Growing up, lots of us had parents who would tell us that driving with the cabin light on at night was illegal. In most places, it isn't. Those same parents then neglected to tell us about a whole bunch of stuff we might be into was technically the wrong side of legal.
Yeah, there are a lot of laws about sex so you're probably out here being a criminal not even knowing it.
One Reddit user asked
And it turns out it's much more than just the bedroom where there people are unknowingly breaking the law.
The Chinese Lady In The Chicken ShopChicken Omg GIF by reactionseditor Giphy
When I was a kid I thought it was normal that we could buy movies the day after they came out from the Chinese lady in the chicken shop. I didn't realize it was a crime until middle school when I told someone my grandma had Avatar on DVD and they said that was impossible since the movie was still in theaters. Chinese lady was a real professional she knew how to get a good video.
The Neighbor's Yard
Trespassing. As a kid (think 6, 7) my younger brother and I would go over into our neighbor's yard (he had a fantastic garden) and play quietly. He never said anything; he was a WWII vet and lived alone. I guess we amused him.
When he died, a new family moved into the house. We continued our ventures into the yard and the family must've found out, because we walked over one day to be met with a locked fence. Our days of playtime were over.
Apparently he lived alone because he had disowned his son for being gay, and once his wife died he stopped coming around. When he was dying my dad and mom visited him because no one else was. He was delirious and thought my dad was his son and started apologizing and saying he should've been a better dad.
The son in question never showed up to visit - but when he came to the neighborhood to look at the house, my dad told him what his father had said. He broke down sobbing.
I guess we were like the grandchildren he never had. Either way this whole story was more depressing than I thought so I'm going to grab some tissues.
I used to think the little olive kiosks in grocery stores were samples. I would always leave with a little produce bag of various olives and enjoy my treat on the ride home. I had odd tastes as a kid.
Until I saw the sign posted as I exited Yellowstone National Park, I was unaware that it's illegal to make elk noises at the elk!
I'd been riding around on my motorcycle making elk noises all week! They love it. They all look up and stare at you as you ride past.
Piracy As A Business Model
I once had this coworker that was always coming up with hair-brained business schemes. One day he comes in and start going on this rant about how he's going to become a millionaire.
He explains that he recently purchased like 10,000 SD cards from China, and he got a card reader for them. They cost like $0.50 each or something, and he's all like "But they can hold up to 10 GB of data each! That's enough for like four movies, and I can sell them for like $20 each!"
He goes on to talk about the incredible margins his new business is going to have, and how he just needs to earn back enough so he can afford to upgrade to a "multi card reader." Also, his big plan was to put this stuff on "my Myspace" and then mail the cards to people.
At this point I'm feeling bad for the guy since he's obviously already dumped $$$ into this, but figured it's better for him to lose that than land himself in prison. So I'm like, "dude, you realize that's illegal right? You're going to get FBI coming after you for movie piracy."
The look on his face, just like, completely defeated. Felt sorry for him, but seriously?
Is The Silverware Sanitary
As a teen living in the US, (Utah to be specific), and I was really questioning the sanitation of the utensils in the high school cafeteria. So I was carrying a multi-purpose tool with me that had a fork and a spoon on it.
However, I wasn't aware that it had a fully functional blade on it, 3 and 3/4 inches to be precise.
Do Not Touch The Artart glitch GIF by G1ft3d Giphy
Had a friend who liked to touch all the paintings in museums. She had been doing this her whole life, thought it was totally normal, and had just happened never to get caught. She did not believe me when I told her that you aren't allowed to.
We got kicked out of the museum.
Or rather, she got kicked out and I left with her. She walked down a row of paintings and dragged her hand across every one of them. A pretty pissed off looking guard asked her to "please leave."
No dramatic scene or anything, probably could have stayed if she'd explained that she really didn't know but she was pretty embarrassed by the whole thing so we just hustled out.
When I was younger because my mom wouldn't sign something or didn't have the time. It looked exactly the same too... By younger I mean 8.
Missed That Sign
Back when my ex was a barista at Starbucks I would drive her to work every day at 4AM and take a specific route.
