Strangest laws in South Carolina

The current Constitution of the ‘Palmetto’ State came into effect on December 4, 1895 and was revised in 1968. Before then, there were six other constitutions that were adopted in 1669, 1776, 1778, 1790, 1865, and 1868.

Over the years, a lot of serious laws have passed through the state’s Legislature, however, there are a couple of peculiar laws that, despite efforts by lawmakers to repeal, still hold out in the state’s law books. For example, a law prohibits railroad companies from scaring horses and another one makes it illegal for people to leave large amounts of trash in their own vehicles.

Let’s have a look at these crazy South Carolina laws that most residents may be breaking on a weekly or nightly basis – though without any actual consequences.

1. Railroad companies must not scare horses

According to Title 58, chapter 17, section 58-17-3360 of the state law, electric hand lanterns shall be used in switching and moving trains. Also, the removal of hand or lever cars from the track and leaving it near a crossing shall be unlawful. Any railroad company shall be liable for damages for any horse frightened as a result of the violation of the provisions of this section by any of its employees.

2. Crystal gazers need a special license from the state

It is illegal for any person to engage in the business of fortune-telling in any of the counties of this State, by traveling from place to place, without first obtaining from the clerk of the court of the county in which he wishes to follow his trade, a license permitting him to do so. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imposing a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for not more than thirty days for each and every offense.

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

3. Dance halls must be closed on Sundays

This is considered a ‘blue law’, a law designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious or secular reasons. It states that “It shall be unlawful for any person to keep open or admit persons to any public dancing hall owned or operated by him or to allow any person to continue thereat between the hours of twelve o’clock, midnight, Saturday and twelve o’clock, midnight, Sunday, and all such places shall be and remain closed to the public between such hours.” 

The violation of this law shall subject the offender to a fine of between $50-$100 or imprisonment for 30 days.

4. Don’t leave trash in your car

In the town of Hilton Head, it’s illegal for anyone to accumulate any garbage, rubbish, or trash in any building, vehicle, and surrounding areas in the town in such a way that it may attract rats or other vermin.

5. The legal drinking age in Furman University is 60

Furman University in Greenville has never allowed anyone to imbibe within the campus grounds. However, a real estate developer recently built condos for senior citizens within the campus and the university administration had to review the drinking laws. Anyone who is 60 years or older can enjoy a drink without worrying about the campus police interrupting their good time.

6. You need a permit to fire a missile

State law defines a missile as “Any object or substance hurled through the air by the use of gunpowder or any other explosive substance whether purchased by the individual or compounded from chemicals.”

Before firing a missile, you must obtain a permit from the Aeronautics Division of the Department of Commerce. Anyone violating this law shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined not more than $100 or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, at the discretion of the court.

7. If you promise to marry a woman, the law requires you to hold to your promise

Chapter 15, section 16-15-50 of South Carolina law states that “A male over the age of sixteen years who by means of deception and promise of marriage seduces an unmarried woman in this state is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined at the discretion of the court or imprisoned for not more than one year.”

8. Bitches in heat must be confined

In the city of Clemson, in the counties of Pickens and Anderson, it is the duty of the owner, or any person having control, of any bitch to securely confine the dog and keep it concealed from view while the dog is in heat. A police officer is obliged by law to impound the animal should he/she come across it while out in the streets.

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