List of strange state laws on the books in Virginia. These rules and regulations were passed by the Virginia state legislature, or in an individual Virginia 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 Almost every city and state has some outdated, old-fashioned or even nonsensical laws on the books, and they can come about for a variety of reasons.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, online and more generally in popular culture. TV shows like "The Simpsons" have had a lot of fun with the notion of small towns having peculiar regulations on the books. (In one episode, Mayor Quimby is surprised to find out the town charter mandates that all ducks wear long pants.)
Often, "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 Virginia, let me know in the comments below.
list ordered by
Corrupt practices of Bribery There is a state law prohibiting “corrupt practices of bribery by any person other than candidates.
Spitting on a sea gull Spitting on a sea gull is not tolerated. (Norfolk)
Animal hunting No animal may be hunted on Sundays with the exception of racoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 AM.
Drunk and driving If you are drunk and not driving your car, and the person who is driving the car is drunk as well, you may both receive DUI’s. (Virginia Beach)
Sex with the lights on Not only is it illegal to have sex with the lights on, one may not have sex in any position other than missionary.
Legal to beat wife It is legal for a man to beat his wife on the courthouse steps so long as it is before 8:00 pm. (Stafford County)
Engaging in business You may not engage in business on Sundays, with the exception of almost every industry.
Tickling a woman It is illegal to tickle women.
Skunk as a pet No person may keep a skunk as a pet. (Prince William County)
Pool Any person who owns a pool risks a $2500 fine for not closing the gate to the pool when they get done swimming in it. (Frederick)
Patting a woman’s derriere A man may face 60 days in jail for patting a woman’s derriere. (Norfolk)
Flipping a coin It is illegal to flip a coin in a restaurant to see who pays for a coffee. (Richmond)
Woman driving a car It is illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband is walking in front of the car waving a red flag. (Waynesboro)
Washing a mule No one may wash a mule on the sidewalk. (Culpeper)
Cuss about another It is illegal to cuss about another. (Prince William County)
Special license A special license is required for persons wishing to sell such items as tableware and coins. (Frederick)
Honk the horn Citizens must honk their horn while passing other cars.
Radar detectors Police radar detectors are illegal.
Riding on the handlebars It is illegal for a person to ride on the handlebars of a bike. (Virginia Beach)
Oral and anal sex You may not have oral or anal sex.
Corset Women must wear a corset after sundown and be in the company of male chaperon. (Norfolk)
Trick-or-treats Children are not to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.
Driving by the same place It is also unlawful to drive by the same place within 30 minutes on Atlantic Avenue. (Virginia Beach)
Sexual relationship for singles If one is not married, it is illegal for him to have sexual relations.
Person of color A person of color may not be oustide or within the city limits after 7 pm. (Dayton)