We live in a strange world. When we usually travel abroad to another country, we have to be mindful of everything we do considering we don’t know the law as well as our own… but do we really? There are small little (and not so little) laws all over the place that can throw us completely for a loop when we discover that simple, mundane, everyday things we do could cost us a butt load of money or even land us in jail for a little bit. Some of these laws vary from state to state, but there are some that are countrywide and will literally make us say “WTF”? While some are clearly out of date and need the once over by officials sometime in the near future, others are actually still in place and you may need to double check when you decide to do any of these 15 things depending on what state you're in.
15 Thinking About Connecting On To Someone Else’s WiFi?
We physically can’t go anywhere these days without technology. If we even so much as walk outside of the house without our cell phones on us, we feel naked. Which is why Wi-Fi hotspots are pretty much everywhere you look. You have them in restaurants, your favorite coffee spot, the library, even at your local gas station. People everywhere would rather hop onto a secure WiFi line instead of eating up their data (money is precious, people). But what about an unsecured line? Yep, we’re even willing to grab onto that at the cost of someone stealing all our credit card information. But did you know it’s actually illegal if the line is not secure? Thanks to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it’s a crime to gain “unauthorized access” to a wireless router that is unsecured. It’s considered STEALING. Yep, so best hit up a secure line, you little criminal, you.
14 Singing “Happy Birthday” In Public
You didn’t even think about it when you were gathered around your best friend at their 7th birthday party at Dave and Buster’s that one year. You all started singing the famous “Happy Birthday” song and cheering, not for one second expecting the cops to jump out of nowhere and arrest your 7-year old butt for plagiarism. Okay, of course, that never happened, but since the song is actually copyrighted. Now, we all know that people celebrating a casual birthday aren’t going to make a profit off the singing of the song, but you do have to pay a small fine if you, in fact, do. Why do you think certain family restaurants make up their own versions of birthday songs when they sing them to paying customers? To torture us? Same goes with a majority of your favorite Christmas songs. Bet you never thought you were breaking the law there, did ya?
13 Ever Own A Permanent Marker?
We all carried them around when we were kids and then some. We would even switch out the whiteboard markers with permanent markers when our teachers weren’t looking. And sure, we got in trouble for that, but did we for one second assume that owning permanent markers was an actual crime you can go to jail for? Heck no, we didn’t. Apparently, thanks to every anti-graffiti state law out there, it’s illegal to actually own, or walk around with “broad-tipped indelible markers” in public since police believe they could be used in an act of vandalism. It’s even illegal to buy permanent markers for any minor as well, so that parent you saw picking up some of those bad boys during the huge “Back to School” sale? Yep, they could’ve totally gotten arrested for those shenanigans.
12 Leaving Your Kid At Home Alone
Man, if the parents from Home Alone knew about THIS particular law… well, they still would have forgotten their rotten kid who probably should be arrested for attempted murder in the first place from what he did to those robbers, the little sociopath (different story). There are some states (like Illinois) where it’s actually illegal to leave a child under the age of 13 home alone and could result in the parent or parents being arrested for child endangerment. Of course, this doesn’t go for all states and there are even states that allow children as young as six-years-old to be left alone at home (in states like Kansas where apparently crime is a myth… sure). Thankfully, I was raised in California where apparently it was okay to leave your kids home alone ala Home Alone – though, I didn’t torture the heck out of robbers so we’re good.
11 Betting Friends In Public (Or In Private)
We are ALL guilty of this, so I don’t want to hear any denial ESPECIALLY if you’re a sports fan (hi, guilty). Who hasn’t been watching the games with your buddies in a sports bar and put money on if Dan Bailey is gonna make that 53-yard field goal to give the Dallas Cowboys the win? Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT much money, but if you’ve ever made a bet of more than $2,000 big ones, you’ve just broken the law, my friend. Thanks to the Illegal Gambling Act of 1970 that states if you (and five or more people) has a revenue of two grand or more in a single day, it constitutes as an illegal gambling operation. Punishment? You and your buddies can spend up to 10 YEARS IN JAIL. Nope, not worth that kick, Mr. Dan Bailey.
10 Don’t Want To Get Lost In The Wrong Place
Have you ever gone hiking out in the wilderness and end up getting lost randomly (which is why I just avoid nature altogether)? Well, if you accidentally found yourself lost on private property, you’ve just broken the law. Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser actually learned this the hard way when he got lost in a blizzard near the New Mexico/Colorado border and ended up in a National Forest Wilderness Area. Given, he nearly died when he got lost and ended up driving his snowmobile into the area. Usually, you can be fined up to $5,000 bucks and face up to six months in the slammer, but Unser was just fined $75 and had a federal misdemeanor attached to his name. But hey, at least he actually lived to tell the tale about the ordeal.
9 Thinking About Writing That Scary Book? Think Again!
Being a writer, this one surprised me endlessly because even I didn’t know about it. Growing up I wrote material that was considered off-the-wall and even wrote some frightening horror stories for my amusement (and to scare my friends and sister). But, then again, that was before the age of Facebook or even LiveJournal where you could post long-form things like that. However, did you know that if your material is considering “disturbing” to other people, you’re probably breaking the law if you happen to the be the author? Yes, there are state laws that make it illegal for people to make public “disturbing fiction”, which they put along the lines of “disorderly conduct”. If someone finds your work disturbing and reports you, you could spend up to 30 days in jail and have to pay a $1,500 fine.
