While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
If you're a responsible drinker, you no doubt are aware of the common sense rules about alcohol, such as not driving when drinking, as well as various laws that apply in your state. Most of these laws make sense and are well defined, such as the legal drinking age or the alcohol blood level limit. But did you know that in some states, archaic laws that were passed decades ago are still lurking in the probably dusty legal archives? Below are four states with some of the most unusual, and sometimes funny, liquor laws.
Bye Bye Prohibition?
Did you think Prohibition was over and done with? Well, it is, at least at the Federal level. Some states still have some crazy liquor laws that have their roots in that era.. Many laws have just been forgotten about, while others have been passed more recently.
Alabama – Prohibition Sundays
Alabama prohibits the buying of alcohol between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Sundays. Not all the counties agree on whether you can actually drink anything you bought the Saturday before. Some "dry" counties have cities within their boundaries that have voted to allow alcohol. Rather than call them "wet" cities, they sometimes call them "moist." The argument continues. In February of 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court passed a law stating that cities in dry counties could not go wet unless the population of the city was between 1,000 and 7,000 people.
Some parts of Alabama came up with another way to get around the dry laws. If you are a member of a private club that requires a membership fee and issues an actual membership card, then you are exempt from the Sunday restriction while at your club. Imbibe away.
Alaska – No Voting While Inebriated
At one time it was pretty common for bars not to serve alcohol and liquor stores to be closed on election days. Alaska is one state that kept part of that tradition by leaving liquor stores closed until the polls close. The no alcohol trend started because near the beginning of the 20th century, bars were polling centers. Back then, only the men voted, so no worry about the ladies entering the man caves. In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution changed all that. Polling stations soon found more "appropriate" venues to accommodate both men and women voters.
Wyoming – A Whole List of Crazy Liquor Laws
Wyoming might wear the silly liquor law crown. The following creative, head-scratching laws are still on the books. Though it's a bit of a stretch blaming these on Prohibition, the content dates them to the earlier part of the 20th century, or perhaps a bit older.
California – To Infuse or Not to Infuse
Up until 2013, when Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law permitting bartenders to add infusions to cocktails, the practice had been done illegally for decades. The law was forgotten about until in 2010, when state liquor authorities found the Prohibition era law that made altering alcohol a crime. An infusion alters the taste, and sometimes the alcohol content of liquor. It's funny how that law surfaced after flavored vodkas and brandies started getting popular.
California is one state that actually benefited from Prohibition. With all the backyard wineries springing up during the first five years of the alcohol ban, the demand for grapes skyrocketed. .Each household was allowed to make up to 200 gallons of wine each year for home use. But, they weren't legally allowed to sell it, serve it or give it away to others. Prohibition did not restrict the sale of sacramental wines to priests, ministers and Rabbis for church, temple or home use. Going to services became very popular.