Texas may be part of the United States, but it’s a land with rules of its own. The state is so vast, it’s nearly impossible to drive across the width in one day. Within that wide-open space of settled land, you’ll find some strange laws are still followed.
As a new visitor to Texas, you should probably be aware of a few of these enforceable laws. Some are topics for interesting conversation; knowing others could keep you out of jail.
Before you head to the Lone Star State, add these six state laws to your “must follow” list.
1. Be Cautious About Going Barefoot
Most of us wear shoes out in public anyway, but if you don’t, here’s your warning. In some cities, you’ll need a permit for that privilege.
According to the sanitation and appearance laws in certain places, a permit is required before you can go out sans footwear.
The good news is you can get a permit for five dollars. The bad news is that the fine for not having one can be up to $500!
2. You Have to Tell Your Victim Before Committing a Crime
Seriously. It’s only fair.
Before you commit any type of criminal activity in Texas, you have to give your intended victims at least a 24-hour notice. The warning can be in writing or orally, but it has to explain what crime you plan on committing against them.
You might think this is an old, outdated law, but it’s not. It was added to the anticrime provisions recently in order to try to reduce statewide crime.
It’s true that most criminals aren’t going to follow this law. However, it gives the perpetrator one more strike against them, and the courts have another means of adding to their sentence.
3. You Still Can’t Legally Have Marijuana
Over half the country has decriminalized marijuana, but Texas is not one of them. Cannabis users, beware! Even MMJ cards aren’t going to get you out of trouble if you’re caught with your weed here.
Texas laws aren’t entirely behind the times. They do agree that CBD oil can be used for medicinal purposes. All other THC-laced cannabis products are still criminalized across the state. And you must have a medical marijuana card if you’re using CBD oil with THC in it.
The laws and penalties vary depending on whether you’re possessing, selling, or cultivating cannabis. If you’re selling or giving your product to a minor, you can expect to have the book thrown at you.
4. You Might Accidentally Get Married
Watch what you say around Texans. You could end up in a common-law marriage without meaning to!
Under state law, a marriage is legally valid if both parties make a public announcement that they’re wed. Of course, nothing is ever true unless you say it in triplicate.
So, like Dorothy, Candyman, and Beetlejuice, you must state your marriage to your husband or wife out loud three times.
As long as you’re both at least 18, unmarried, and unrelated, your marriage becomes binding.
It’s easy to avoid stumbling into accidental matrimony if you’re sober. Under the influence, though, you can wake up married easier than you could if you were in Vegas.
5. You Don’t Need a License for That Gun
“Constitutional carry” is a hot topic of debate. In Texas, as of September 1, 2021, anyone over 21 years old who legally owns a gun can carry it in public. No license necessary, and no training required, either.
There are some provisions to the law, such as prohibiting permitless carry on school grounds and in federal buildings. In general, though, anyone who owns a gun and obtained it through legal processes can walk around with their firearm by their side.
Whether this makes you feel safe or a little nervous is up to you and your familiarity with guns.
Don’t bring your gun from out-of-state, though. The law only applies to residents of Texas.
6. If You Need Extra Money, Don’t Sell Your Organs
Texas Penal Code Section 48.02 makes it illegal to sell any organs that belonged to a human. You can sell your blood or hair, but your eyes, lungs, skin, and other organs are off the table.
Selling your own organs or buying someone else’s is a Class A misdemeanor. You could be fined up to $4,000 and spend a year in jail.
Between the fines, the jail time, and the pain of removing the body part, it’s not worth the black market going rates for any of your organs.
Really. It’s easy to make some extra cash working for DoorDash or Ubering instead.
Some of them are absurd; some are downright corny, but all of them are enforceable laws in Texas.
Ignorance isn’t an excuse. So before you head to the Lone Star State for your next trip, you might want to make sure there aren’t any other obscure laws you should know!