5 Weird Laws Still Somehow on the Books in North Carolina

5 Weird Laws Still Somehow on the Books in North Carolina

You may have heard about crazy laws around the world. For example, did you know that it’s illegal to wear high heels when you visit the Acropolis? Or that you must hang artwork (rather than tilt or lean) in buildings in Wyoming? However, the Tar Heel State has its fair share of crazy laws on the books. Here are some weird laws in North Carolina that might cause you to stop and scratch your head.

1. No Unmarried Couples Checking into Hotels for “Immoral Purposes”

There are some very weird laws about sex in North Carolina.
Image courtesy of Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

§ 14-186. Opposite sexes occupying same bedroom at hotel for immoral purposes

One of the many weird laws in North Carolina forbids “any man and woman” from shacking up at a hotel, public inn or boardinghouse “for [*clears throat*] any immoral purpose.” It’s also illegal to “falsely register[] as, or otherwise represent[] themselves to be, husband and wife” at a hotel if those purposes are on your mind. It’s not clear whether romantic AirBnBs would meet the statute, though.

Despite still being on the books, it’s worth noting that the NC Court of Appeals found this statute unconstitutionally vague more than 40 years ago. In a case called State v Sanders, the appellate court rejected the state’s argument that “immoral purposes” in this statute simply “means illicit sexual intercourse.”

2. A (Partially Unconstitutional) Prohibition Against Some Sex Acts

§ 14-177. Crime against nature.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government published a blog summarizing court cases about the state’s “crime against nature” statute. The blog describes a variety of sexual acts prohibited by the statute, all of which involve some form of sexual acts other than “the penetration of the female sexual organ by the male sexual organ (what we think of as heterosexual sex)….” People who violate this law face a Class I felony.

As the blog explains, however, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be convicted of a “crime against nature” for most consensual sexual acts. The statute itself does not require “an element of force or lack of consent” itself. But the United States Supreme Court has determined that consensual sexual acts between consenting adults in private and not for money is constitutionally protected activity.

3. You Must Pay Taxes on Your Illegal Sales of Drugs

There are lots of weird laws around drugs in North Carolina.
Image courtesy of Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash.

§ 105-113.107. Excise tax on unauthorized substances.

As of November 2020, 15 states have legalized marijuana. North Carolina is not one of them. Selling weed or other drugs in North Carolina can land you in serious legal jeopardy. But you may also face penalties for not paying the required taxes on those illegal drugs. And this court even include the seizure of property, something the Hickory Daily Record covered in 2015.

4. No Sniffing Model Airplane Glue in Huntersville

Huntersville city code § 130.01  MODEL GLUE; POSSESSION, USE REGULATED.

In Huntersville, you must be 16 to buy or possess model airplane glue. It is also illegal for anyone to use glue “used in the building of model airplanes, boats and automobiles” for anything other than its intended purposes.

5. No “Unlawfully” Borrowing Your Neighbor’s Dog

Image courtesy of Jose Carlos Ichiro on Unsplash.

§ 14-82. Taking horses, mules, or dogs for temporary purposes.

North Carolina punishes “any person” who “unlawfully take[s] and carr[ies] away any horse, gelding, mare, mule, or dog, the property of another person, secretly and against the will of the owner of such property, with intent to deprive the owner of the special or temporary use of the same, or with the intent to use such property for a special or temporary purpose….” Someone found guilty of violating this statute “shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

This statute has led to many folks wondering whether they’ll be arrested for taking their neighbor’s dog for a walk to enjoy the fall colors. Assuming you have their permission, the answer is probably not. This is because the statute requires that you take the animal “unlawfully.” Nevertheless, it’s something to keep in mind the next time a friend asks you to dog-sit.

The state of North Carolina clearly has some crazy laws on the books. Can you think of any others? We’d love to hear them. Just follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to shoot us a message!

Want to learn more about less-weird North Carolina laws? How about the state’s hemp laws? Or what could happen if you get caught with illegal marijuana? Stay tuned to North Carolina News Daily for more information and updates.