Strangest Laws in New Jersey

The Garden State, like any other state in the US, has its own set of wacky laws that have been circulated in group emails among friends and coworkers. But have you ever asked yourself how these laws came into being?

One thing about laws is that they provide insight into the era that is relevant to when and why they were written. For instance, over 300 years ago in Salem, Massachusetts, women suspected to be witches were subjected to a ‘floating test’ as proof of guilt and since witches were known to vehemently reject the act of baptism, it was believed the water would reject their body and they would float.

The same reasoning applies to some of the laws in the New Jersey Constitution. These edicts were passed at a time when society was more culturally conservative and religious than it is today. For example, It is illegal for car dealerships to open on Sundays as it is seen as the day of the Sabbath.

The New Jersey Law Review Commission has been tasked with rooting out some of these old laws from the books. Below is a fascinating list of wacky old and new laws from the state of New Jersey.

1. No poor people in New Jersey

According to this ordinance passed in 1941, it is illegal to bring a poor person into the state or move him from one county to another within the state without the permission of the county welfare board. Any person who disobeys this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and the aforementioned, poor person will be returned from whence he came in the manner provided by law.

2. Don’t sell cars on Sundays

According to Title 2C, Section 2C:33-26, It is prohibited for anyone who engages in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging motor vehicles to conduct such business on a Sunday. Anyone who goes against this law will be guilty of a misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 or imprisonment for a period of not more than 10 days or both.

When starting a business in New Jersey, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in New Jersey and how to find a great registered agent in New Jersey can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.

3. Liberating a fox is prohibited

Freeing a trapped fox in New Jersey will get you in trouble with the law. The offense is penalized by a fine of $150 for each transgression.

4. Don’t say ‘Hi’ to strangers

This absurd edict hails from the township of Haddon in Camden County. It’s not allowed to accost a person of the opposite sex and by word, sign or gesture attempts to speak to or to become acquainted with such person against his will, on a public street or other public place in the Township.

5. Cross-dressing is illegal

Still in the town of Haddon, no person is allowed to appear in any street or public place in a state of nudity or in a dress not belonging to his sex or in an indecent or lewd dress.

6. No shooting ranges in Blairstown

It is unlawful for any person to establish, maintain, operate or conduct a commercial shooting range within the township of Blairstown.

7. It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder

According to Title 2C Sect. 2C:39-13 of New Jersey Law, “A person is guilty of a crime if he uses or wears a body vest while engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit murder, manslaughter, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, kidnapping, criminal escape or assault.”

8. Don’t sell handcuffs to minors

Not sure why anyone would, but it is illegal to sell handcuffs to a person under 18 years of age. Anyone who does is guilty of a disorderly person’s offense. A law enforcement officer shall confiscate handcuffs sold in violation of the law.

Sources

Stupid Laws
Justia – Title 2C Section 2C:33-26
FindLaw – Title 44. Poor 44 § 4-79
Justia – Title 23 Section 23:4-57
Justia – Title 2C Section 2C:39-13
CaseText – Title 2C Section 2C:39-9.2

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