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Texas Flag | © Beth Cortez-Neavel / Flickr
Texas Flag | © Beth Cortez-Neavel / Flickr
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11 Ways You’ll Get Arrested in Texas

Picture of Hannah Phillips
Updated: 19 June 2017
Hollywood stereotypes portray Texas as a land of outlaws and bandits. And while traveling to cities such as Dallas, Austin, and Houston will certainly change your perspective on the Lone Star State (not all Texans ride a horse), there are still some laws, many of which are outdated, that tourists may find fascinating.

No selling eyeballs

A Texas state law prohibits the sale of human organs, specifically listing the kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, eye, bone, skin, and any tissue—though it excludes hair, blood or any blood derivatives. So the next time you’re thinking of pawning your peepers for a new guitar, don’t.

It is illegal to sell eyes and other body parts in Texas
It is illegal to sell eyes and other body parts in Texas | Pixelgerm/Flickr

Loitering with the intent of flirting

A highly specific ordinance, one Abilene city law makes it illegal to loiter with the intention of “mashing” (a synonym for flirting) at the Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot. Some records even state that this law applies to any location within the corporate city limits.

It is illegal to loiter with the intent of flirting at a railroad depot in Abilene
It is illegal to loiter with the intent of flirting at a railroad depot in Abilene | Patrick Feller/Flickr

Cycling at unreasonable speeds

While many cities across Texas have worked in recent years to become bike-friendly, a Galveston law also puts limits on cyclists, calling for “reasonable speeds” on the roads. So the next time you head to the coast, slow down!

Cyclists must use “reasonable speeds” in Galveston
Cyclists must use “reasonable speeds” in Galveston | Todd Dwyer/Flickr

Rude gestures and public drinking

Galveston is home to more than one curiously precise law. To name just a few, offensive gestures, foul language, reckless driving, and unruly conduct are not allowed at public events; one must request permission from the director of parks and recreation before getting drunk in any city park; and it is illegal to throw trash from an airplane—or to land one on the beach.

Don’t land a plane on the beach in Galveston, Texas
Don’t land a plane on the beach in Galveston, Texas | Ed Schipul/Flickr

Selling Limburger cheese on Sundays

Not too far away in Houston, one law states that it is illegal to sell Limburger cheese on Sundays. If you have a hankering for this particular fromage, visit your local cheesemonger from Monday to Saturday, but thou shalt not buy stinky cheese on the Sabbath.

You can’t sell Limburger cheese in Houston on Sundays
You can’t sell Limburger cheese in Houston on Sundays | © PDPhotos / Pixabay

Farting in an elevator

And speaking of stinky—nearby Port Arthur outlaws “obnoxious odors in an elevator.” One can only speculate the horror stories that necessitated this decree.

Texting while driving

On a more practical note, many Texan cities such as Austin have enforced a hands-free ordinance while driving. You can’t dial, hang up a call, play a game, send texts, or enter an address if you are holding a mobile device while driving. You are allowed to dial or pick up your phone if your car is at a complete stop, or if dialing emergency services.

Austin city laws ban texting while driving
Austin city laws ban texting while driving | Lord Jim/Flickr

Don’t carry wire cutters in your pocket

Austin also has a law forbidding pedestrians to put wire cutters in pockets—because that was probably the way that you were thinking of carrying them. This law dates back to the “wild west,” when cowboys would cut barbed wire fences in order to herd cattle through private property.

Texas cowboys used to carry wire cutters in their pockets
Texas cowboys used to carry wire cutters in their pockets | Callum Campbell/Flickr

Bad news for the Encyclopedia Brittanica

The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for brewing beer at home.

Texas doesn’t ban brewing beer at home, just learning how to do so with the Encyclopedia Brittanica
Texas doesn’t ban brewing beer at home, just learning how to do so with the Encyclopedia Brittanica | Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Just three sips

Texas towns have more than a few odd regulations on beer. In Lefors, Texas, it is illegal to take more than three swallows of beer while standing. So sit down, relax, and drink slowly!

Milking a stranger’s cow

A Texas law bans milking another person’s cow. We’d love to believe the law either arose from a desperately decaffeinated citizen searching for milk for their coffee or from the need to protect your own cows from jealousy. Either way, the act is utterly out of the question.

Don’t milk a stranger’s cows in Texas
Don’t milk a stranger’s cows in Texas | Rockin'Rita/Flickr