Thought nothing of it and the route became muscle memory.
One day she asks me to pick her up early and I take the usual route. After I make a right turn on a red light (perfectly legal in the US) I suddenly get those dreaded lights behind me.
The police officer came up to my window and asked for my credentials. Fine...I thought. I considered myself a very competent driver up to this point and had never gotten into a crash or so much as a ticket.
She comes back and the conversation went something like this:
Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Me: (annoyed) no.
Officer: Do you realize that turn you made back there was illegal?
Me: Last time I checked it was legal to turn right on red, no?
Officer: Sure, but there's obviously a sign that says that you can't do it at that specific intersection.
Me: Impossible... I've been taking that turn every day for the past 6 months...
Sure enough after the officer gave me the "are you f***ing serious" look along with my ticket I drove back to the intersection and every traffic light had a "Do Not Turn On Red" sign on it.
I totally deserved that ticket lol...
Rail Yard Police
I make a lot of things out of wood and metal.
I didn't know how aggressive rail yards can be about their sh!t. A few times in my life I've found railroad spikes partially buried in pebbles up to ten feet away from the track, and I've taken those to make knives and jewelry with.
Turns out they do not like it when people take their rusted, busted junk that they leave to the elements.
Dude Just Wanted The Shady Spot
Fishing without a license.
Had a male Karen accost me over not having a fishing license a few months ago. I had no idea that was an actual thing or that it mattered for catch-and-release ponds.
He basically threatened to call the cops on my friends and I because we didn't have fishing licenses so we had to stop fishing and leave.
Keep in mind, this was a large catch-and-release pond with a nature center that you could rent poles from and buy that shitty green marshmallow bait. The dude just wanted the shady spot where you could catch bass to himself.
Boating and Entering
Back when I was in sixth grade my friend (who was older than me) and I went to a boat marina in the parking lot where all the boats were stored cause it was winter time . The boats would be covered by a white plastic seal material and we would unzip them and go inside peoples boats cabin.
I never knew it was illegal.
The Wrong Flashlight
Owning the wrong type of flashlight.
Around 25 years ago i was looking for a flashlight and found a good one at a store specializing in camping and hunting goods. Since it came with a mounting bracket the salesperson pointed out that (here in germany) attaching a flashlight to a firearm is illegal. I don't even own any firearms, so i didn't care much and put the light in my toolbox.
A few years later i found out that the actual wording of the law states that a "flashlight designed to be attached to a weapon" is an illegal item and just owning the light and the bracket can be considered a crime.
Trespassing. When I was a kid, literally the entire neighborhood was my playground. I was all up in EVERYBODIES yards. Frontyards, backyards. I would run around with my crazy imagination and fight all kinds of armies and monsters and dragons, aliens, zombies, demons. I would pick up any rock in anyones yard I thought looked cool and bring it back to my own collection. I climbed every tree around, ate from this one guys orange tree, and even made orange juice a few times. Played in all of the ditches, and climbed through all of the giant piles of tree clippings anytime someone trimmed a tree
But I also made friends with every kid around, and was invited into all of their houses to play video games. My childhood was wild.
Hitting The Highway
I grew up in a rural Appalachian area, We would ride our dirt bikes on the highway all the time. Usually just a few miles to the next dirt road - but it never occurred to us that a 13 yr old riding on the highway with no drivers license no insurance and no license plate was against the law. Not until the new state trooper assigned to the three counties started chasing us.
The sheriffs department only had one deputy and they just waved at us. As long as you weren't doing wheelies on the wrong side of the highway or something they didn't care.
As Far As Authorities Are Concerned
I used to catch mice in a little box in the shop I worked at and would release them outside. We had poison down and glue traps but never caught anything and I felt this was more humane (I would take them to a little park nearby)
It wasn't until a few months after doing this that a park warden told me they were vermin and it was illegal to catch and release that I realized. I checked and in the city I live in, yes it is considered illegal.
I also used to mod and paint Nerf guns so they resembled firearms for Cosplay purposes, they were non working and rendered safe props but painting them black is a no-no as far as the Metropolitan Police are concerned.
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