Each country, state, and city has its own complex legal system, which means it's nearly impossible for everyone to remember each and every law they must follow.
Some laws are pretty obvious, while others are less so. Redditor u/Team_Emerald asked the subreddit r/AskReddit, “What's something that most people don't know is illegal?”
Other Redditors gave their answers to help you avoid breaking the law when it's not as straightforward as it seems.
1: Drinking Airport Booze on a Plane
u/dangereaux said, “Drinking your own alcohol on an airplane.”
This isn't because airlines want you to buy overpriced alcohol. According to u/dangeraux, a flight attendant, the flight crew monitors how much passengers are served so they don't get over-served. They aded that “drunk people are frequently a danger to [the flight crew]. We aren't allowed to let intoxicated people on board for this reason.”
If you drink your own booze on a plane in the United States, you could be viable to pay up to $40,000 in fines. So, skip the Duty Free unless you're stocking up for post-flight partying.
2: Hanging Things From Your Rearview Mirror
In some states, hanging anything from your review mirror or attaching anything to your windshield is actually illegal. “So the placement of your EZ-pass, air freshener or parking permit may be technically breaking the law,” wrote u/PmButtPics4ADrawing.
One Redditor said they even got pulled over for having their college campus parking permit hanging from their mirror — the place they're instructed to put the passes.
“You need your parking pass hung when you're parked, not when you're driving,” u/stickymaplesyrup explained. “You're supposed to take it down before you start driving again.”
This law applies in at least six U.S. states, including Minnesota, California, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, and Illinois.
u/glutenflaps responded, “Tailgating. Hell, even the cops do it. Following too close is the number one cause of accidents but is never enforced.”
I'm sure every one of us has gotten a little too close to the car driving ahead of us when we're in a rush, but next time, you might want to slow down.
4: Creating Fan Art, Even for No Financial Gain
The next time you want to make fan art, you should think twice — especially if you want to share it on the internet.
“Contrary to popular belief,” writes u/hypo-osmotic, “copyright infringement is still copyright infringement even if not done for financial gain. Most big copyright holders won’t go after random fan artists, though, both because the resources to do so aren’t worth the gain and because of the horrible PR that would generate.”
This is true! You're infringing on copyright laws any time you reproduce, distribute, perform, or publicly display a piece of copyrighted work without explicit permission.
5: Spitting on the Sidewalk
u/MoJoHusband said, “Where I live, it's illegal to spit on the sidewalk.”
“Surprisingly common although rarely enforced in the modern era,” replied u/turtley_different. “People used to take TB really seriously. We think anti-spitting ordinances might actually have been impactful.”
In fact, in the U.S., it's illegal to spit on any public property at all.
6: Driving Your Car in Reverse on Public Roads
According to one Redditor, you can't drive backwards on public roads in Arizona.
“I have personally seen someone reverse on the shoulder of the interstate because they missed their exit,” added u/OldFashnd. “Incredibly dumb.”
It isn't just illegal in Arizona. Driving in reverse on the roads is not permitted anywhere in the U.S.
7: Opening Your Spouse's Mail
Yes, even if you're married to them, you still can't legally open their mail. Sort of.
“It is a crime to open someone else’s mail with nefarious intent,” clarified u/Lemur-Tacos-768. “Opening someone else’s mail at their request, or doing so unintentionally and then giving it to them (in the case of a mis-delivered piece) is not a crime. Even opening a family member’s mail on their behalf, without nefarious intent, is fine.”
They added: “Chucking the Val-Pak with your spouse’s name on it in the recycle bin if you think that’s what they want, is not a crime. Opening grandma’s mail to steal her social security check is a felony.”
Remember, this one is only a crime if you have ill intent and the person is not okay with you opening their mail.
8: Driving Too Slow In The Left Lane
If you like to hang out in the left lane, you need to make sure you're at least keeping up with traffic. u/2Girls1Pet added that, “Even if you’re going above the speed limit and there’s a car behind you, you’re obstructing the flow. Move over.”
This law applies to 38 U.S. states, so slowpokes, move on over!
9: Blocking a Sidewalk
“Blocking a sidewalk,” said u/whitesquirrle. “This could mean with a car or plowing snow piles into it. At least in the States, it's illegal for ADA reasons.”
“In many municipalities in Canada, there are rules about how quickly you need to clear your sidewalk of snow after a snowfall,” added u/BlueberryPiano.
Many states have different laws when it comes to determining what exactly blocking the sidewalk means. However, the ADA is a federal institution that oversees every state.
10: Collecting Feathers From Native Birds
If you have a feather from a bald or golden eagle, you're breaking the law, according to one Redditor. u/Frosty-Shower-7601 shared, “Possessing bald or golden eagle feathers. Doesn't matter how you got them, or if it was lying on the ground and you just picked it up.”
But if you're collecting feathers from other birds, you should probably stop — it's not just eagle feathers that are illegal to pick up.
“Not just bald/golden eagle feathers but feathers from any native birds,” added u/redditmovington. “And that includes feathers found on your private land, even your own backyard.”
If you find a cool feather in your backyard, call your local Fish and Wildlife Services team to check it out.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.