We’ve all heard the urban legends and rumors about some of America’s most ridiculous laws. You can’t wear a fake mustache in a church in Alabama, and you can’t wake a sleeping bear for a photo shoot in Alaska. Here in the state of Arizona, there is a variety of ridiculous laws still on the books. Many of them are simply ignored today, or they’re unenforceable, although they were originally passed for reasons that were important at the time.
If you search the internet, you’ll find that Arizona’s two most widely-known ridiculous laws are: 1) You can’t shoot a camel in Arizona, and 2) You can’t let a donkey sleep in a bathtub in Arizona. Believe it or not, these odd statutes were adopted in this state for legitimate reasons. Just before the Civil War, the Army enlisted the help of camels to do the work of mules and horses, because camels can live on less water than a horse and carry twice the load of a mule. When the Army’s work was complete, many of the camels were abandoned to roam through the state, so the law against shooting them was adopted.
But, you may still be asking, why can’t a donkey sleep in a bathtub in Arizona? The law was passed in 1924 after a rancher near Kingman had a donkey that routinely slept in an abandoned bathtub on the rancher’s property. The problem arose when a dam broke and flooded the area. The flood took the donkey and bathtub for a ride and into a basin. Quite a bit of the town’s resources and manpower were spent trying to rescue the donkey, so not long after the flood, the law forbidding donkeys from sleeping in bathtubs was passed.
If you have questions, concerns, or need more information about any of the criminal laws in the state of Arizona, and if you can’t find the answer you need online, contact an experienced Tucson or Phoenix criminal defense attorney. Listed here are ten of the strangest laws still in effect in Arizona’s West Valley:
1.NO FORTUNE TELLING IN AVONDALE
Conducting a session of fortunetelling, palm reading, or palmistry in exchange for compensation is considered a misdemeanor in Avondale. It is also illegal in Avondale to practice hypnotism or to be hypnotized, even if it’s free. The exception for practicing hypnotism in Avondale is for accredited doctors of medicine or dentistry as well as for teachers in state-accredited colleges.
2. AVONDALE POLICE KNOW ABOUT YOUR DISCARDS
Auctioneers, junk dealers, pawnbrokers, and secondhand dealers are required to make a record of articles they receive and must deliver it to Avondale’s chief of police within 24 hours of receipt. Also, such dealers must hold every item for at least 72 hours after delivering that report before they can sell the item. The statute was probably created to track firearms and stolen goods, but it also gives the cops in Avondale an updated list of everyone’s junk.
3. NO PUBLIC SPITTING IN GOODYEAR
You’d better think twice before you spit in public in Goodyear because you could be fined $2,500 and spend six months in jail if you are convicted. In Goodyear, it’s illegal to spit on a public sidewalk, crosswalk, a highway, a park, or in or near a public building. In Goodyear, spitting in public is a misdemeanor.
4. NO CIGARETTE MACHINES IN BUCKEYE
It is illegal to sell cigarettes, cigars, snuff, or chewing and dipping tobacco from a vending machine in Buckeye, and you can be fined up to $300 for violating the city’s cigarette machine ordinance.
5. NO ALIASES ALLOWED AT BUCKEYE HOTELS
If you are Beyoncé or Bono, your visit to Buckeye won’t remain a secret for long, because the law in Buckeye prohibits anyone from using a phony name to register at a hotel or to let someone else use a phony name for you.
6. HIDE THAT CLOTHESLINE IN EL MIRAGE
If you have a clothesline in El Mirage, it may only be located on a residential property behind a wall that completely conceals it from view on the street. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of at least $350 to use a clothesline anywhere else in El Mirage.
7. In Litchfield Park, Motorcycle Noise is Policed
In Litchfield Park, noise limits are enforced for motorcycles, as measured from fifty feet behind the motorcycle as the engine accelerates. What’s so odd is that that legal noise limit for a motorcycle manufactured between 1970 and 1972 is 92 decibels, comparable to the noise of a subway train.
8. NO GLUE FOR GLENDALE MINORS
To prevent young people from “huffing” or sniffing glue, which causes both intoxication and brain damage, no one under 18 in Glendale can buy “glue containing a solvent having the property of releasing toxic vapors or fumes.”
9. TOLLESON REQUIRES A PERMIT FOR SEARCHLIGHTS
Any use of a beacon light, searchlight, or any similar light that can be seen for more than half a mile must be approved by the Tolleson City Council. The exception is the use of searchlights by public authorities conducting emergency operations.
10. Realtors and Landlords Must Disclose Noise Levels to Renters and Buyers in Surprise
Anyone leasing or selling a new or used home or apartment in Surprise must carry an 8.5 by 11-inch map that illustrates the noise levels generated by flights in and out of Luke Air Force Base. The potential buyer or renter must be shown the map and made aware of the noise level at the property being purchased or leased. The base is located in Glendale.
The laws listed here are only a sample of the hundreds of absurd and ridiculous laws that are still on the books in the United States. You can’t get a goldfish drunk in Ohio, you can’t fish for whales in North Dakota, and in Georgia, although you can put an ice cream cone in your back pocket six days a week, you can’t do it on Sundays. If you have questions or if you need to learn more about the criminal laws in the state of Arizona, a Tucson or Phoenix criminal defense attorney can help.