Like any state in the nation, North Carolina certainly has its share of unusual, hard-to-believe laws and regulations that sometimes make you wonder, well where did THAT law come from?? Some have been on the books for decades; their logic can somehow be attributed to situations at the time that those laws were created. Others, however… well, let’s just say it’s hard to know just WHAT legislators intended when those laws were enacted.
Generally Odd Statewide Legislation
Did you know it’s illegal in our state to hold a meeting in any location while in costume or while disguising your voice without obtaining written permission to do so from the property owner beforehand? And don’t forget to record that written permission at the Register of Deeds office beforehand, or – you guessed it – you’ll be breaking the law.
If you choose to go down the dark path of drug dealing in North Carolina, it’s illegal NOT to pay taxes on any such drugs – marijuana, cocaine and the like – that you sell.
Bingo games, oddly, are not allowed to last any more than 5 hours in North Carolina, unless the game is being held at a state fair. It’s also strictly prohibited to serve alcohol or drink it at any Bingo game.
In NC, it is also unlawful to sell either cottonseed or cotton lint at nighttime.
Back in the 1800s a man was fined for singing loudly and poorly…. disturbing the peace, in other words. A law was enacted strictly prohibiting singing off key, and it STILL exists!
Unusual Animal-Related Laws
Fights between dogs and cats are prohibited in Barber, NC. Period. No fights.
Even more interesting is the fact that it’s Illegal in our state to have an elephant plow a cotton field. Who wouldn’t love to hear the history of this random law?…
Rocky Mount residents, according to legislation, are required to pay a property tax on their own dogs.
Individuals may not keep “fowl that shall cackle” or play the piccolo between 11 pm at night and 7:30 am.
Weird Regional Rules & Regulations
It’s illegal to sneeze on city streets in Asheville.
In Charlotte, women must have their bodies covered by at least 16 yards of cloth at all time. No less!
In Kill Devil Hills, you may not ride a bicycle without having both your hands on the handle bars. Safety first?
Forest City has a law that might be considered an “oldie but goodie” …. Don’t forget to stop and call City Hall before entering that town – or, yes, you’re breaking the law!
In Zebulon, should the impulse come over you to stroll along the top of a water tank, try to resist….it’s Illegal!
In Winston-Salem don’t let your under-7-year-old try to apply to college… they’ll be breaking the law. Children 7 and older, however…well, that’s another story.
Dun, NC has some very unique laws –
- It is illegal to play – no dominoes, no hopscotch, no Chutes & Ladders – while in traffic in Dunn.
- It is also illegal to drive a car through a cemetery in Dunn for pleasure; if driving through a graveyard, you must be there either to dig a grave or for a burial service. Only in North Carolina!
- In Dunn, don’t drive on the sidewalk, whatever you do… it’s also against the law.
Love & Marriage
Interestingly, it is still illegal for a couple – any couple – to stay overnight in a hotel room unless there are two double beds that are at least two feet apart. Now you know!
Also, word to the wise… according to state law, if a man and woman register as a married couple at a hotel, then they ARE LEGALLY MARRIED.
Another marriage-related, strangely obscure law is the following: Before a man proposes to a woman, he must be “inspected by all the barnyard animals on the young woman’s family property, to ensure a harmonious farm life.” Not the most common scenario, but there you go!