SHERIFF'S CORNER: Strange laws of the U.S., Part I

About this time last year, I wrote an article covering some weird laws of Michigan. Well, let's go ahead and continue with this topic but expand beyond our state.

In this edition of the "Sheriff's Corner," I cover strange laws of the U.S., Part I.

(Disclaimer: These may only pertain to a specific city within that particular state.)

• ALABAMA: It is illegal to dress up as a priest.

§ 13A-14-4 states: "Whoever, being in a public place, fraudulently pretends by garb or outward array to be a minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanor..."

• ALASKA: It is illegal to transport an animal in the back of a pick-up truck.

9.36.150 states: "No person driving a motor vehicle shall transport any animal in the back of the vehicle in a space intended for any load on the vehicle on a street unless the space is enclosed or has side and tail walls to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor, or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle, or is protected by a secured container or cage, in a manner which will prevent the animal from being thrown, falling or jumping from the vehicle."

• ARIZONA: You must be over 18 to purchase spray paint.

Sec. 22-103 states: "(a) No person other than a parent or legal guardian shall sell, exchange, give, loan, or otherwise furnish, or cause or permit to be exchanged, given, loaned, or otherwise furnished, any graffiti implement to any person under the age of eighteen (18) years ... (d) Violation of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor."

• ARKANSAS: No honking of horns at a sandwich shop at night.

Sec. 18-54 states: "No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m."

• CALIFORNIA: You cannot drive a car only wearing lingerie.

From It is illegal for women to drive a motor vehicle while wearing a housecoat. A housecoat is also known as a nightgown or a nighty.

• COLORADO: It is illegal to keep a couch on your front porch.

5-4-16 states: "(a) No person shall place, use, keep, store, or maintain any upholstered furniture not manufactured for outdoor use, including, without limitation, upholstered chairs, upholstered couches, and mattresses, in any outside areas located in the following places:... (4) On any covered or uncovered porch located in or adjacent to any of the yards..."

• CONNECTICUT: Municipal records cannot be housed where liquor is sold.

Sec. 30-97 states: "Town or probate records shall not be kept in any room in which alcoholic liquor is sold, nor in any room from which there is direct access to a room in which such liquor is sold."

• DELAWARE: Alcohol may not be served in nightclubs if dancing is occurring on the premises at the same time.

134-13 states: "No person shall sell, give, dispense, provide or keep or cause to be sold, given, dispensed, provided or kept any alcoholic beverage on the premises of any dance hall establishment."

• FLORIDA: Fiddlers and stay at home dads are considered vagrants.

50-20 states: "The following shall be deemed vagrants. (4) Common pipers and fiddlers. (13) Persons neglecting all lawful businesses and habitually spending all their time by frequenting houses of ill fame, gaming houses and tippling shops. (14) Persons able to work but habitually living upon the livings of their wives or minor children."

• GEORGIA: It is illegal to live on a boat for more than 30 days.

12-5-288 states: "...Activities and structures considered contrary to public interest...(8) Occupying a live-aboard for more than 30 days during any calendar year; provided, however, that the commissioner may grant extensions of time beyond 30 days to persons making a request in writing stating the reasons for such extension."

• HAWAII: You cannot be intoxicated, or under the influence, of glues or paints when getting a tattoo.

§11-17-7 states: "(a) It shall be unlawful to tattoo any person who is under the influence of intoxicating substances. These substances include but shall not be limited to alcohol, drugs, paints, and glues."

• IDAHO: Dirt may not be swept from one’s house into the street.

5-2-2: "It shall be unlawful for any person to sweep any dirt, trash or rubbish from the interior of any building in the city onto any street, alley or sidewalk in the city."

• ILLINOIS: Mispronouncing is a misdemeanor in Joliet, Illinois.

Town officials in Joliet, reflecting the pet peeve of hearing their town's name mispronounced 'Jolly-ETTE' when all locals know it to be pronounced 'Joe-lee-ETTE', made pronouncing it Jolly-ette a misdemeanor, punishable by a $5 fine.

• INDIANA: A person must get a referral from a licensed physician if he or she wishes to see a hypnotist unless the desired procedure is to quit smoking or lose weight.

IC 25-20.5-1-23 Sec. 23 states: "(a) Except as provided in section 1 of this chapter, an individual who is certified under this article may not treat or perform a procedure on an individual for a medical, dental, or psychological problem without a referral from a licensed physician, psychologist, or dentist. Medical, dental, or psychological problems include:

(1) mental illnesses, including depression and phobias;

(2) addictions, including gambling;

(3) sexual disorders, including impotence and sexual aversion;

(4) preparation for a medical or dental procedure;

(5) pain and physical complaints, including headaches and nausea; and

(6) eating disorders, personality disorders, kleptomania, sleepwalking, and bedwetting.

The board may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to list specific medical, psychological, and dental problems that are included under this subsection.

(b) A referral is not required under this section to treat or perform a procedure on a person who desires to quit smoking or to lose weight.

(c) An individual who violates this section commits a Class A misdemeanor."

• IOWA: Liquor stores may not place advertisements for beer outside the store.

Sec. 5 1/2-20 states: "No signs or other matter advertising any brand of beer shall be erected or placed upon the outside of any premises occupied by a licensee or permittee authorized to sell beer at retail."

• KANSAS: It is unlawful to "screech" tires.

“Unnecessary rapid acceleration, unnecessary tire squeal, skid, smoke or slide upon acceleration or stopping including the casting of tread, gravel, dirt or other road surface materials from the tires” is illegal. Also any acts that “simulate a temporary race. The penalty is a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days.

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to