than two pet rabbits without a permit. In Lawrence, you’re allowed up to three. But in Topeka, there’s no limit on the number of rabbits you can have. Want to keep your furry friends safe from more than just the law? Consider pet insurance.
Strange law: You’re not allowed to display, handle or use a reptile during a religious service. That means no alligators (or lizards, snakes, turtles or tuataras) at church or else you could face as much as a $100 fine.
Strange law: It’s illegal to go to a boxing match and make “insulting or abusive” remarks at the fighters. Did your guy just take an uppercut to the chin? Keep it polite — you can yell until you’re hoarse, but make sure it’s constructive criticism.
Strange law: In Rumford, it’s illegal to walk your dog on a leash longer than six feet, so make sure you keep Spot reined in.
Strange law: In Rockville, it’s a misdemeanor to use profane language on a street, sidewalk or highway, so you better find a better way to let out that road rage — safely.
Strange law: Put down the cordial cherries, and nobody gets hurt. In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to sell candies that contain syrup with more than 1% of alcohol.
Strange law: Think next time you decide to bring the party on the train. It’s illegal to be drunk on a train in The Great Lakes State.
Strange law: In Minneapolis, you may find yourself fighting for a parking space even if your own driveway has plenty of room — only two vehicles can be parked on any property at one time.
Strange law: In Mississippi, church is taken is very seriously — anyone disturbing a service can be arrested immediately by any officer or “any private person.”
Strange law: The word “meat” can’t be used to describe anything but animal flesh in Missouri — which means that fake meat and lab-grown meat have to be called something else in the state. Can't give up veggie burgers? Here are the best ones in each state.
Strange law: Remember that game bros played in college? “Folf” or “disc golf” or “Frisbee golf?” It’s apparently so rampant in Helena that the city banned anyone from playing after 8 p.m., unless they’re on a designated golf course, lest they face a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.
Strange law: Drivers could get ticketed if they don’t stay to the right when driving through a canyon or over a mountain. Sounds reasonable, but have you seen Nebraska? The highest place in the state is Panorama Point. Google it and you will know the meaning of “flat.”
Strange law: Next time you decide to take your camel for a joy ride, think again. Riding a camel on the highway is illegal across the state.
Strange law: Anyone caught collecting seaweed from the seashore after dark will also get a fine. Seek seaweed during the day — at least you can see.
Strange law: New Jersey law requires drivers to honk every time they pass another vehicle. People honk for many reasons in New Jersey, but in this case, it could result in a ticket.
Strange law: If you start to sing the national or state anthems in New Mexico, you’d better finish it. Anyone who doesn’t sing, play or render the anthem as “an entire or separate composition or number” is guilty of a petty misdemeanor, worth up to a $500 fine.
Strange law: Wearing a mask in public is illegal unless you have permission from the city. Cops look the other way on Halloween, we’re guessing.
Strange law: Have you ever wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for “longest bingo game”? Well, you may have a tough time accomplishing that feat in North Carolina, where the law limits bingo games to under five hours per session.
Strange law: Your dogs probably love this law! Your pyromaniac nephew? Not so much. In Devil’s Lake, it's illegal to light off any fireworks outside the hours of 8 A.M. and 11 P.M. Let’s just say that the 4th of July isn’t very “lit” here.
Strange law: Apparently the people of Akron got a little too creative with the poultry, because dyeing chickens different colors became such a big thing there that the city finally clamped down and made it illegal to sell the poor colorful chicks.
Strange law: Eager to find out that latest gossip? In Oklahoma, you may want to resist that temptation, as its illegal to eavesdrop.
Strange law: Don't think about hunting in a cemetery — that's illegal here (and just rude).
Strange law: Fishermen in Pennsylvania may be out of luck if they forget their fishing poles, because it's illegal to use your hands, mouth and sticks of dynamite to catch (or annihilate) aquatic friends.
Strange law: No one may bite off someone’s leg. Yes, that’s a real law. If you break this one, you are looking at least one year in jail, with the potential of up to 20 years.
Strange law: Sorry, minors. According to South Carolina law, it is illegal for anyone younger than 18 to play pinball.
Strange law: Somehow it is unlawful for people in Huron to cause static between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Strange law: It’s illegal in Knoxville to advertise fortune telling and will result in a $119.50 fine. But you probably already knew that.
Strange law: If you’re in Austin, don’t carry your wire cutters in your pocket. This is an old carryover law that helped prevent landowners in favor of open ranges from cutting down barbed wire fences.
Strange law: Utah has a long list of strange liquor laws, but those aren’t the only beverage rules Utahns have to worry about. Places that unfairly discriminate in the purchase of milk, cream or butterfat are committing a crime.
Strange law: The strangest fine in Vermont we could substantiate: It’s illegal to prohibit people from putting up clotheslines. The state wanted to get ahead of landlords and Homeowner Associations standing in the way of renewable energy sources.
Strange law: Keeping a skunk as a pet can cost you up to $500. Side note: Don’t keep a skunk as a pet.
Strange law: Do not kill, harm or harass “Sasquatch,” “Yeti,” “Bigfoot” or “Giant Hairy Ape” in Washington, lest you incur an up to $1,000 fine or spend one year in prison.
Strange law: Come to the nation's capital to see the sights, but take your dancing shoes elsewhere. It's illegal to dance within the Jefferson Memorial — and you can't dance for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period.
Strange law: Potty mouths, beware: The state reserves the right to fine you $1 every time you cuss or swear.
Strange law: The Badger state has a lot of butter laws — yes, butter — on the books. Serve margarine instead of butter to restaurant guests unprompted and you can get fined between $100 to $500 or imprisoned for up to three months. Penalties are stricter for second offenders.
Strange law: Under the state’s fence laws, residents can get fined up to $750 if they open and neglects to close a gate or replace bars in a fence that crosses a private road or a river, stream or ditch.
Traveling cross-country? Check out these small towns in each state.
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