Whether you are a completely law-abiding citizen, or you’ve been known to jay walk every once in a while, you are going to find this list quite compelling. This is our list of 15 Things You Thought Were Illegal, But Aren’t! Before we start, let’s just go through some things that are illegal. It turns out that using a fake name on the Internet is actually a crime! The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act states that using a fake name to obtain a new account a form of hacking. You could actually be sentenced to 5 to 20 years of jail time. However, this is a law that is not enforced at all because well, everyone does it. Another thing that everyone does is using public WiFi connections. Who hasn’t done this?
Littering, certain forms of betting, and cursing in public are other illegal activities that many people engage in on a regular basis. Who knew? Now, let’s talk about some things that you would probably think are illegal but actually aren’t! Isn’t it funny how you might be doing illegal things everyday but steering clear of other things that are totally fine. You can’t throw your gum wrapper on the ground, but you can vandalize Alexander Hamilton’s face on your $10 bill. You can’t share your password with someone else, but you can own a war tank and drive it around in some U.S. states. The law is a funny thing, isn’t it? Now let’s go through this list so that you know your rights more clearly and maybe think twice about your day-to-day actions.
15 Money Vandalism
Have you ever wanted to take your $5 bill and draw a mustache on Abe Lincoln? Or just take some artistic liberties on your paper money? Well, as long as the money and its numerical value can be identified, you can draw all over it. In fact, there is some pretty cool money art out there, so if you ever happen to receive a dollar bill with a sketch on it, you might want to hold on to it. You can know that it is perfectly legal. Maybe you’d want to try it out yourself! There are many people who have put pen to paper (money) and made some very interesting pieces of art. Apparently profanity is okay, but we don’t recommend that. You wouldn’t want a child to come across your vandalized dollar bill one day. But if you want to give George Washington a makeup with a Sharpie, then go ahead!
14 Owning a Tank
If you have an extra $40,000 lying around, then you can purchase yourself a tank. Owning a tank is perfectly fine in many U.S. states, but the cannon needs to be deactivated, and you can’t exactly drive it around wherever you want. However, in some states you can obtain a permit that allows you to drive your tank in some places. Now the logistics of owning and operating a tank are beyond us; we don’t know the first thing about that. But a bit of research tells us that there are certain tanks that are accessible in the United States. You can go to the Army Jeeps or U.S. Military Vehicles website to explore their database of tanks for sale. You would also want to put rubber fittings on your tank’s wheels to protect the streets you drive on. Ya gotta respect the other drivers, you know. Though who will mess with you, you're in a tank!
13 Marrying A Cousin
When we talk about marrying a cousin, we are talking about two people with a common grandparent who decide to wed each other. If you’re creeped out by it, you’re not the only one, but keep in mind that in 11 U.S. states, this is completely legal. All you have to do is obtain a marriage license to wed your cousin. Well that, and endure the shunning of some of your friends and family members. After all, marrying a cousin is quite taboo in many U.S. states and households. While marriage between cousins is a normal thing in Middle Eastern countries, further East in Asia, marriage between cousins is illegal and frowned upon. Besides the fear of being shunned by your loved ones, there is also the scientifically-proven fact that marriage between cousins can lead to birth defects in their offspring. Why else would people in the South be born with 11 toes?
12 Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment is a matter that will always be widely debated. There are some people who think that the only way kids will learn their lesson is if they are physical reprimanded. Other people think that children should not be hit or spanked under any circumstances. But in some U.S. states, teachers can spank your kids and it’s totally legal. Hitting kids with a paddle is the most common corporal punishment in U.S. schools that allow it. The paddles are usually made from baseball bats that have been flattened on the sides. Now when it comes to parents hitting or spanking their own kids, this is legal in many U.S. states. There has been an unusual recurrence of social workers using corporal punishment; perhaps social workers consider themselves part of the family? Who knows. We’re pretty sure that the U.S. will never come to a complete agreement with the morality of spanking.
