Weird South Carolina Laws and Statutes Past and Present

Ever wonder what crazy laws have been on the South Carolina law books over the years?
We thought we could lighten things up by providing you with some very unique and even off the wall South Carolina laws in our storied history.

Disclaimer:  These were or are actual state laws!!!!

Summary:  A person must be eighteen years old to play a pinball machine.

  • SECTION 63-19-2430. Playing pinball machines.
  • It is unlawful for a minor under the age of eighteen to play a pinball machine.

Summary:  By law, if a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, the marriage must take place. 

  • Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses
    CHAPTER 15.
    OFFENSES AGAINST MORALITY AND DECENCY
    ARTICLE 1.
    MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES
  • SECTION 16-15-50. Seduction under promise of marriage.
  • 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 not more than one year. There must not be a conviction under this section on the uncorroborated testimony of the woman upon whom the seduction is charged, and no conviction if at trial it is proved that the woman was at the time of the alleged offense lewd and unchaste. If the defendant in any action brought under this section contracts marriage with the woman, either before or after the conviction, further proceedings of this section are stayed.

Summary:  Railroad companies may be held liable in some instances for scaring horses.

  • Title 58 – Public Utilities, Services and Carriers
    CHAPTER 17.
    THE GENERAL RAILROAD LAW
    ARTICLE 27.
    SAFETY; NOTICE OF ACCIDENTS
  • SECTION 58-17-3360. Electric hand lanterns shall be used in switching and moving trains.
  • All railroad carriers shall equip trainmen in their employ engaged in switching and train movements in intrastate commerce in this State with electric hand lanterns, of a type approved by the Public Service Commission, containing at least one extra bulb capable of being immediately lighted in case of failure of the main bulb. The use by any railroad carrier of oil lanterns in connection with such movements is hereby prohibited. Any railroad carrier violating any of the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars and each day during which any flagrant violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
  • SECTION 58-17-3400. Removal of hand or lever cars from track and leaving it near crossing shall be unlawful.
  • It shall be unlawful for any railroad section master or any person in charge of or connected with any hand car or lever car to remove it from any railroad track and continue it stationary within fifty yards of any public crossing other than at any regular railroad section house except when necessary to avoid an approaching train or when in charge of employees engaged in actual work upon such crossing, and then only for such a period as is necessary to avoid such train or to perform such work. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not exceeding fifty dollars or be imprisoned not exceeding thirty days. 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.

Summary:  A permit must be obtained to fire a missile. 

  • Title 23 – Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  • CHAPTER 33 – MISSILES
  • SECTION 23-33-10. “Missile” defined. A “missile,” as contemplated by this chapter, shall be defined 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.
  • SECTION 23-33-20. Permit required for firing missile. Before any person shall fire or attempt to fire or discharge any missile within the borders of this State, he shall first procure a written permit from the Aeronautics Division of the Department of Commerce on such form as it may prescribe.
  • SECTION 23-33-30. Exemptions from application of chapter. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the firing or discharge of missiles by any agency of the Federal or State government, to small firearms or to fireworks now authorized by law.
  • SECTION 23-33-40. Penalties. Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined not more than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days or both, in the discretion of the court.
  • Summary:  It is illegal to give or receive oral sex in South Carolina.
  • That one is self explanatory.

Summary:  Fortune tellers are required to obtain a special permit from the state. 

  • Title 40 – Professions and Occupations
    CHAPTER 41.
    PEDDLERS AND HAWKERS, HORSE TRADERS AND FORTUNETELLERS
    ARTICLE 5.
  • FORTUNE TELLERS SECTION 40-41-310. Licenses required for itinerant fortunetellers.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to follow the business of fortunetelling 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 so do. Such license shall be issued by the clerks of court of the counties of this State to any person applying for it upon payment by the applicant of the sum of one hundred dollars. The license shall specify the name of the applicant and his former residence and shall be for a period of one year from the issuance thereof. But this section shall not be effective in any county until the county board of commissioners of such county authorize, by resolution, the collection of such tax. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days for each and every offense.

Summary:  Dance halls may not operate on Sundays. 

  • 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 the provisions of this section shall subject the offender to a fine of not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars for the first offense and for the second offense not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars or imprisonment for thirty days.
  • SECTION 52-13-10. Operation on Sunday forbidden.
  • Title 52 – Amusements and Athletic Contests
    CHAPTER 13 – DANCE HALLS
  • SECTION 52-13-20. Location near churches and cemeteries forbidden.
  • It shall be unlawful to operate or maintain outside the limits of any incorporated town or city within the State a dance hall within one fourth of a mile of a rural church with an active congregation or a rural cemetery that is either maintained as a cemetery or has been used for the burial of the dead within five years previous to the operation or maintenance of such dance hall. Every operation or maintenance of a dance hall within a period of twenty-four hours shall be considered a separate and distinct offense if in violation of this section.
  • SECTION 52-13-30. Counties not included in provisions of SECTION 52-13-20.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of SECTION 52-13-20, in Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Darlington, Florence, Georgetown, Jasper, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Sumter Counties the governing body of the county may, in its discretion, grant and revoke licenses for the operation and maintenance of dance halls at any location within the county outside the limits of any incorporated town or city and fix license fees for such businesses not to exceed ten dollars per annum for each such business. It shall be unlawful to operate or maintain outside the limits of any incorporated town or city within any such county a dance hall without first procuring the issuance of such license from the governing body of the county.
  • SECTION 52-13-40. Violations.
  • Any violation of the provisions of this article other than SECTION 52-13-10 shall be punishable for the first offense by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars nor less than twenty-five dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days and for a subsequent offense by a fine of not less than seventy-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not less than twenty-five days nor more than thirty days.

Summary:  Musical instruments may not be sold on Sunday.

  • Title 53 – Sundays, Holidays and Other Special Days
    CHAPTER 1.
    SECTION 53-1-60. Sale of certain items on Sunday prohibited.
  • The sale or offer to sell the following items on Sunday is prohibited: Clothing and clothing accessories (except those which qualify as swimwear, novelties, souvenirs, hosiery, or undergarments); housewares, china, glassware, and kitchenware; home, business and office furnishings, and appliances; tools, paints, hardware, building supplies, and lumber; jewelry, silverware, watches, clocks, luggage, musical instruments, recorders, recordings, radios, television sets, phonographs, record players or so-called hi-fi or stereo sets, or equipment; sporting goods (except when sold on premises where sporting events and recreational facilities are permitted); yard or piece goods; automobiles, trucks, and trailers. No inference shall arise from the foregoing enumeration that either the sale or the offering for sale on Sunday of items or articles not mentioned is permitted.

Two Charleston City Laws:

  • The Fire Department may blow up your house.
  • It is against the law to drive a motorized vehicle on King Street.
True South Carolina Laws:
  • Horses may not be kept in bathtubs.
  • It is a capital offense to inadvertently kill someone while attempting suicide.
  • All schools must prepare a suitable program for Francis Willard Day.
  • It is perfectly legal to beat your wife on the court house steps on Sundays.
  • When approaching a four way or blind intersection in a non-horse driven vehicle you must stop 100 ft from the intersection and discharge a firearm into the air to warn horse traffic.
  • You can be fined for not denouncing “the evils of intemperance” on the fourth Friday of every October.
  • It is considered an offense to get a tattoo.
  • It is illegal to communicate with a woman using obscene messages.
  • Fountain Inn, SC: Horses are to wear pants at all times.

Be warned, some of these are still enforceable.

When you step into the polling booth, know what your candidates stand for, especially if you have a pet horse.

 

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