Yes, You Can Go To Jail For Overdue Library Books And Other Weird Laws
The legal system has been around in one form or another since the dawn of humankind. It's a living entity that grows and changes with the times; at least, it's supposed to. Many people may be surprised to learn there are quite a few ridiculous laws still on the books that could land you in very real legal trouble. Here are three odd laws that might earn you some jail time if you're caught violating them.
Keeping Your Library Books Too Long
With the proliferation of tablets and tons of readable content that can be downloaded from the cloud, it may seem strange that people are still checking actual books out from the library. However, it's still the only place where you can legally get a non-digital book for free, so maybe it's not all that surprising. However, failing to return the books on time could earn you a visit from the police in Alabama.
According to an article on the Huffington Post, the Athens-Limestone Public Library is throwing the book at people who don't return their rented materials. Apparently, the city has an obscure law that subjects offenders to fines and/or up to 30 days in jail for failing to return their copies of The Book Thief. It's somewhat understandable considering the library is owed over $200,000 in late fees from area residents, but getting hauled off to jail over a few late books is probably not the adventure customers are looking for.
Luckily, the library indicates there is a long lead time before it gets to the point where they need to involve law enforcement, and children are definitely off the hook.
Men Seducing Women
The culture around romance and sexuality has changed quite a bit, becoming more lax and permissive over the years. These days no one thinks twice about two people hooking up for a one-night stand or becoming friends with benefits. However, sex and sexual interaction between two people were regulated a lot more strictly in the past.
For example, Michigan still has a law on the books forbidding men from seducing and corrupting an unmarried girl, the penalty for which is a $2,500 and up to 5 years in jail. But don't think you can get away with seducing married women either. Adultery between a married woman and an unmarried man is considered a felony, but the man who committed the adultery will only get in trouble if the husband complains.
Stealing Grease Creates a Slippery Slope to Jail
Not all weird laws are the result of archaic rules from yesteryear. Strange things happening in current times have also lead to cities and states enacting laws that will probably seem just as ridiculous to future generations that old laws seem to the current populous.
For example, as crazy as it may sound, North Carolina and a few other states appear to be having a problem with people stealing used grease from restaurants. Apparently, this "yellow grease" has become a hot commodity, selling for 30 to 40 cents per pound on the black market. Thieves are selling it to larger companies who use the stuff for animal feed, cosmetics, and as bio-fuel.
This has led to the creation of a number of laws to punish people who are essentially dumpster diving. Depending on the value of the amount of grease stolen, perpetrators may be hit with misdemeanor or felony charges, which may ultimately result in jail time.
Although it may be funny to laugh about odd laws that are still on the books, the reality is it's not unusual for law enforcement and prosecutors to use obscure laws to put you in jail. Regardless of whether you were picked up because of a dumb law or something much more serious, contact a criminal defense attorney for help with defending yourself in court.