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Arrested for What? The 20 Strangest Laws in Illinois
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Every once in a while, you need a little levity. And when you spend your days defending those accused of serious crimes and coming into contact with those who, in a gross aberration of justice, are wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit, it is important to take a look at the sometimes humorous side of law. With that in mind, here is a list of the 20 strangest laws in Illinois. Yes, these are legitimate laws still on the books today.

 

  1. State law says that if you do not have at least one dollar physically present, you can be arrested for vagrancy.
  2. If you eavesdrop on your own conversation, you may be charged with a Class 4 felony and sentenced to up to three years in prison. (Which leads me to wonder how you got caught? Did you turn yourself in?)
  3. Taking parts from an airplane crash is outlawed.
  4. Undertakers are not permitted to infuse dead bodies with arsenic.
  5. A new law for 2013 states that you cannot own, sell, trade, or distribute shark fins in the state of Illinois.
  6. You are not allowed to own more than $600 worth of salamanders.
  7. Speaking of reptiles, anyone who sells reptiles must warn buyers that they should not kiss the reptiles.
  8. It is forbidden to catch more than six bullfrogs in a day.
  9. Pigs are protected, too. It is illegal to feed garbage to the animals.
  10. It is illegal to sell a malodorous mattress.
  11. In Joliet, you are not allowed to try on more than six dresses in one store.
  12. Also in Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the town’s name.
  13. In Galesburg, you are not permitted to burn bird feathers.
  14. In Guernee, a woman over 200 pounds is prohibited from riding a horse in shorts.
  15. In Oblong, you are not permitted to have sex while hunting or fishing on your wedding day. (Props to Oblong for specificity.)
  16. In Chicago, you are not permitted to eat in an establishment that is on fire.
  17. If you take a French poodle to the opera in the Windy City, you will be charged with a crime. (Apparently other breeds are permitted, though I wouldn’t recommend trying it.)
  18. Also in Chicago, there is a law outlawing fishing in your pajamas.
  19. In Normal, making faces at dogs is strictly forbidden.
  20. In Zion, giving a cigar to a pet is a crime.

Looking at these 20 laws may give you a good laugh, but it’s a little daunting. It’s unlikely that you will get hauled into jail for catching that seventh bullfrog or smoking a stogie with your dog, but what if that one officer decided to actually arrest you in for it? I have to admit, I’d have to work on a new defense strategy for that trial.

 

About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago, Illinois. A former prosecutor in Cook County, Mr. Weisberg is a member of the Capital Litigation Trial Bar, an elite group of criminal attorneys who are certified by the Illinois Supreme Court to try death penalty cases. He is also a member of the Federal Trial Bar. Mr. Weisberg is a solo practitioner at the Law Offices of Andrew M. Weisberg.