Arizona is known for the desert (being one of the most arid states in the US), cacti, cowboys and a rich history. There are also lots of special foods Arizona is known for like the Navajo tacos, Piki bread, Sonoran hot dogs or Posole. There’s plenty of beautiful cities and places to visit and explore. And if you are considering visiting you should also know about the weird Arizona laws. Some of them might affect you without you even realizing.
1. In Goodyear, you are not allowed to spit in public
You can be fined up to $2500 or even be sentenced to 6 months in prison! Spitting on crosswalks, public sidewalks, parks, public paths or buildings or highways is illegal here. While time in jail might be a bit too much, this law is not a bad one and it should probably be implemented in all states. Why would you be allowed to spit in public places?
2. Fortune-telling is not loved in Avondale
In Avondale you are not allowed to practice palm reading, fortune-telling or hypnotism. Only accredited doctors or dentists may perform hypnotism here. In other states this is not an issue but Avondale is not the place to try this.
3. Street racing, legal?!
Yes, Arizona will allow street racing events with a proper authorization. You can pretty much challenge anyone to a race and after you get the authorization, you’re good to go. Might sound weird but maybe this approach is better than actually trying to catch cars that like to race in the night.
4. Moving/digging up a cactus is prohibited by law
It might sound like a weird law from people from other states or countries, but Arizona is very protective of its cacti. Someone who digs up, moves, cuts down a cacti can face up to… hold your hats for this… 25 years in prison!!! There are many different types of cacti like the Saguaro Cactus which is considered a state treasure and is extra protected since it’s also endangered. So if you’re ever in Arizona don’t do anything to the cacti. Just admire them from a distance.
5. Stealing soap has its own risks
In Mohave County, AZ, if you’re caught stealing soap you are obligated to wash yourself with it until it’s all gone. So you basically steal a bar of soap and then use it until it’s done and that’s it. This sounds very weird. Maybe you need to wash up then and there until it’s finished as a sort of punishment?
6. Manufacturing imitation drugs is a no-no
This is considered a class 6 felony and will lead to serious consequences. Creating imitation drugs (similar to cocaine for example) and trying to sell them is definitely not something you’d want to do.
7. The Stupid Motorist Law
Ever heard of The Stupid Motorist Law? This law states that any driver who bypasses police enacted barricades and then becomes trapped is liable for emergency rescue costs. This means they will have to pay for the rescue because they ignored the warnings and drove on a dangerous road. Arizona strongly thinks you should pay for your stupidity. We think this law should be enforced everywhere around the world. What do you think?
8. Don’t eat the grass
Always wanted to eat some grass? Well, be aware that you can’t do it when you’re in Tempe, Arizona if that grass is in a region where cows or sheep are grazing.
9. In Arizona animals have similar rights to vehicles
Why? Because many people ride horses or donkeys/camels here. It’s something that happens a lot so it makes sense (in this context) that the animals would have similar rights to vehicles because basically, they are vehicles. You can be punished for spooking a horse someone is riding and a horse-pulled carriage is looked at as a motor vehicle. It might sound weird to outsiders, but when you live in Arizona this makes complete sense.
10. Feeding garbage to a pig requires a permit
You are not to feed garbage to a pig without a specific permit for this UNLESS the pig is yours and you are feeding it your garbage. Sounds weird? That’s because it is.
11. Arizona has an official necktie
Yes, believe it or not, Arizona has an actual law dating back to 1971 that says their official necktie is the Bolo tie. So when you see people wearing it (and you will see plenty) don’t be surprised.
12. No need to use a helmet, on a motorcycle, if you’re 18
Does this sound strange to you? Because it does to us. Why wouldn’t a helmet be mandatory, no matter the age? It makes no sense and this law should be modified to protect motorists.
13. It’s mandatory to have protective goggles or a windshield on a motorcycle
So no helmet is needed but goggles are a must?! Both should always be present. Plus you are NOT allowed to ride a motorcycle that has handlebars which are higher that your shoulders. This makes some sense as it’s harder to control the motorcycle when this happens.
14. Illegal to have missing teeth
In Tombstone, anyone over 18 must not have more than 1 missing tooth when they smile! Can you believe this is still in the books? And why was it ever?!
15. Hotel lobbies and spurs don’t mix
Thinking of walking in a hotel with your trusty spurs on? Well, think again. You’re not allowed to do so in Arizona, although we don’t know who would be checking if this is the case or not.
16. Elephants need to have a bell around their neck
Why? So swans hear them coming, of course! Come on now! We’re not kidding! This one is a real doozy. Something must have happened that they made this into law. Some elephants must have really disturbed some swans.
17. You can’t buy spray paint unless you’re 18
This refers to the access to graffiti and they are trying to reduce access to it for kids and teenagers. But it does sound a little weird that you can just buy paint in Tempe, unless you’re 18.
18. Illegal to sing in a swimsuit if you’re in a public place
Now what’s the story here? We’d sure like to know how this one came to be.
19. In Prescott, you’re not allowed to ride your horse up the country courthouse’s stairs
It seems Pancho Villa did this in Douglas, Arizona and it was frowned upon so the people in Prescott must have been afraid this would happen again. So this law was born.
20. No suspenders
In Nogales, Arizona, you are not allowed to wear suspenders! Women will be fined $500 if they do so and men will be fined 4 times that! What in the world is going on in Nogales?!
21. No smoking within 15 feet of public places
In Mesa, AZ, this is the law and doing this without having a Class 12 liquor license is illegal.
Myths or Repelled Laws
Tucson had a no cross-dress law
This meant that women couldn’t wear pants which shouldn’t be the case nowadays. In Tucson, people were expected to dress in a manner “of his or her gender”. Men and women were expected to dress a certain way.
No more than 6 women could live under the same roof
Back in the Old West days this was the law in an attempt to discourage prostitution. This law is no longer in effect nowadays but many people aren’t aware it’s not.
No donkeys sleeping in the bathtub
This was once a law, believe it or not. Why? Because of a local dam (near Kingman) that broke taking a donkey (that was sleeping in a bathtub, outside) on a ride. The donkey was found unharmed, a mile away but it took some effort to get it back and so the law was born.
Is it illegal to not give water in Arizona?
We’ve found contradictory data about this one so take this with a grain of salt (and if you have proof one way or the other, let us know). There are people that say there’s such a law that asks anyone to provide water to someone in need (like homeless people). Since the temperatures in Arizona can go as high as 110-120 degrees, it’s understandable why such a “law” or recommendation would have been needed. It seems there are even businesses that have been fined because they refused to supply water to people in need.
It also seems that Starbucks found a way around this particular law by charging for the cup the water was in and not for the water itself.