Top 15 Strangest Laws in the United States

By Sky Ariella
Feb. 14, 2022

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There are plenty of laws that make perfect sense – we wouldn’t want it being lawful to pull a hit-and-run or break into a home to steal a television. Alongside all these practical rules are laws that are so strange that they’re almost unbelievable.

To get a better idea of just how weird the United States regulations can be, we’ve compiled 15 of the oddest laws from around the country.

America’s Strangest 15 Laws

  1. It is illegal to send a surprise pizza delivery to someone’s house in Lousiana.

    Sending a delicious pepperoni pizza pie to a friend out of the blue sounds like a thoughtful gesture. However, be sure never to do it in Louisiana. The Bayou State has declared it illegal to send anything to a person’s house without their knowledge – even if it’s a free dinner.

  2. In Alaska, it’s illegal to wake a sleeping bear to take a photo.

    Though waking a sleeping bear is likely to have its own immediate consequences, Alaska has taken the initiative to ban the action legally. I think we can all agree that we aren’t itching to break this law anytime soon anyway.

  3. It is unlawful to sell, dispose of, give away or use stink/funk bombs in Alabama.

    A stink or funk bomb is usually made from ammonium sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. It’s about as pleasant as it sounds. These smell attacks are typically set off as harmless pranks, but they’re also sometimes used for riot control or military purposes.

    Whatever the reason you plan on using a stink bomb, don’t set it off in Alabama, or you could risk legal action.

  4. In Arizona, you could face legal recourse if you let your donkey sleep in a bathtub.

    While this law sounds very niche and ridiculous, there’s actually a legitimate story behind it. The law was put into action back in 1924 thanks to two local menaces – a merchant and his donkey.

    The merchant would allow his donkey to sleep in an old bathtub. When a local dam broke, it flooded the town and carried the donkey with it in his tub boat. The donkey lived through his travels but landed in a basin where the local people spent a considerable amount of time and effort to rescue him.

    Obviously, the only logical conclusion afterward was to ban donkeys from bathtubs throughout the state.

  5. It’s illegal to cry on the witness stand during any state case in Los Angeles.

    You may have seen on-screen court scenes filled with tears, but be wary of shedding a tear if you ever act as a real witness on the stand in Los Angeles.

  6. Billboards are illegal in Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, and Vermont.

    These four states are known around the globe for their extensive natural beauty. That’s why they decided collectively to make billboards illegal in an effort to maintain their stunning nature. In Hawaii, where billboards were banned in 1927, there have only been 18 exceptions to the law since it passed.

    While this law sounds odd initially, it actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

  7. In Kentucky, lawyers, legislators, and public officers are required by law to take an oath promising that they have never fought in a duel with a deadly weapon.

    When’s the last time you participated in a duel strapped with a deadly weapon? While you might not hear this question during your next job interview, it’s a real inquisition that lawyers, legislators, and public officers must answer under the law in Kentucky.

    The law was enacted in 1849 when the tradition of dueling was popular as a way to discourage men from participating in it.

  8. It’s illegal to throw stones in the District of Columbia.

    In the District of Columbia, you could be fined up to $500 for every time you throw a stone or other projectile on any street, avenue, alley, road, highway, open space, public square, or enclosure.

  9. Spiteful gossip or talking behind someone’s back is illegal in Indiana.

    Gossiping is a common, albeit probably distasteful, activity that people of all ages participate in. However, if you’re caught saying something rude behind someone’s back or chit-chatting about their lives in Indiana, you might end up with a criminal record.

  10. Fortune telling is against the law in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Fortune telling is the act of anticipating a person’s future and life using a variety of unconventional methods. Most people regard it as a fun, light-hearted way to potentially learn more about themselves and what’s to come. However, it’s a crime in Baltimore, Maryland, and can result in a $500 fine or even up to a year in jail.

  11. Scaring a pigeon in Massachusetts is illegal.

    Even though it’s probably not on the top of a visitor’s to-do list while stopping by the Bay State, messing with a pigeon here is against the law. According to section 132 of Massachusetts law, people who wilfully kill or frighten them by any method can be imprisoned for up to a month or receive a fine of $20.

  12. It’s illegal to fall asleep while lying down in a cheese factory in South Dakota.

    This is one of those laws that really makes you scratch your head and think, “there’s got to be a story here”. There probably is, unfortunately, it’s been lost through the grapevine and all we’re left with now is this odd dairy facility rule. No written laws on standing up snoozes, though.

  13. It’s against the law for four or more women who aren’t related to rent a house or apartment together in Missouri.

    This law stumbles on the line between strange and just simply ridiculous. In Missouri, it’s actually illegal for more than four women to rent a living space together according to a regulation called the ‘Brothel Law’ that was enacted in an effort to curtail prostitution.

    Um, ever heard of needing roommates?

  14. In New York, it’s illegal to throw a ball at someone’s head for giggles.

    Throwing a ball at someone’s head isn’t really the nicest thing to do in general, but if you dare to do it in New York, you could wind up spending some time in jail.

    Originally, the law was put into place to protect carnival workers from being harassed. The law also mentioned that it’s illegal to throw knives at people.

  15. Running out of gas in Youngstown, Ohio is illegal and could earn you a ticket.

    Running out of gas while you’re driving is always a hassle that everyone dreads, but be sure to fill up your tank before driving through Youngstown, Ohio. Here, drivers can be issued a misdemeanor ticket if they find themselves on the side of the road without fuel. Talk about adding insult to injury.













  12. 4.)Brothel Law says that it is illegal for four or more unrelated women to rent an apartment/house together.




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Sky Ariella

Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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