The 8 Weirdest, Strangest and Stupidest Laws in New Mexico

New Mexico is popularly known as the ‘Land of Enchantment’. Any visitor to the state will be captivated by its architecture, scenery, culture, and cuisine. With its mix of European, Native American, and Mexican heritage, the state is truly a unique and colorful place to visit.

Another thing that visitors need to acquaint themselves with are the state’s laws. Some of these laws may sound a bit peculiar to a foreigner but they do serve a specific purpose in the particular jurisdiction in which they were enacted. For instance, it is illegal to spit on the steps of the opera house in Deming and idiots are, by law, not allowed to vote.

Below is a fascinating list of wacky laws from New Mexico that every visitor should heed.

1. Idiots can’t vote

According to New Mexico law, Anyone who is over the age of 21 years, has lived in New Mexico for 12 months, 90 days in the county, and 30 days in the voting precinct is eligible to vote at all elections for public officers. However an exception is made for idiots, insane persons, and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime.

2. Don’t hunt in cemeteries

In the city of Deming, human traffic in cemeteries must be limited to avenues, walkways and roads when practical. Riding a bicycle or hunting is expressly prohibited within the confines of the cemetery premises.

3. Don’t spit on the steps of the Opera house

Still in Deming, according to the city’s municipal code, “It is unlawful for any person to spit or expectorate on any of the public sidewalks or paths in the city, or on the floor or steps of a public building which includes but is not limited to stores, hotels, churches, the opera house, office rooms, and any other public building in the city.”

4. It is illegal to gamble on camel and ostrich racing

There have been efforts to decriminalize camel and ostrich races in the past but those bills were shut down by the state legislature. However, they recently decriminalized gambling on bicycle races.

5. Tripping a horse is a misdemeanor 

It is unlawful for any person to intentionally use a wire, pole, stick, rope or any other object to trip an equine for the purpose of sport or entertainment. Whoever commits the unlawful tripping of an equine is guilty of a misdemeanor. If the tripping results in the maiming or death of the animal, the crime becomes a 4th degree felony which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000.

6. Improper use of official anthems

It is illegal to sing, render or play “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “Oh Fair New Mexico” in any public place within the state except as an entire or separate composition or number. Anyone who goes against this edict is guilty of a petty misdemeanor which is punishable by a jail term of fewer than six months and/or a fine of up to $500.

7. Indecent waitering

New Mexico has a law against ‘indecent waitering’, which consists of a person knowingly and intentionally exposing his/her ‘intimate parts’ to public view while serving beverages or food in a licensed liquor establishment. Whoever commits this crime is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and the license of the owners of the premises in which the act occurred will have their license revoked. 

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

This law is from the city of Carlsbad where it’s considered a petty misdemeanor for any person other than a parent or legal guardian to offer or sell the aforementioned items to a person below the age of 18 years.


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