‘It’s illegal to accept a duel’: Wacky South Carolina laws that are still in place

State News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — You’re a law abiding citizen… as far as you know. But did you know about these wacky South Carolina laws that are still in place?

Those are fighting words

In Myrtle Beach it is illegal to use “fighting words” to try to get someone to fight you.

The law says you can’t direct “toward another person any lewd, obscene or profane or libelous expletive or epithets or ‘fighting’ words, which as a matter of common knowledge, when addressed to the ordinary citizen are inherently likely to provoke violent reactions.”

So, if you are thinking about cussing someone out, you might want to think of some other way to express yourself. It’s considered a misdemeanor and you can be taken to jail or issued a citation.

You promised to marry me

In South Carolina it is illegal to seduce someone by promising to marry them. It is treated as a class C misdemeanor and is punishable with up to a year in prison.

The law is listed as 16-15-50 Seduction under promise of marriage, and says, “A male over the age of sixteen years who by means of deception and promise of marriage seduces an unmarried woman in this State is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined at the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than one year.”

I challenge you to a duel

Within the palmetto state it is illegal to challenge or accept a duel. Those guilty of dueling face a misdemeanor charge and are barred from holding any state office.

The law is listed as 16-3-410 Sending or accepting challenge to fight, and says, “It is unlawful for a person to challenge another to fight with a sword, pistol, rapier, or any other deadly weapon or to accept a challenge.”

It goes on to say “a person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than two years. A person convicted under this section is deprived of the right of suffrage, and is disabled from holding any office of honor or trust in this State.”

The church bells are ringing

It’s considered unlawful to work on a Sunday. This one is a bit of a surprise considering most of us have had to work at least one Sunday shift.

The law is listed as 53-1-40. Unlawful to work on Sunday, and says, “On the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,  it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in worldly work, labor, business of his ordinary calling or the selling or offering to sell, publicly or privately or by telephone, at retail or at wholesale to the consumer any goods, wares or merchandise or to employ others to engage in work, labor, business or selling or offering to sell any goods, wares or merchandise, excepting work of necessity or charity.”

The penalty is anywhere from $50 to $250 for the first offense and $100 to $500 for each time after that.

Kick off those Sunday shoes

If it’s Sunday in South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a dance hall. You’ll have to keep your boogie shoes in the closet until Monday.

The law is listed as  52-13-10 Operation of Dance Hall on Sunday forbidden, and says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to keep open or admit persons to any public dancing hall owned or operated by him or to allow any person to continue thereat between the hours of twelve o’clock, midnight, Saturday and twelve o’clock, midnight, Sunday, and all such places shall be and remain closed to the public between such hours.”

If you break this law, you are looking at a fine of no less than $10 and no more than $50 for the first offense. Each time after that is no less than $50 and no more than $100 or 30 days in prison.

Honey, I’m home

If you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other, you should know you’ll be breaking the law. In South Carolina it is illegal to live with and be physically intimate with someone if you aren’t married.

The law is listed as 16-15-60 Adultery or fornication, and says “Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment.”

The punishment for breaking this law is a fine of no less than $100 and no more than $500, or imprisonment for no less than six months and no more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, “at the discretion of the court.”

New high score

Unless you are 18 years old, it is technically illegal to play pinball. Playing the game as a minor is considered a misdemeanor or felony.

The law labels it by saying “Status offense” means an offense which would not be a misdemeanor or felony if committed by an adult including, but not limited to, incorrigibility or beyond the control of parents, truancy, running away, playing or loitering in a billiard room, playing a pinball machine, or gaining admission to a theater by false identification.”

Tall tales or truth?

Many people claim it is completely legal to beat your wife on the steps of the courthouse as long as it is Sunday. However, there is no law that proves this. It is not legal to beat anyone in South Carolina… that is called assault.

People also claim it is illegal to keep your horse in a bathtub. This is also hard to prove, but you would think that one would be common sense.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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