8 Ever Towel Dry a Dish?
And you thought we had already gotten to the “weird” part of the list? Think again. Okay, we all know that technology has made towel drying your dishes a thing of caveman past, but if you’re a starving college student who DOESN’T live at home and can't afford to live off campus with a dishwasher, you’re probably all too familiar with this forgotten art form. However, if you live in Oregon or Minneapolis, it’s actually illegal to towel dry your dishes. This is more for food services because it’s considered unsanitary to use a towel, so you can get away with doing it in your own home. I haven’t heard of people being arrested for this act if they work in a restaurant, but I’m sure the restaurant as a whole was given a pretty low rating on Yelp.
7 Probably Not Best To Use A Fake Name On The Internet
Who the heck HASN’T used a pseudonym online? Heck, when we were kids we were doing that stuff all the time in order to spy on our friends and or/exes just to see what they’re up to. Trolls on Twitter LIVE by fake names – they can’t be trolls if the public knows their actual real name. NBA superstar Kevin Durant just learned this the hard way after being outed for using fake accounts in order to defend himself on Twitter (hilarious!). What you didn’t know is that it’s actually breaking a part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act which says you’re not allowed to use a fake name anywhere on the web. Sure, you can probably use that fake name on Twitter still, Durant, but only as long as you gave your real details when signing up for the account.
6 Read The eBay Fine Print
So you wanted to sell all your old stuff on eBay, huh? Well, you better read the fine print before signing up for an account. We’re all used to selling our stuff the old fashion way – by garage sales, selling it back to stores, or heck, even craigslist, so when eBay came along, it was a godsend – or so we thought. When we exchanged cash hand-to-hand, we didn’t have to worry about the government dipping into our pockets and pulling out their share of the profits, ESPECIALLY if we were selling our own stuff. But, alas, eBay requires that you pay the good ol’ government their portion if you sell your stuff on their site. So you were only selling your own beanie baby collection for just five bucks? Yep, you better declare it and pay tax, or else you’re breaking the law, pal.
5 Think Those Random Internet Ads Are Pesky?
WELL TOO BAD. You’re just going to have to live with them. We all know how especially annoying pop-up ads can be when we’re surfing the net. They can catch us off guard and make us jump out of our skin if we’re trying to look something up late at night. And what’s even worse than pop-up ads? Freaking auto-play ads that were probably created by the devil himself (I wouldn’t be too shocked). As much as we hate them, it’s actually illegal to download and use the software that helps keep our sanity in check when we’re out there on the big bad web. Those specific ads are how a bunch of internet websites stay in business because of ad revenue so if you’re actually attempting to block them, the company can’t make any money. However, our sanity will be safe so yay!
4 Watch Where You Wear Those Baggy Pants
Years ago when baggy pants first made an appearance in the fashion world, people believed that they were (hopefully) a passing fad that only interested young teens of a certain age. All the older individuals would whine about “kids these days” as they compared them to hoodlums just because they were wearing their pants around their ankles (still can’t believe people talk that way but whatever works). Movies would even touch base on the fashion trend and laughed all over it. But, as we now know, baggy pants are here to stay. Though some states like Louisiana aren’t having any of it. It’s actually illegal to wear baggy pants in the Terrebonne Parish. First fine is 50 big ones, and much larger fines and community service is required if you’re caught on more than one occasion.
3 Also, Make Sure You Buy Your Ice Cream Before 6 pm
Here’s one reason why I would never, EVER live in Newark, New Jersey (well, among a bunch of other reasons): Apparently, if you have a late night craving for some ice cream in the middle of the night while binge-watching Breaking Bad for the billionth time on Netflix, you can’t just simply drive down to the nearest 24 hour gas station and pick up a pint. Why? Because it’s freaking illegal there to do so. Apparently, it’s illegal to buy ice cream AFTER 6 p.m. UNLESS you have a written note from your doctor. I’m guessing that if you’re pregnant in Newark, you need your doctor to sign off on your midnight cravings before you’re able to go out and buy some at one in the morning. Sorry, Newark, a butt load of the nation is going to stay out of your until you rectify that dang law.
2 Ever Eat At A Place That’s On Fire? (Seriously)
Now, humans are born with this little thing called “common sense”. It’s something that prevents us from doing anything rash, whether it’s small like touching a pot of boiling water with our bare hands, or as big as not murdering someone who makes us mad. You know what else falls under common sense? Not eating at a restaurant that’s on fire. I mean, I get that some people like their steaks well done but c’mon! There’s a line you have to draw people! Well, apparently the Windy City drew it for you so you don’t have to. Apparently, in Chicago, it’s illegal to eat at a restaurant, or relatively anywhere, that’s currently on fire. Seriously – if a fire breaks out, you better drop that deep dish pizza and haul your butt out of there.
1 Probably Best Not To Play Dominoes In Alabama
Man, they are STRICT in Alabama (though not as strict as some other states. Yeah, I’m looking at you New Jersey and your stupid ice cream law). Apparently, it’s illegal to play dominoes on a Sunday in the state. Given, I didn’t even know that people still played dominoes, but whatever. Dominoes is considered “gaming” in the state and usually states in the South have very strict laws about doing anything that’s considered “sinning” down there (which is why you can’t find hard liquor to save your life in the South on a Sunday – at least to buy. Bars are still open, no worrying). It’s said that “Any person who engages in shooting, hunting, gaming, card playing, or racing on that day shall be fined not less than $10.00 nor more than $100.00 and may also be imprisoned in the county jail, or sentenced to hard labor for the county, for not more than three months.” Wow. Talk about harsh.