Steal fat? Borrow dogs? Here are 7 of NC’s weirdest laws
Have you ever borrowed pine straw from a neighbor’s yard or stayed in a motel room with someone of the opposite sex who you weren’t married to? If so, be careful: in North Carolina, if they follow certain parameters, these acts could put you on the wrong side of the law.
While each region has its own unusual or unique laws, the Tar Heel State stands out with some of the weirdest legislation to be found in the lower 48s. you might want to think twice.
Here’s a look at seven of North Carolina’s craziest laws still in effect.
Operating as a professional medium
While novices are free to practice their craft unhindered, North Carolina prohibits you from operating as a professional clairvoyant or professional diviner. Simply registering as a “professional” is considered illegal in the state.
General By-Law 14-401.5 “It is forbidden for anyone to practice the arts of phrenology, palmistry, divination and other similar professions.
Sharing a room with the opposite sex / lying about marriage
If you’re planning on dealing with the old panky handkerchief for a bit, you better put a ring on it in North Carolina.
Any unmarried man and woman who are found occupying the same room in a hotel, public inn, or boarding house for “immoral purposes” may be convicted of a class 2 misdemeanor. And n don’t try to get around the rules by lying about your marital status.
This loophole was sealed when the law was first published in 1907. General Statute 14-186.
Steal pine needles or pine straw
Don’t get caught stealing anything left behind by the state’s abundant pine species. A person may be convicted of a Class H felony if they take or assist in taking pine needles or pine straw on land where notices, signs, or posters prohibit the raking or removal of pine needles or pine straw.
General By-law 14-159.7: “If a person takes and takes away, or helps to take or take away, pine needles or pine straw produced on the land of another on which there are notices, signs or posters prohibiting the raking or removing pine needles or pine straw was placed… with the intent to steal the pine needles or pine straw, that person will be guilty of a class H felony.
Stealing over $1,000 of fat
Getting away with pine straw isn’t the only unusual theft frowned upon in North Carolina. State lawmakers have considered kitchen grease theft a particularly heinous crime.
Taking away any container of used kitchen grease without consent could get you charged with a Class H felony. However, the value of the kitchen grease must total $1,000 or more to qualify as a felony. Anything less and you will only face a class 1 misdemeanor.
General By-Law 14-79.2: “It is unlawful for any person to do any of the following: (1) Take and remove, or assist in taking or removing, any container of used cooking grease or used cooking grease that he contains, which container bears a notice that unauthorized removal is prohibited without the written consent of the owner of the container. (2) Put a label on a container of used cooking grease knowing that it belongs to another person in order to claim ownership of the container.
Hold an organizational meeting while wearing a mask
Although fortunately this does not appear to have been enforced during COVID-19, under North Carolina law, if you are over the age of 16 your face must be clearly visible and your voice clearly heard when you attend an organized meeting. Wearing anything with the intention of concealing your identity in any way is prohibited. This also includes events held in the state of NC.
General Statute 14-12.10: “No person or person at least 16 years of age may, while wearing a mask, hood or device by which the person, face or voice is disguised in such a way as to conceal the identity of the bearer, hold any meeting, or demonstrate on the private property of another, unless such person or persons obtain prior written permission from the owner or occupier of the property to do so .”
Borrow the neighbor’s dog
Don’t even think about flying away with your neighbor’s doggie, or several other animals, without their consent.
In North Carolina, it is illegal to take your neighbor’s dog, horse, gelding, mare, or mule without their knowledge. Even if your intention is to take the animal for temporary use and then return it, you could face a class 2 misdemeanor.
General Statute 14-82: “If a person unlawfully takes and carries away a horse, gelding, mare, mule, or dog, the property of another person, secretly and against the will of the owner of such property, with the intent to deprive owner of special or temporary use thereof, or with intent to use such property for special or temporary purposes, the offender is guilty of a class misdemeanor 2.”
Serve alcohol while playing Bingo
If you’re planning a drunken night out at the local bingo parlor, think again. In North Carolina, it is illegal to host any game that includes gambling, such as bingo, in an establishment that serves alcohol. Hosting any form of gambling while serving alcohol exposes you to a class 2 misdemeanor charge. And in the case of Bingo, specifically, no game should exceed five hours in duration in a public space.
General By-Law 14-293: “If a keeper of a house of ordinary or other amusement, or of a house where liquor is retailed, knowingly suffers a game at which money or property is bet , or something of value. .to be played in such a house, or in any part of the premises occupied therewith; or provide persons playing or betting so on said premises or elsewhere with drink or anything else for their comfort or sustenance during playing time, he shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.”