NewsKnow the Law


Know the Law – Silly Michigan Laws

Posted at 3:33 AM, Apr 01, 2017

Did you know that it, in Michigan, is illegal to sell a motor vehicle on a Sunday? Or that it’s illegal to be drunk on a train?

These are just some of the outdated laws that are still on the books in Michigan. Some other silly laws are:
• Adultery is illegal, and the person can be punished only if a complaint is filed by the spouse.
• In Grand Haven: “No person shall throw an abandoned hoop skirt into any street or on any sidewalk, under a penalty of a $5 fine for each offense.”
• In Detroit: You are not allowed to “willfully destroy” a radio and husbands may not scowl at their wives on Sunday.

One outdated Michigan law that was in the spotlight in 2002 involved the “cussing canoeist” – a man who used vulgar language in front of women in children after falling out of a canoe in northern Michigan. The man was convicted of a misdemeanor. The law was eventually repealed.

Also removed from the books in recent years was a law that made it a misdemeanor to promote, conduct or participate in “endurance contests” – a/k/a “walkathons” – and various statutes dealing with crimes related to “dueling.”

It is important to note that law enforcement agencies typically do not enforce outdated laws even though they’re technically valid, because it simply does not make sense to do so.

Meanwhile, in recent years the Michigan Legislature has been making strides to get rid of any outdated laws, particularly criminal ones. But it is a difficult task, given that lawmakers typically have a more important legislative agenda.