Most law-abiding Americans respect the ideas behind many laws existing to keep us all safe. For instance, running a red light, driving under the influence, and breaking an entering are all crimes that should have consequences. But every now and then, strong legislation pushes through some strange laws that manage to become reality. And in the land of the free and the home of the brave, these “crimes” start to feel like merely a means for police officers to meet their monthly quotas.
Take a peek at these eight crimes that seem to exist just so police officers can fine you.
1. Fortune-telling on the wrong side of the tracks
Cruising the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans practically demands you peek into the future for a little fortune-telling, but beware if you’re in the Quaker State. Fortune-telling in Pennsylvania is forbidden. It’s true, lawmakers in the state aren’t joking around. If you’re caught reading someone’s fortune, the odds of being slapped with a third-degree misdemeanor, jail time, and a $2,500 fine are ever in your favor.
2. Whistling Dixie in Georgia is a big no-no
Believe it not, whistling or creating any other audible noise that can be heard from 300 feet or more from a property line is illegal. This strange law applies to Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, and applies from 7 am to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. As for weekends, the ordinance runs from 7 am to midnight. And the penalty is a steep $1,000.
3. Think twice before spitting on the sidewalk
If you can manage to find a nice patch of grass in Goodyear, Arizona, you’ll want to save your spit for it. Come to find out, spitting on the sidewalk in the Arizona town is not only a nuisance, but it’s also illegal. What’s even more surprising is the penalty. Offenders could face up half a year’s worth of jail time and a $2,500 fine.
4. Keep your pooch on a tight leash or else
None of us care to deal with dogs at large, but a lot of states take the offense pretty seriously. Mary Root of Hartford County, Maryland, had to find out the hard way. After her chihuahuas ran off her property a few times, she was hit with a $525 fine that she was unable to pay. And when Root was unable to make her court appearance due to a medical issue, she ended up spending two days in the local jail. Even worse, that $525 fine morphed into a $7,000 fine.
5. Bear wrestling and horse tripping is a real thing, and it could cost you big
In the state of Oklahoma, bear wrestling and horse tripping events actually exist and are punishable by law. This means any involvement or contribution to the affair makes you guilty. The bizarre acts have fallen into the animal cruelty category and could land you a $2,000 fine and a little jail time.
6. Keep your upholstered furniture behind closed doors
The state of Colorado may be lenient on a lot, but sticking a couch on your front porch in Boulder County is a no-go for lawmakers. And if you’re contemplating stashing that old Lazy-Boy in the alley or in your front yard, think again. Officers of the law will stick you with the removal fee and a $25 fine.
7. Ask politely before fueling up your VW van with veggie oil
Stealing old kitchen grease was deemed illegal as of 2012 in the state of North Carolina. From what we hear, the offense became a bit of an epidemic, and lawmakers put their foot down. So, if you’re hunting old oil to fire up your VW, make sure you get permission before outright claiming it. Depending on how much you steal, offenders could face misdemeanor to low-level felony charges.
8. Allowing your kiddos to skip school could cost more than their educations
Practically everywhere in the United States frowns upon allowing your children to skip school. In the state of Texas, the law takes it particularly seriously. Students who have missed more than 10 days within a six-month time frame have to pay their dues in the form of a $500 fine. And if you choose not to pay, offenders could face jail time. Now if that isn’t an incentive to make it to class on time, I don’t know what is.