Skip to main content

The United States is striped with highways and historic roads. As a result, any licensed driver can saddle up their ride and hit the open road coast to coast. It’s one of the freedoms we take for granted. Still, despite the beckoning arteries of pavement, there are laws from state to state that could land you in trouble. Here are some things to keep in mind when cruising your neighborhood in your SUV or hitting the road states away.

In addition to committing the obvious crimes, these faux pas can land you in handcuffs.

A driver reaches for a gun outside of a car safe in their glove compartment.
A Glock 17 prop handgun in a glove compartment | vasiliybudarin via iStock

Excessive speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) will earn you a trip to the slammer. However, you might overlook some of the things that will land you in serious trouble with the authorities.

  • Transporting a gun improperly or across state lines
  • Possessing marijuana in a state where recreational or medicinal use isn’t legal
  • Sleeping in the driver’s seat of your car after consuming alcohol

Your state might permit you to travel with a loaded firearm in your car. However, you could be committing a serious crime if you drive across state lines without modifying the state of your gun in your car. 

For instance, Kentucky drivers (who are not, for one reason or another, prohibited from gun possession) can drive with a loaded firearm. Specifically, Bluegrass travelers can drive with a loaded firearm outside of a car gun safe, as long as it is in their glove compartment or some other factory-installed, sans modification storage container.

However, driving across the state line into Ohio will turn that improperly stowed weapon into a broken law. Ohio requires a weapon to be unloaded and transported in a compartment that requires the operator to exit the vehicle, like a car gun safe in the trunk, per Giffords Law.

While some states have decriminalized marijuana use in certain contexts, driving with weed could be risky. What’s more, the amount of marijuana in your car could land you in trouble. For instance, Minnesota could charge a vehicle operator with a misdemeanor for just 1.1 grams of marijuana. 

Although it might seem like a viable option after consuming alcohol, sleeping in the driver’s seat of your car could result in an arrest. It’s a safety concern for law enforcement. They don’t know if you drove to your current location while intoxicated. As a result, law enforcement officers (LEOs) may place you under arrest if you’re in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, Giffords