23 Weird North Carolina Laws: When Common Sense Takes a Break

While North Carolina is a beautiful state, with a unique culture, it does also have a lot of quirky laws that you should know about. We’ve collected some of the more peculiar and weird North Carolina laws.

1. Illegal to drive on the sidewalk

North Carolina Laws: don't drive on the sidewalkYou don’t say? Well this is a no-brainer and begs the question: why did this have to be a law? Who was driving on the sidewalk and why?

2. No Bingo and alcohol

If you’re at a bingo game and someone serves you alcohol don’t take it! You could face serious consequences if you do this in North Carolina where bingo while inebriated is a big issue, it seems. Having a big group of bingo players on alcohol would probably be a lot of fun, wouldn’t you say?

3. It’s mandatory to call Town Hall when entering Forest City in a car

This is a very strange request and very hard to enforce and fortunately it’s not enforced anymore. But it’s still a law!

4. Stealing kitchen grease is a no-no

greaseIf you steal kitchen grease worth over $1000 you could be charged with a felony! It’s better to go for $999 or less as that is a misdemeanor.

5. You can go to JAIL for using a small font!

Get this: restaurants that have outdoor seating MUST post a menu outside their premises that is BOTH readable for people who are close by and also unreadable by people in the street! And you can end up in jail if you don’t manage this.

6. Don’t sing off-key or you’ll be breaking the law!

North Carolina Laws: no singing off-key

It seems that because of one man in Lumberton that sang so bad and loud, they had to turn this into a law. Wouldn’t a fine for disturbing the peace be enough for things like this?

7. Marriage can end when a person is impotent

If one of the two parties (either man or woman) is impotent then the marriage can be voided without too many issues in North Carolina. It might sound weird but it makes sense on some level.

8. No swearing in front of … dead bodies

weird north carolina laws swearing scaled

Yes, this is illegal in North Carolina. It’s a known practice in funeral homes, where you need to be respectful near a dead body. NC took it one step further and it’s not illegal to swear in front of a dead body no matter where you are.

9. Amateur psychics are OK but professional ones are BAD

psychic signIt’s actually illegal to claim you are a professional psychic. But adding the word amateur makes it all better.

10. Using a fake name while in a hotel is illegal

Yes, claiming to be wife and husband and using a fake name to check in will lead to a Class 2 misdemeanor. So if you’re up for some shenanigans maybe NC is not the place to go.

11. Look Ma’ no hands!

look ma, no hands

In NC, it’s illegal to be riding a bike if you’re not using both your hands. This is law in a North Carolina city with a cool name like Kill Devil Hills. Can you imagine having to steak out kids who don’t do this? Because we all know most love to use one hand or neither hands when riding their bikes.

12. NC doesn’t like Happy Hours

Happy Hours special can only be offered if we’re talking about food.

13. Streets and throwing rocks don’t mix well

And if you were upset about having to ride your bike with both hands firmly on your bicycle handlebar and wanted to throw a rock in the street to show your frustration, don’t. You may not know it but it’s illegal in Dunn and will lead to trouble.

14. You can’t visit the cemetery after midnight

It’s actually illegal! Can you believe it? What do you do if you just can’t get there earlier?

15. In Huntersville, it’s illegal to sniff glue

North Carolina Laws: don't sniff glueThis is a law that tries to address “new drugs” and new ways of getting high. It’s probably very hard to enforce but it makes sense. Yet it’s weird nonetheless.

16. Wearing a mask while organizing a meeting is illegal

But if you get a written permission from the owner of the property, you can still do this so we wonder how this works. If you shouldn’t do this, why did they add that option in there?

17. DUI on a horse?

weird north carolina laws DUI horse scaledYes, this is penalized in NC which we can all agree is a normal thing or should be normal and present in every state. It might sound weird for people that see nothing wrong in drinking and getting on a horse but this can lead to serious trouble. And it’s not just DUI on a horse but also if you drink and then drive an electric scooter, bicycle or tractor.

18. The highway is no place for rollerblading

We agree. You shouldn’t do this on the highway and it should be common sense but perhaps there were some cases where common sense went out the window so they had to get this in as law?

19. You can’t use your elephant to plow your cotton fields


That’s a real shame. What else could you use your elephant for then? No, but seriously now, elephants were once used for this in North Carolina and at a certain point they said enough was enough and made this illegal.

20. Women must wear 16 yards of clothes

Daisy Dukes are illegal in these parts. Why? Who knows?

21. Separate beds for people that aren’t married

If you want to stay in a hotel with your girlfriend and boyfriend, you should know that the room must have separate beds. Sounds weird? Because it is. Know that this is a Class 2 misdemeanor if you are caught.

22. NC doesn’t let you collect your own reward money

weird north carolina laws reward money scaledHave you ever thought collecting your own reward money would be a smart move? Well, it’s not going to fly in NC.

23. $2000 fine for having a lottery ticket!

This was the case BEFORE North Carolina had its very own lottery.

Some of these weird North Carolina laws might not be enforced anymore or be outdated but that doesn’t make them less peculiar. As always, make sure to learn about local traditions, customs and laws before visiting any state.

Recommended reading next: Weird Alabama Laws


What are the weird food laws in NC?

North Carolina has some weird laws and this one also matches that description. In NC you can’t eat your neighbor’s garbage UNLESS they give you permission to do so. Doing so might get you in jail on a property theft and trespassing charge.

Is eating and driving illegal in NC?

It’s recommended you never do anything else except driving. No eating, no drinking, no phones. Distractions can lead to accidents so keep your eyes on the road.

Is driving with headphones illegal in NC?

You can drive while wearing headphones in NC.

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