Everyone has heard some of the urban legends and rumors about ridiculous laws in America, but not all of these bear merit. Often times, sites can misinterpret a state’s law, and it only adds to the myths circling around. “People believe a lot of things they see on the Internet,” says Thomas Bumgardner, an attorney with the Law Office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC. “It is important to verify your source before you believe it.”

Here are some of the strangest state laws that we found:

In Alaska, it’s illegal to get drunk in a bar and remain on the premises

  • This seems to defeat the purpose of a bar does it not? The statute actually states that an intoxicated person may not “knowingly” enter or camp out where alcohol is sold.

Idaho is the only state to declare cannibalism illegal

  • Even though it was outlawed in 1990, Idaho remains the only state that says it’s illegal. The act is prohibited and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. On the other hand, it is okay to “willfully ingest the flesh or blood of a human being”, only in a life-or-death situation.

In Indiana, liquor stores cannot sell specific cooled beverages

Seashells and fresh green seaweed on the seashore. Selective focusing with beautiful vintage lens bokeh.
  • Liquor stores are able to sell unchilled soda. This is because the code specifically lists what types of beverages and what temperatures permit-holding businesses can have in stock.

In Iowa, it’s punishable to sell fake butter as real butter

  • It is considered a misdemeanor to try to pass off margarine as real butter in Iowa. The state of Iowa has a desire of transparency through the controversial butter vs. margarine debate.

Adultery is a felony in Michigan

  • A statute that has been on the books since 1931 makes adultery a felony, punishable by a maximum of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even if a married individual sleeps with a single individual, the unmarried party is also considered guilty and liable for punishment.

It’s illegal to collect seaweed at night in New Hampshire

  • As of 1973, breaking the laws about fish and game will land you a “violation” with an unspecified punishment. While this law may sound absurd to the average person, seaweed is actually a widely used commodity for fertilizer and animal feed.

Bingo for too long in North Carolina is banned

  • Yes, you read this correctly. In North Carolina bingo games can only last up to five hours. The state’s administrative code even contains a few more explicit restrictions on the game: only one in a 48 hour period and no more than a $500 prize.

South Dakota allows explosives to defend sunflowers

Vintage Bingo Cards
  • Crows and other birds can wreak havoc on a field of plants trying to grow, and pyrotechnics are a farmers’ first defense – so long as they are not used within 600 feet of an occupied home, church or schoolhouse.

In Texas, an atheist cannot run for office

  • Though the Lone Star State prohibits “religious tests” as a qualification for candidates, anyone wishing to run for office must acknowledge the existence of a “Supreme Being.”

Ferrets cannot be used for hunting in West Virginia

  • Anyone who hunts, catches, takes, kills, injures or pursues a wild animal or bird with a ferret will face a fine of no less than $100 (but no more than $500) and no less than 10 (but no more than 100) days in jail.

While we do not pursue cases involving these ridiculous laws, we do help everyday homeowners and residents with your legal issues and challenges like divorce, child custody, personal injury and car accidents. If you feel like you need professional legal assistance, please contact us at The Law Offices of Thomas Bumgardner, PLLC, at 704-887-4981 or contact us. We want to help you stand up for your rights and protect your family.