11 Riding in the Back of a Pickup Truck
Have you ever tried this? You’d think that since a pickup truck bed doesn’t have seat belts, you wouldn’t be able to ride back there. Well, many states in the U.S. allow this. It really does depend on the state, so be sure to check those federal laws before you go out and take a joyride in a pickup truck bed! Some states require that the bed of the truck be enclosed, others lift the regulation for employees or workers, while some states restrict it entirely. Other states will require pickup truck bed riders to be of a certain age or to be seated. Finally, in some states it is okay to ride in the bed of a pickup truck, but only if there aren’t any available seats in the actual truck. All we can say is that if you haven’t tried riding in the back of a pickup truck, then give it a try! It’s fun!
10 Driving Barefoot
Sometimes you’re in a pinch and you just don’t have time to put some shoes on. The United States government understands. That’s why it is totally legal to drive barefoot. We imagine that it would probably be a bit uncomfortable, but for a short jaunt around town, it is probably okay. Driving barefoot may not be a common practice, but we have seen celebrities do this in the past. Besides, drinking barefoot is probably safer than driving with slides or flip flops anyway. Even though driving barefoot is legal, many people don’t recommend it. The best practice is to wear shoes that you are one-hundred percent comfortable in and that give you good control. No one wants to get blisters and cuts on their feet, plus the skin on your feet could get callused and hard.
9 Underage Drinking
Believe it or not, 45 states in the U.S. have made it perfectly legal to administer alcohol to minors, as long as you are their parent. There are actually several regulations within this particular law. For example, parents may permit their children to consume or purchase alcohol from private entities, such as other people’s homes or a non-alcohol-selling business. 26 states allow children to drink alcohol for religious purposes, such as rites and ceremonies. 16 states allow alcohol consumption for minors in the case of medical reasons. Educational and work-related reasons for minors to drink alcohol is legal in 4 states (although we can’t think of an example of when this would happen). Children and adolescents can purchase and drink alcohol from restaurants and bars in 10 states as long as they have parental consent. Wow, it seems that the whole ‘must be 21 years old’ thing is totally not true.
8 Owning (and Using) Lockpicks
Whatever you think, lockpicking is an art form, and some people are very good at it. Now you can beware because owning and using a lockpick is legal in many U.S. states...as long as you aren’t using the lockpicks for home invasion or burglary. Ever thought about locksmiths? They usually need to know how to pick a lock and they probably already own a lockpick or two. Other people even collect and use lockpicks for fun. Yet if you have a criminal history, then you will probably have to prove that you have been in good standing with the legal system. Canada is another country where possessing a lockpick is completely legal. The Netherlands makes owning a lockpick legal, but you also can’t use it to get into someone else’s home.
7 Taking Photos up Women’s Skirts
We hate to break this to U.S. women out there, but there are no laws against taking a photo up a woman’s skirt with a camera. However, the law usually adds that it is only legal if a person takes the upskirt photo in a private place away from public view. That’s still so wrong though! The reason that this can’t be punishable by the law is that the woman is fully clothed when a person sneaks an upskirt photo of her. Some states have seen people get away with recording footage or taking photos of women’s nether regions because the definition of “place” is quite fuzzy. In Texas, men used to be able to take photos upskirt photos while women were shopping in a store, but that law was modified recently, thank goodness. While women comprise about 65% of victims, men can also be subjected to this type of harassment.
6 Missile Firing
Forget about the question of gun laws in the United States. We think it is downright terrifying that in the state of South Carolina you can fire a missile once you get the right legal permission. Just for reference, a missile is a self-propelled weapon that can guide itself in a very accurate direction. That means wherever you point your missile, that is where it’s going to go. Missiles first began to be commercially used during World War II by the Nazis in Germany. Many missiles use infrared radiation, lasers, and radio waves to guide itself on the right projected path, making these weapons extremely dangerous. Typically, missiles are used in military combat both on land and on the sea. There really is no need for a civilian to have one. Another crazy South Carolina law is the age-old regulation that one should carry a rifle to church in case of Indian attacks (we’re pretty sure that one is severely outdated).
