Utah, popular for its picturesque landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and outdoor adventures, is also home to some of the most peculiar laws in the United States. This article delves into the various strange and often humorous laws, some of which might leave you scratching your head in bewilderment. Our journey uncovers laws related to wildlife, personal behavior, outdoor activities, and even dairy products. So buckle up and get ready for a wild ride through the weird laws in Utah!
1. Unconventional Wildlife Regulations
Whales in the Desert
In one of the most baffling pieces of legislation, Utah has outlawed hunting whales. This raises eyebrows considering Utah is a landlocked state with the closest ocean thousands of miles away. The law, however, is an extension of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), which protects endangered and threatened species, including all great whales. The act makes it illegal to kill, hunt, collect, injure, or harass the majestic sea creatures, or destroy their habitat. So, if you spot a whale in the Great Salt Lake, remember to admire it from a distance, another of the weird laws in Utah!
Beaver Dams and Red Foxes
Another unusual wildlife regulation allows citizens to request authorization from the Wildlife Board to kill or trap a beaver if it poses a threat to private property. On the other end of the spectrum, the law permits the capture of red foxes and striped skunks without a license, as provided by the Utah Code.
2. Strange Vehicle and Travel Laws
Keep Off the Sidewalk
While it might seem obvious, Utah law explicitly states that it’s illegal to drive on the sidewalk, except for bicycles, devices propelled by human power, or motor-assisted scooters. The law doesn’t apply to your driveway, so feel free to use your sidewalk for your own vehicles.
Hands on the Handlebars
Bicyclists, it’s time to keep those show-off tendencies in check. Utah law requires you to keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. It further restricts you from carrying any package that prevents you from controlling and operating the bicycle or moped with both hands. So, as cool as “Look Ma, no hands!” may sound, it’s a big no-no in Utah.
3. Weather and Catastrophe Manipulation
Playing God with the Weather
If you’ve ever dreamt of controlling the weather, you might want to rethink that if you’re in Utah. Statewide, any attempt to modify the weather without a permit is strictly prohibited. This includes practices like cloud seeding, meant to artificially distribute or create nuclei in cloud masses to alter precipitation, cloud forms, or other meteorological parameters.
Another bizarre law in Utah’s books makes it illegal to cause a catastrophe. This includes causing widespread injury or damage to persons or property using a weapon of mass destruction, explosion, fire, flood, avalanche, building collapse, or any other harmful or destructive force. Dr. Doom and other supervillain wannabes, you’ve been warned!
4. Quirky Household and Personal Laws in Utah
Rapid Pet Burials
Dealing with the loss of a beloved pet is undoubtedly hard, but in St. George, Utah, you have to expedite the grieving process. State law requires you to bury deceased domestic animals within two business days. So, when the time comes to say goodbye to Fluffy, you better have the funeral arrangements ready.
Parenting in Hotels
If you’re vacationing with your kids in Utah, be prepared to pay up if the little ones get too unruly. Utah law allows innkeepers to charge parents a deposit of up to $500 for any losses or damages their children may cause to a hotel.
5. Odd Food and Beverage Laws in Utah
If you’re in the business of buying dairy products, you better not display any favoritism. According to Utah law, it’s illegal to discriminate between different sections, communities, localities, cities, or towns when buying milk products. So, milk enthusiasts, remember to treat all dairy equally.
Restrictions on Beer
Utah has some strict laws regarding the sale and consumption of beer. Retailers are prohibited from selling, offering for sale, or furnishing beer in a container that exceeds two liters. So, while you can enjoy your beer in a growler, crowler, or howler, don’t expect to purchase a full-sized keg.
6. Weird Utah City Laws
Prohibitions in Provo
The city of Provo has a set of unique laws worth mentioning. Known as the “Throwing Missiles” section of the Provo Code, it’s illegal to throw stones, sticks, or snowballs within the city limits if it frightens or annoys any traveler. And if you thought about causing a ruckus with explosives on any track or rail, think again.
