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Probably everyone is a criminal, because no one knows what all of the laws are.

That's the point. The government can compel you as they please under threat of harsh criminal punishment. For example, did you know it's illegal to lie to an FBI agent? Think of how many things could easily be misconstrued as lies in a normal conversation. Introduce yourself to an FBI field agent as a "Jim" when your given name is actually "James"? You've just committed a crime punishable by up to a year in prison.


It has to be "knowingly and willfully", "in any matter within the jurisdiction" of the government. While this is much broader than most people might realize or expect, it probably doesn't extend to using a nickname in a conversation when the agent hasn't asked you your legal name as part of an investigation!

(But the breadth of this kind of rule is definitely a reason that people are discouraged from consenting to an interview with law enforcement without a lawyer present.)

That and there are laws that never go away, like not spitting on the sidewalk or not chewing gum on a Sunday.

Reply below is dead but is spot-on especially for Texas. I believe it's still illegal to wear socks or a tie on South Padre Island.

Sure enough, it is. Found the link[1]

[1] http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,139525,...

Some of these seem perfectly reasonable to me.

> HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. No roosters

Roosters are assholes and AFAIK they're banned in most non-agricultural zoning.

> JONESBORO, GA. No profanity in front of children under 14

A bit moralistic but I could see it happening in a smaller town where people might be more aligned on such things. And looks like the population of Jonesboro is sub-5k.

> JUPITER, FLA. No roadside billboards

I wish this was true everywhere.

> STATE OF TEXAS No walking in the streets if there is a sidewalk

Only complaint I have on this one is that it's cementing car culture worship.


I suspect others are probably over-reactions to single adverse events.

You're not required to know all the laws; but you can't just say "I did not know" when breaking one.

You're not required to know them, but you're presumed to know them.

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