5 Flamethrower Possession
If you live in the United States, then you may be surprised to know that owning a flamethrower is totally legal. Which means if you feel that you really want to protect yourself, then maybe you want to keep a flamethrower in your home. This is a law that falls under federal regulation, so the exact parameters of the law will depend on the state that you live in. But nearly all of the U.S. states allow a person to purchase, own, and even use a flamethrower. Even in states that don’t allow a person to use a flamethrower, violation of the law will only lead to a misdemeanor, so things are pretty slack. We don’t really know what the benefits or appeal is in owning a weapon that you can’t even use, but we aren’t going to judge a person with a flamethrower.
If you are super attracted to your dog, cat, guinea pig, sheep or whatever, you may be able to legally have sexual intercourse with them. Sorry, did we just make you throw up a little? Well, having sex with an animal is legal in some U.S. states as well as in Canada. Crazy North Americans. The matter of bestiality depends on each specific state in the U.S., so you need to check it out in your particular state. In 2014, Alabama made it punishable by law to have sex with an animal; it will land you one year in jail. In California, you’ll get 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. For that price you could just go to a (legal) strip club or brothel. Some states also make it perfectly fine to videotape or watch bestiality between a human and an animal. Hmm, this sort of raises the question of consent. How does an animal consent to sex with a human?
3 Public Nudity
There are actually a good number of countries around the world that are A-OK with public nudity. For instance, Germany and Spain used to be quite liberal in their acceptance of public nudity, although regulations are becoming more strict now. In the Netherlands, public nudity is legal in “suitable” places (which pretty much means places where people won’t complain). In the United Kingdom, you can get away with public nudity in some cases. You might be wondering about places like nude beaches and events like the Naked Bike Ride. Well, those are legally permitted, but they have special permission from the government. Plus, just because you go to a nude beach doesn’t mean you get to do inappropriate and offensive things. In Europe, nude beaches are just chill places where people can suntan in the nude or go swimming naked. Sorry, but it’s not really an erotic type of place.
2 Owning a Tiger
In Canada and nine states in the U.S., it is perfectly legal to buy a tiger and bring it to your home. 15 U.S. states require a person to obtain a permit in order to own a tiger or other large feline. Relatively speaking, tigers are not too expensive. For instance, you can buy a Bengal tiger cub for about $1,000. Believe it or not, there are 12,000 pet tigers in the United States right now! And no, that number does not include tigers in zoos. We’re actually starting to think about the story Life of Pi now, although the odds of a person going on a boat ride with their pet tiger seems a bit outlandish. But owning a tiger in general sounds outlandish. Anyway, if you’re not a cat person, how about a brown bear? You can also own this animal in some U.S. states. However, you’d probably waste all of your time, energy, and money on caring for it.
Technically, there is no law in the United States against cannibalism. Still, if there was an act of cannibalism in the United States, it would probably involve the violation of other U.S. states and regulations. For instance, if a person were consuming another person’s flesh and body, then they probably had to kill that person, and murder is definitely illegal in the United States. So maybe if you were just walking around the city and found a dead body in a dumpster or something, you would probably be able to eat it without being legally reprimanded, but that’s just disgusting. In fact, we feel a bit weird that we even suggested such a thing. Just for the record, cannibalism has been banned in the United Kingdom since 1800s. In an interesting case from 1884, two men were shipwrecked and the weaker one passed away. His shipmate then proceeded to consume his meat and drink his blood, while some lawyers deem this okay, you can understand why others considered it a crime.
Sources: thefiscaltimes.com, law.cornell.edu, time.com, huffingtonpost.com, gizmodo.com
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