State laws are meant to regulate a safe society, and at the time our laws go into effect, they usually make sense. However, times change, society evolves, and some irrelevant laws are still technically in effect, even as they sit in the dusty vault of history.
All states have some weird laws from the past, and Alabama is no exception. Some of these laws are so strange that even personal injury lawyers in Alabama can’t make sense of them.
Alabama Has Some Strangely Specific Laws
According to Alabama law, dominoes must not be played on Sundays. It’s also illegal to sell peanuts in Lee County after sundown on Wednesdays. However, if you’re playing dominos on Saturday or selling peanuts in Lee County in the middle of the night on Tuesday, you probably don’t have to keep an eye out for the police.
Of course, modern law enforcement officers have a lot more to do than enforce either of these laws, so it’s unlikely you would receive a citation or face a night in jail. They’re still on the books, though, so you may want to avoid engaging in either of these activities on the days when they’re forbidden.
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Don’t Have Too Much Fun – It’s the Law
A lot of activities we consider to be fun in Alabama today were once against the law. What did Alabama legislators have against fun back then? It’s hard to imagine what could have made them decide to create these laws:
- It’s illegal to wear a fake mustache in a church because it could cause laughter.
- It’s illegal to put ice cream in your back pocket.
- In Mobile, it’s illegal to spray silly string.
- In Mobile, it’s illegal to spit orange peels onto the sidewalk.
Laws are generally made because of safety concerns, to prevent property damage, or to keep people on their best behavior. Out of context, these laws make it seem like lawmakers just don’t like their constituents to have fun.
Bear Wrestlers Are Out of Luck
In Alabama, it is illegal to wrestle bears, at least if you’re human. In addition to no bear wrestling, the following laws that don’t make sense are also still on the books in Alabama:
- Putting salt on a railroad track can be punishable by death.
- It’s illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
- It’s legal to drive down a one-way street in the wrong direction if you have a lantern attached to your vehicle.
Like other laws we’ve discussed here, these probably are not a top priority for law enforcement. However, we cannot recommend driving while blindfolded under any circumstances. That’s one weird Alabama law that makes a lot of sense—although maybe a little too obvious to require lawmakers to put it in writing.
When State Mandates Contradict Old Laws
Sometimes, current laws, regulations, and recommendations may be in direct contradiction to older laws. For example, driving the wrong way on a one-way street is illegal – regardless of whether you have a lantern on your vehicle. But outdated laws also make it legal when you have a lantern.
One example that has come to light due to recent events is this: It’s illegal to wear a mask in public in Alabama. Yet in 2020, Alabama authorities urged people to ignore this law and wear medical masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. This legal contradiction makes mask-wearing both required and prohibited.
Now that the pandemic is easing up in the US, we may stop wearing masks, but both laws may remain on the books. This one is also routinely broken on Halloween and other times when costumes are encouraged and enjoyed.
Yoga Is Once Again Legal in Alabama Schools
In 1993, yoga was banned from Alabama public schools because citizens convinced lawmakers that it would put their kids at risk of converting to Hinduism.
Never mind the fact that millions of people use yoga for relaxation, physical fitness, meditation, and other positive outcomes without knowing anything about Hinduism.
This law stood for more than 25 years. Governor Kay Ivey recently signed a bill to end the State Board of Education’s ban on yoga. Students can start taking yoga classes or learning the practice in physical education classes in the 2021-2022 school year, but they aren’t allowed to say “Namaste.”
But Wait – What About Recent Alabama Laws?
While some silly, antiquated laws are fun to discover, other Alabama laws are not.In fact, Alabama has some of the strictest personal injury laws in the nation. Laws like the Guest Passenger Law and the Collateral Source Rule can significantly reduce an accident victim’s (or the victim’s family’s) compensation in an injury lawsuit.
The state is also one of only four (in addition to Washington, DC) that recognizes pure contributory negligence. This makes it more difficult for victims to recover compensation. If the at-fault party can show they shared any fault in the case—even 1 percent—they are barred from any financial recovery.
If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, these laws might affect your case. The skills and experience of a personal injury lawyer in Alabama could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Alabama also has unusual laws about the damages recoverable in wrongful death actions which could affect your financial recovery if your loved one passed away from accident injuries.
Discuss Your Personal Injury Case With a Lawyer Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, our attorneys provide free consultations for personal injury victims in Alabama. We can help you understand how Alabama law could affect the outcome of your case for compensation and how our lawyers may be able to help. We have offices in Birmingham, Decatur, Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, but serve all areas of the state.
Contact a lawyer today to get started with a free case review.
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