·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Weird Crimes

The 7 Weirdest Laws in Arizona

— September 9, 2020

Designated as the state wildflower of Arizona, the Saguaro cactus is one of Arizona’s most iconic plants. Digging one up can land you in trouble with the law!

Laws are intricately created systems of rules, in which a community recognizes as the regulating actions for its people. It’s common for a law to be enacted due to a particular wild event that took place. 

That’s why as we take a closer look at the laws in Arizona, we can find a set of absolutely weird and absurd laws that’ll get you to ask why on earth have they been enacted.

Not all of these laws are part of Arizona’s Revised Statutes today, meaning breaking some of these laws won’t exactly get you in trouble. But it’s certainly interesting to ponder how people have been punished in the past because of these truly unusual laws:

Donkeys Cannot Sleep in Bathtubs

The story goes that a ranch owner in Kingman owned a donkey who loved sleeping in an old, abandoned bath tub on the property. Time went and a local water dam broke and flooded the town. The donkey, still napping in his bathtub, got washed away for a mile down the road and landed in a basin.

The local community ended up spending a small fortune to rescue the animal and -as you can imagine- weren’t very happy about it. So they petitioned to pass this absurd law.

It’s Illegal to Dig Up and Move a Saguaro Cactus

Designated as the state wildflower of Arizona, the Saguaro cactus is one of Arizona’s most iconic plants. 

In the old days, some local vandals developed a habit of shooting and cutting down these cactuses for sport. Arizonians stood together and passed a law that punishes offenders with monetary fines and up to 25 years in prison.

Suffice to say that this law helped protect this endangered plant ever since.

Flags are Not to Be Meddled With

In Arizona, it is forbidden to use the U.S. or Arizona state flag in any publicity, advertising, or trade. 

According to Arizona revised statute 13-3703, a person shall not place any marks on a flag in public view. The law also prohibits mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling the U.S. or Arizona state flags.

Violators are punished with a class II misdemeanor. 

“Stupid Motorist Law”

To deter risky driving behavior, Arizona’s legislature has passed a law dubbed the “Stupid Motorist Law” (§28-91) in 1995.

Image courtesy of

The law states that any motor vehicle driver that drives on a road covered by a rise in water level and bypasses police barricades is liable for all the emergency rescue expenses incurred.

I don’t know the story behind this law but it’s safe to say that an extraordinary set of events has led to its passing.

It is Illegal to Rig Crane Games

You know those big crane games I’m sure you’ve seen around in arcades and movie theaters? 

Where you’d control a giant claw to try and grab a prize from the game?

Well after some interesting circumstances, the state of Arizona passed a law that reads, “It’s unlawful for a person to knowingly alter or maintain a crane game so that the claw is physically incapable of grabbing exposed prizes. (§13-3312)

We all know those games are extremely hard to win, but at least you can rest assured that they won’t be rigged in Arizona! 

It’s Illegal to Take a Game Bird, Game Mammal, or Game Fish and Knowingly Permit an Edible Portion to Go to Waste

Hunting enthusiasts, listen up, this is for you.

When it comes to hunting, Arizona follows strict rules for sustainability. So there is a law (§17-309) that states, “It’s illegal to take a game bird, game mammal, or game fish and knowingly permit an edible portion to go to waste.”

Anyone Over the Age of 18 Does Not Have to Use a Helmet When Riding a Motorcycle

Arizona sure has some strange motorcycle helmet laws.

In the state of Arizona, wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle isn’t required if you’re over the age of 18. However there are some other requirements. All motorcycle riders must wear appropriate eye protection in the form of goggles, protective glasses or have a windshield.

A revision of the state law is currently being discussed by the Arizona House of Representatives.

Join the conversation!