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.
- State law says that if you do not have at least one dollar physically present, you can be arrested for vagrancy.
- 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?)
- Taking parts from an airplane crash is outlawed.
- Undertakers are not permitted to infuse dead bodies with arsenic.
- A new law for 2013 states that you cannot own, sell, trade, or distribute shark fins in the state of Illinois.
- You are not allowed to own more than $600 worth of salamanders.
- Speaking of reptiles, anyone who sells reptiles must warn buyers that they should not kiss the reptiles.
- It is forbidden to catch more than six bullfrogs in a day.
- Pigs are protected, too. It is illegal to feed garbage to the animals.
- It is illegal to sell a malodorous mattress.
- In Joliet, you are not allowed to try on more than six dresses in one store.
- Also in Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the town’s name.
- In Galesburg, you are not permitted to burn bird feathers.
- In Guernee, a woman over 200 pounds is prohibited from riding a horse in shorts.
- In Oblong, you are not permitted to have sex while hunting or fishing on your wedding day. (Props to Oblong for specificity.)
- In Chicago, you are not permitted to eat in an establishment that is on fire.
- 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.)
- Also in Chicago, there is a law outlawing fishing in your pajamas.
- In Normal, making faces at dogs is strictly forbidden.
- 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.