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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

When American Justice Goes Berserk: The 13 Most Ridiculous Federal Crimes You Won't Believe Are Real

Written by: Sam Orlando

STAUNTON, VA - Ah, the land of the free, home of the brave, and a treasure trove of the most bewildering laws you can find this side of the Milky Way. Seriously, if you ever find yourself at a cocktail party without a conversation starter, just dive into America's federal laws; they're a comic book of jurisprudence.

The Mysterious Teeth Bandit: Denture Transport is a No-No

Believe it or not, if you fancy yourself an amateur dentist and start making false teeth, make sure you don't ship them out of state. Because according to 18 USC 1821, you can end up behind bars for that. I'm not making this up; this law actually exists, tooth and nail—more tooth, less nail.

Maximum Sentence: A year to chew on it in jail.

The Unauthorized Woodsy Owl Fan Club: Smokey Says, 'Only You Can Get Sent to Jail!'

And then there's this: 18 USC 711 and 18 USC 711a make it a crime to use Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl for anything commercial without government permission. "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" or give a hoot, go to the slammer.

Maximum Sentence: Six months to ponder your poor woodland choices.

Pirates Need Love Too, But Don't You Dare

Ahoy there, matey! If you're caught providing a pirate with provisions under 18 USC 1657, you're sailing straight into a federal offense. I guess "Pirates of the Caribbean" needs a new legal advisor.

Maximum Sentence: Three years to perfect your pirate accent.

The Supreme Court's No Monkey Business Zone

If you ever feel like acting like Tarzan at the Supreme Court, 40 USC 6133 has something to say about that. Climbing trees there is a federal crime. Good luck explaining that to your lawyer.

Maximum Sentence: They'll leave you hanging.

One Dollar, One Jail Cell

Write a check for less than $1, and you'll be writing an apology letter to society. According to 18 USC 336, issuing a check for less than $1 can put you in cuffs.

Maximum Sentence: Six months to consider a more financially impressive crime.

Don't Mess With Our Lamps!

If you think the government doesn't care about the little things, think again. You can't even "injure" a government-owned lamp without facing repercussions under 40 U.S.C. §8103(b)(4).

Maximum Sentence: Six months in the dark.

Roller Derby in Yellowstone? Think Again!

Ever had the audacity to roller skate in an undesignated area of a national park? You reckless daredevil, you! 36 CRF 2.20 will roll you right into jail.

Maximum Sentence: Six months to contemplate your rebellious skating ways.

Turkey Ham and the Typeface Police

Mislabel your "Turkey Ham" under 9 CFR 381.171 d, and you could be gobbling up a year in jail. Because fonts matter, people!

Maximum Sentence: One year to redesign your label.

The Weather Prophet

Fake weather reports? A crime! 18 USC 2074 is on to you, you wannabe meteorologist.

Maximum Sentence: Three months to forecast your release date.

Rats Welcome, Conditions Apply

Importing African rats without permission from the CDC? A federal crime! Unless, of course, you stuff or salt them. I can't even make this stuff up.

Maximum Sentence: One year to develop a taste for salted rat.

Free-Range Pigs? Not on My Watch!

Let your pigs roam federal grass, and you're spending time in the hoosegow. Yes, 18 USC 1857 is protecting America's grass one pig at a time.

Maximum Sentence: One year behind bars, pondering pig freedom.

Are You in the 4-H Club? No? Don't Flash That Sign!

Flashing the 4-H sign without being part of the gang is punishable under 18 USC 707. Street cred is serious business, guys.

Maximum Sentence: Six months of going back to normal hand gestures.

The Explosive Case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Last but not least, taking a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on a plane can cost you a decade in prison and a whopping fine. After all, those phones literally exploded.

Maximum Sentence: 10 years and up to a $179,933 fine. Yikes!

Is it just me, or is it time to give our federal laws a little update? I mean, if this is justice, then I'm a teapot.

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