We all know what is and isn't legal, right?
Breaking into someone's house — illegal. Selling prohibited drugs — illegal. Picking a daffodil from a public park — illegal.
Yep, chances are even the best behaved of us in Tasmania have broken one of the following lesser-known laws.
Snow man, you can't put that on your car
The Hobart tradition of building a snowman on your car bonnet to show off that you got to play in the white stuff might bring you more trouble than just scratched paint.
Snowmen on cars is not specifically written about in Tasmanian legislation, so the ABC asked Tasmania Police for some guidance.
It is an offence under the 297 Traffic (Road Rules) Regulations 1999 (Obscured View) if the snow prevents the driver form having full view of the road ahead.
So if the snow is blocking your view you could get into strife, though the force said it rarely issued infringement notices for this, preferring to give people a warning.
Stop to smell, but don't pick the flowers
If you've ever plucked a blossom or taken a twig from a public park, recreation area or other City of Hobart Council-owned natural space, you have broken a by-law.
In the Hobart City Council Parks, Recreation and Natural Areas by-laws, point five reads:
A person must not, by any act, wherever performed, cut, pluck, destroy or injure any tree, shrub, flower or other vegetation growing in a park, recreation ground, natural area or open space unless authorised to do so by permit.
Swearing in public can get you into $#%&
Ever used a curse word in a public space? If you have, you've broken the law.
In the Police Offences Act 1935, article 12 regarding prohibited language and behaviour states:
A person shall not, in any public place, or within the hearing of any person in that place:
- curse or swear;
- sing any profane or obscene song;
- use any profane, indecent, obscene, offensive or blasphemous language; or
- use any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour calculated to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the peace may be occasioned.
What is and is not considered offensive in public is always evolving, which makes this law a tricky one as the recent Danny Lim case showed.
The extra danger of a chimney fire
Not only is it dangerous to let your chimney catch fire, it is also illegal.
Chimneys on fire
1. A person, being the occupier of any building within any town, shall not fail to prevent any chimney in such building taking fire.
- (1a) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding one penalty unit.
2. It shall be a good defence to any complaint under this section to prove that such chimney has been swept within three months before the day on which such fire took place.
So get your chimney cleaned.
It might not just save your house, it could also save you being fined.
The finer points of lasers
It's an offence under Tasmanian law to possess, carry or use a laser pointer in a public place unless you have a lawful excuse to have one.
And if you do, you need to be careful where you point it, as the law states:
A person must not, without lawful excuse (proof of which lies on that person), by means of a laser pointer, intentionally or recklessly direct a laser beam at any person, animal or vehicle.
It is not clear if entertaining your kitty is considered a lawful excuse.
No rewards for stolen property
While offering a reward to help you find Fluffy is all good legally, offering a reward for the return of stolen property is not so clear cut.
Advertising reward for return of stolen property
A person shall not:
- publicly advertise a reward for the return of any property which has been stolen or lost, and in such advertisement use any words intimating or purporting that no questions will be asked;
- make use of any words in any public advertisement intimating or purporting that a reward will be given or paid for any such property as aforesaid, without seizing, or making any inquiry after the person producing, such property;
- promise or offer in any public advertisement to return to any pawnbroker or other person any money paid or advanced on any such property, or any other sum of money or reward for the return thereof; or
- print or publish any such advertisement as aforesaid.
Let's hope Fluffy wasn't stolen, as that could get messy.