Strangest laws in Delaware

December 7th is celebrated as Delaware Day. This is the day that the Delaware delegation, in 1787, ratified the US constitution. That’s why they called Delaware the First State. 

For a state that has a strong connection with the US constitution, Delaware has a set of weird laws that most people would find funny. For instance, if you’re on probation or if you’re on parole because of a crime and you get married, that marriage is prohibited. You can also be imprisoned for a year if you serve margarine in a restaurant.

We’ve scoured the internet and compiled a list of 10 strangest laws from the Diamond State.

1. Alcohol is prohibited in dance halls/clubs

According to an ordinance from the city of Rehoboth Beach (DE), dance club or dance hall owners are not allowed to sell, provide or dispense alcohol within their establishments. Anyone who goes against this law will be fined between $50 and $200. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Delaware and how to find a great registered agent in Delaware can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or closing a business in the state.

2. Six-year-old girls must be fully clothed at all times

Still, in Rehoboth Beach, this statute states that “no female over the age of five years shall wear a topless bathing suit or otherwise fail to cover her breasts with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the upper portion of the nipple…”

3. Don’t use your car as a picnic facility

The town of Fenwick Island forbids people from tailgating or having a picnic on any street or highway within the corporate limits of the town. “Tailgating” here means standing, sitting and eating, or drinking on any street or highway and using a vehicle as a picnic facility.

4. Don’t whisper during Sunday service

Rehoboth Beach is very serious about church service. You are not allowed to disrupt or disturb any congregation or assembly met for religious worship by noise, talking or whispering, displaying rude or indecent behavior, or by impious language within their place of worship, or within 300 feet of the place of worship.

5. Changing clothes in your car is illegal

It is illegal for any person to live, dwell, cook, sleep, change clothes or use toilet facilities inside any vehicle within city limits in Fenwick Island.

6. Don’t sleep on the boardwalk

If you find yourself feeling sleepy while out and about in the city of Rehoboth Beach, don’t take a nap on the boardwalk or any bench in the city as it will be against the law. Any violation of this law is declared a civil offense and could land you in a lot of trouble.

7. You must carry a “poop” bag when walking your dog

If you are going to take your dog out for a walk in the town of Southern Bethany, you need to carry a bag to store the dog’s excrement. Anyone who violates this ordinance will pay a fine of not less than $25, nor more than $100, including court costs. 

8. The sale of margarine is outlawed

According to Title 16 of the Delaware Code, the sale and manufacture of ‘oleomargarine’ whether yellow or white is prohibited. It goes on to state that, “No owner or proprietor of any public eating place shall serve yellow oleomargarine unless a notice that oleomargarine is served is displayed prominently on the menu or on a placard in clear view of all customers.”

9. Advertising for adoption is illegal

It is against the law to advertise for adoption in Delaware. No person, firm, corporation, organization or other legal entity, except the Department of Child Services or a licensed agency, shall advertise in this State regarding the availability of adoption services.

10. Don’t change clothes in a public restroom

It is illegal for any person to change his/her clothing from a bathing suit to street clothes or otherwise in a public restroom maintained by the city of Rehoboth Beach.

Sources

Ecode 360 – Chapter 134 Rehoboth Code
Ecode 360 – Fenwick Island regulations regarding camping, beaches, parks and vehicles
Ecode 360 – Rehoboth Beach Article III – Offenses against morals
Ecode 360 – Rehoboth Beach Article IV – Offenses against public peace and safety
Ecode 360 – South Bethany Chapter 30 – Animal Code
Findlaw
Justia
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