Logan’s Rock-Throwing Ban
The citizens of Logan can’t throw rocks to annoy any traveler or pedestrian. However, if you have the car owner’s permission, feel free to be as annoying as you’d like.
7. Unusual Relationship Laws in Utah
Cousin Marriage Regulations
In Utah, it’s unlawful to marry your first cousin unless both individuals are over the age of 65 or at least 55, with one being proven unable to reproduce. This law is designed to prevent incest and the potential birth defects that can occur when close relatives have children together.
8. Curious Decency Laws in Utah
Swearing and Vulgarity
In Logan, ladies are prohibited from using profane words. This law doesn’t apply to men, making it one of the more controversial laws in the state. According to the same law, a husband is responsible for every crime his wife commits in his presence.
Public Performances and Hats
In 1898, it was considered a misdemeanor in Utah for people to wear a hat that was too high inside a theater. This law may seem outdated today, but it reflects the social norms and expectations of the time.
9. Interesting Fishing Laws in Utah
Fishing with Explosives
When it comes to fishing in Utah, leave your crossbow and explosives at home. According to the Utah Fishing Guidebook, it’s illegal to use any chemical, explosive, electricity, poison, firearm, pellet gun, or archery equipment to take fish or crayfish.
10. Prank Call Regulations in Utah
False Alarm to Police
Making prank phone calls to police officers is illegal in Utah. If you inform law officers about an emergency and provide a false address, you could be guilty of a fourth-degree felony. So, think twice before pulling a prank on the boys in blue.
11. Miscellaneous Odd Laws
Causing a catastrophe, such as widespread injury or damage, is illegal in Utah. This includes using a weapon of mass destruction, causing an explosion, fire, flood, avalanche, or building collapse.
Liquor Store Limitations
Utah law mandates that all liquor stores remain closed on Sundays. They only operate from Monday to Saturday and also stay closed on all federal and state holidays.
12. Intriguing Dance Laws
Daylight Dance Restrictions
In Monroe, Utah, there’s a bizarre regulation stating that daylight must be visible between partners on a dance floor. So, if you’re planning to cut a rug in Monroe, make sure to maintain an appropriate distance from your dance partner.
While these laws may seem strange and even comical at times, they are all part of Utah’s rich and diverse legal tapestry. These laws provide a glimpse into the unique culture and history of the state, reminding us that although times change, some laws persist, adding to the character and charm of Utah.
What are the bizarre laws in Utah?
The bizarre laws in Utah range from wildlife regulations, such as the prohibition of whale hunting, to personal behavior laws, such as the requirement to bury pets within two days of their death.
Is it illegal to not drink milk in Utah?
While there is no law that mandates drinking milk in Utah, there is a law against discriminating between different sections, communities, localities, cities, or towns when buying milk products.
Is whale hunting legal in Utah?
No, whale hunting is not legal in Utah. Despite being a landlocked state, Utah has a law against hunting whales as part of the federal Endangered Species Act.
Is sexting legal in Utah?
In Utah, sexting between consenting adults is not illegal. However, sexting involving a minor is considered child pornography and is illegal under Utah law.
What is the Romeo and Juliet rule Utah?
The Romeo and Juliet rule in Utah refers to a provision in statutory rape laws that exempts individuals from prosecution if they engage in consensual sexual activity and both parties are close in age, typically three or fewer years apart.
Is drinking beer illegal in Utah?
Drinking beer is not illegal in Utah. However, there are strict laws regarding the sale and consumption of beer, including a restriction on selling, offering for sale, or furnishing beer in a container that exceeds two liters.
Is it illegal to eat and drive in Utah?
There is no specific law in Utah that makes it illegal to eat while driving. However, if eating while driving causes a driver to operate their vehicle erratically or dangerously, they could be cited for distracted driving.
Is beer illegal in Utah?
No, beer is not illegal in Utah. However, the state has strict laws regarding the sale and consumption of beer, including a restriction on selling, offering for sale, or furnishing beer in a container that exceeds two liters.