Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

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Generally speaking, having a cocktail or a beer or two won't land you in trouble. After all, alcohol consumption is legal for those of us over the age of 21. But, there are exceptions to every rule. Drinking or being drunk in public, or driving after you've had too much to drink can lead to criminal penalties, including fines and significant prison time.

And in the State of Virginia just being near booze can mean a year in jail. That's if you've already been labeled a "habitual drunkard", a designation that can bar you from purchasing, consuming, or possessing alcohol. Although the law seems antiquated, recent legal challenges have failed to overturn it.

Roman Empire Doctrine Justifies New Jersey Beach Opening

'What have the Romans ever done for us?' New Jersey beachgoers might soon have another item to add to the extensive list. A key state legislative committee advanced a bill to clarify the state's public trust doctrine as it relates to public access to beaches in the Garden State. It's the latest example of the truism that old laws are often good laws.

Ever want a reason to argue with your neighbors? Just cruise through your hood around election time. All of a sudden you'll discover where they all stand, politically speaking, thanks to all the yard signs declaring their favored candidate.

And perhaps it's neighborhood strife that Bel-Nor, Missouri was trying to avoid by limiting all residential premises to a single "political advertising" sign and prohibiting the display of political signs more than 15 days after an election. (Wouldn't want those sour grapes spilling over into physical confrontations.) But the ACLU says the town went too far after police threatened a Bel-Nor resident with jail time if he didn't remove his "Black Lives Matter," "Clinton Kaine," and "Jason Kander U.S. Senate" signs.

An Arizona bill that would make it legal to shoot snakes, rats, and other pests again within city limits passed the state house and is headed to the state senate for approval. The bill, which still has not become law, would provide a limited, permissible reason to fire off a gun within city limits, which is currently prohibited except in very limited circumstances.

The current prohibition is the result of a surprising tragedy that happened nearly two decades ago. In 2000, a Phoenix teen was killed by a stray bullet that had been fired off up into the air in celebration. Soon after the incident, a law was passed that made it a felony to fire a weapon within a city's limits in the state of Arizona. An unanticipated result of the ban was that property owners were no longer as free to use their firearms to shoot rats, snakes, and other vermin.

As of September 26, 2016, thanks to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and a unanimous vote in the state legislature, it's now legal to be buried with the remains of your cremated pet in New York. Prior to this past Monday, pet owners would have had to be buried in pet cemeteries if they wished to have their final resting place alongside their furry friend.

Now, before you go revising your last will and testament to make sure Mr. Fluffster McNuggets III will get buried alongside of you, there are some restrictions. Primarily, this new law does not apply to religious cemeteries, nor does it apply to for-profit cemeteries. It only applies to not-for-profit, non-religious cemeteries.

Are Zombie Nativity Scenes Legal?

An Ohio man's 'artsy' undead nativity scene has earned him the national spotlight and a $500 fine. Jasen Dixon, of Sycamore, Ohio, has a Christmas tradition that is causing an uproar for its ghoulish depiction of Jesus and other biblical figures, The Washington Post reports.

Dixon calls it art and is not an atheist. But his zombie manger scene has enraged neighbors and got him in hot water with Sycamore Township.

Alabama Authority Proposes Baggy Pants Ban Because God

God is talking to authorities in Alabama about fashion. A Dadeville councilman is proposing a dress code that bans baggy pants because "I prayed about this. I know God would not go around with his pants down."

Colleagues supported Frank Goodman's proposal, introduced at a Dadeville City Council meeting last month. But this week, one council member concerned about fairness added a new wrinkle to the dress code proposal, local paper Alex City Outlook reported.

The American Beverage Association is suing the city of San Francisco over a law requiring warning labels on sugary beverages. The lawsuit relies on a unique argument: the First Amendment.

This raises the question: can you use free speech principles to shut somebody up?

9 Weird Alcohol Laws

Want to hear something surprising? The United States once prohibited the sale of alcohol!

Well, that's probably not surprising. But, while prohibition went out the window in 1933, many states still have some pretty odd laws about alcohol on the books today.

Here are nine weird state alcohol laws.

Medical Pot for Pets? Nev. Legislator Wants to Legalize It

We thought the weirdest pet marijuana story was the "stoner dog" story from 2012. Veterinarians in Colorado said they were seeing increased cases of dogs high on marijuana after eating pot brownies their owners have left laying around.

Certainly some of those dogs needed marijuana for medical reasons, though, right? Dogs suffer from some of the same pains in old age that humans do. Why not ease their symptoms? That's what a Nevada state senator wants to do: Legalize medical pot for pets.