Most of us probably think of ourselves as law-abiding citizens, but you could be breaking the law and don’t even know it. Apparently there are some strange federal laws still on the books that most people have no idea exist, and some are pretty amusing. The new book “How to Become a Federal Criminal: An Illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender” by criminal defense lawyer Mike Chase details some of these strange laws,including:
- Selling Runny Ketchup – It seems runny ketchup is against the law, and apparently if it flows down a trough farther than 14 centimeters in 30 seconds it can’t be considered ketchup. There are even regulations on how to spell ketchup, and apparently Catchup is not okay.
- Leaving the country with too many nickels in your pocket – Since 2006 exporting pennies and nickels from the U.S. was prohibited, and even punishable by five years in prison. Apparently you’re allowed to travel abroad with up to $5 in pennies or nickels, or up to $25, but only if they are for “legitimate personal numismatic, amusement, or recreational use.”
- Selling wine with a label that insults the competition – Legally it’s a no-no for winemakers to throw shade on competitors using their labels. They also can’t have obscene material on their labels, or make claims like how drunk the wine will get you.
- Writing a check for less than $1 – While few people even write checks these days, there’s apparently a federal law against writing, “any note, check, memorandum, token, or other obligation for a less sum than $1” in lieu of money.
- Making an unreasonable gesture to a passing horse – Although this only applies to horses at national parks, you may want to think twice before you flip a horse the bird, although “unreasonable” is up for interpretation based on “factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person.”
- Having Disruptively Bad Hygiene in the Library of Congress – Apparently bad body odor at the Library of Congress can get you up to six months in prison.