Strangest Laws in Idaho

Most laws in the ‘Gem’ State’s Constitution are there to guarantee civilian safety. Other acts are in place to prohibit behavior that is deemed offensive or to be in bad taste while others are an attempt to conform to certain moral principles.

However, there are some strange obscure laws on Idaho’s law books that aren’t enforced as zealously as others because there’s no harm, there’s no complaint or nobody calls it in. One would wonder how or why they even exist in the first place?

Here is a list of eight of the strangest laws in the state of Idaho.

1. You must smile in public

This edict was jokingly passed by the Mayor of the city of Pocatello as a result of a very severe winter back in 1948 which had dampened the morale of city staff and citizens alike. The law remained on law books to this day.

2. Don’t lead animals on the sidewalks

According to Boise law, it’s illegal for anyone to “ride, drive or lead any animal or to drive any vehicle upon, along or across any cement sidewalk in the city”.

3. You can eat another person’s flesh…for survival purposes

Chapter 18, Chapter 50 of Idaho law states that “Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures or renders it useless, or cuts out or disables the tongue, puts out an eye, slits the nose, ear or lip, is guilty of mayhem.” This so-called ‘Mayhem Section’ was passed in 1990. 

Cannibalism is still illegal in Idaho and can carry a sentence of 14 years but according to the law, there is a viable defense for cannibalism: if the action was taken under extreme, life-threatening conditions as the only clear means of survival.

4. Only blind people can use white canes

According to Title 18, Chapter 58 of the Idaho Constitution, no person, unless partially or wholly blind, is allowed to carry a white (or white-tipped with red) cane/walking stick while walking on any street, highway, or in any other public place.

5. Never sell an Idaho potato that has blemishes

Idaho takes its potatoes very seriously, it produces nearly one-third of the potatoes grown in the United States. Due to this, the state legislature has made it illegal to sell an “Idaho Deluxe” potato with rot, blemishes or sun damage. Disobeying this edict can land you in jail for up to six months.

When opening a business or an LLC in Idaho, it’s important to know the rules and regulations the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Idaho and how to find a great Idaho registered agent can help you avoid any legal issues when launching a business in the state.

6. ‘Mischievous’ pets are not allowed to kill people

If the owner of a mischievous animal willfully neglects it knowing its propensities and the animal attacks and kills another person, the said owner is guilty of a felony which is punishable by a sentence of up to five years in prison or a $50,000 fine.

7. No bicycles on tennis courts

In the city of Eagle, Idaho, It is illegal to use a bicycle on the gazebo in Heritage Park, on all public park benches and the public tennis courts located at Ranch Drive and Stierman Road.

8. Don’t ‘spike’ the trees

This law was enacted in 1917 as an effort to curb the rising cases of sabotage in the timber industry. People would ram metal spikes into trees and when they ran the timber through the cutting machine to cut it into boards at the lumber mills, the blades of the machine hit the metal spikes and shrapnel flew into the people who were standing in the vicinity.

Spiking still happens in Idaho but the state government has prohibited it by law. The penalty is a minimum of six months in jail or a fine of up to $5,000.

Sources:

Idaho Legislature – Title 18, Chapter 50
Idaho Legislature – Section 18, Chapter 58 
Idaho Legislature – Section 18, Chapter 58 
Stupid Laws – Pocatello 
Stupid Laws – Boise
Stupid Laws – Eagle
Only in your state

Leave a Comment

Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.