The Weirdest Laws in California

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 Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned, and even nonsensical laws, and they can come about for a variety of reasons.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.

Photo: flickr / CC0
Ranked by
  • Detonating a nuclear device
    324 votes

    Detonating a nuclear device

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

  • Vehicle without a driver
    330 votes

    Vehicle without a driver

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

  • Keeping a rhinoceros
    246 votes

    Keeping a rhinoceros

    All persons wishing to keep a rhinoceros as a pet must obtain a $100 license first. (Norco)
  • Lizard in a city park
    302 votes

    Lizard in a city park

    No one may annoy a lizard in a city park. (Fresno)
  • Going to the bathroom with the window open
    201 votes

    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 road
    177 votes

    Salting the road

    It is illegal to pour salt on a highway. (Hermosa Beach)