Law
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The Weirdest Laws in California

Updated February 21, 2019 3.3k votes 1.1k voters 51.7k views11 items

This is a list of strange laws on the books in  various municipalities across California. These rules and regulations were passed by the California state legislature, or in an individual city, and for one reason or another, were never overturned, remaining active on the books until this day. Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned, and even nonsensical laws, and they can come about for a variety of reasons. Most frequently, the laws appeared in the books following a court ruling on a specific case, that then set a common law precedent from that point on.

Strange or unnecessary laws have become a popular source for humor, both online and in popular culture. TV shows such as The Simpsons have had a lot of fun with all of the peculiar regulations on the books throughout the country (in one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants).

Oftentimes, "dumb laws," as reported on websites and in humor books, have been shown to be inaccurate. This sometimes happens because a real, sensible law has been exaggerated or misunderstood, turning into something that sounds silly or ridiculous. Other times, it is simply the result of a hoax being repeated enough times to gain some kind of credibility. If you think any of the laws on this page are not accurate or do not remain active in California, let me know in the comments below.

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  • Detonating a nuclear device1
    286
    147

    Detonating a nuclear device

    Detonating a nuclear device within city limits is illegal. (Chico)

  • Vehicle without a driver2
    291
    156

    Vehicle without a driver

    No vehicle without a driver may exceed 65 miles per hour.

  • Lizard in a city park3
    263
    144

    Lizard in a city park

    No one may annoy a lizard in a city park. (Fresno)
  • Keeping a rhinoceros4
    206
    120

    Keeping a rhinoceros

    All persons wishing to keep a rhinoceros as a pet must obtain a $100 license first. (Norco)
  • Going to the bathroom with the window open5
    110
    166

    Going to the bathroom with the window open

    One may not use one’s own restroom if the window is open. (Dana Point)
  • Salting the road6
    88
    155

    Salting the road

    It is illegal to pour salt on a highway. (Hermosa Beach)
  • Wearing high heels7
    87
    167

    Wearing high heels

    Women may not wear high heels while in the city limits. (Carmel)
  • Bathhouses8
    77
    162

    Bathhouses

    Bathhouses are against the law.
  • Putting anything else in the garage9
    69
    152

    Putting anything else in the garage

    Cars are the only item allowed in a garage. (Long Beach)
  • Pinball machines10
    56
    141

    Pinball machines

    Pinball machines are outlawed, as well as mock horse racing games. (El Monte)
  • Carrying a lunch11
    72
    172

    Carrying a lunch

    One may not carry a lunch down the street between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (Riverside)