Is it Illegal to Deny Someone Water in Arizona?


In Arizona, there is no statute that states it is illegal to refuse water to someone else in the state. This myth grew because of lack of formal information, and looking through the statutes, you won’t find any mention of the law.

Alia Rau, a reporter with the Arizona Republic, researched the topic and found it to be untrue. “According to the Arizona Legislative Council,” Rau said, “the staff of state attorneys charged with drafting legislation for state lawmakers and updating the state statute books, it could find no such state law in Arizona statute.”

In fact, even if someone was near death because of hydration, refusing to provide them with water would not be a criminal act (ethically, that is a different scenario). There are certain situations that may be considered criminal, however; ARS 36-2281 states that one may not “deny or deprive an infant of nourishment with the intent” of causing death, though that is an extreme and specific case.

This is one of several strange Arizona laws or myths that have been perpetrated by media and word-of-mouth rumors. There are, however, real Arizona laws that are strange and outdated.

Other Strange Arizona State Laws

Most people are familiar with common criminal offenses, such as robbery, DUI, or possession or drugs, but did you know you could face up to 25 years in prison for cutting down a cactus in Arizona? Most likely not, so, to enlighten you on other strange AZ laws you may be unfamiliar with, we have compiled the following list.

It is important to note that most of these are outdated and inapplicable, but amusing nonetheless.

  • “Hunting camels is prohibited.”
  • “Any misdemeanor committed while wearing a red mask is considered a felony.”
  • “Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs.”
  • “A class 2 misdemeanor occurs if one places a mark upon a flag which is ‘likely to provoke physical retaliation.’”
  • “It is illegal to manufacture imitation cocaine.”
  • “When being attacked by a criminal or burglar, you may only protect yourself with the same weapon that the other person possesses.”

Strange City Laws in Arizona

  • “Cards may not be played in the street with a Native American.” (Globe)
  • “If you bother the cottontails or bullfrogs, you will be fined.” (Hayden)
  • “No more than six girls may live in any house.” (Maricopa County)
  • “It is illegal to smoke cigarettes within 15 feet of a public place unless you have a Class 12 liqueur license.” (Mesa)
  • “A decree declares that anyone caught stealing soap must wash himself with it until it is all used up.” (Mohave County)
  • “An ordinance prohibits the wearing of suspenders.” (Nogales)
  • “No one is permitted to ride their horse up the stairs of the county court house.” (Prescott)
  • “It is illegal for men and women over the age of 18 to have less than one missing tooth visible when smiling.” (Tombstone)
  • “Women may not wear pants.” (Tucson)

Obviously, as mentioned before, a lot of these laws are outdated and did not account for social progression at the time. Most have managed to slip through the cracks and remain unchanged for years, with very few still holding a practical purpose.

Need Help with a Strange Criminal Case?

Though there are strange laws in our state, there are also times when people are arrested for breaking laws, no matter how outdated they are. If you’ve been charged with any crime, no matter how minor, our criminal attorneys can help provide you with a roadmap of options.

For a free case review with one of our talented criminal defense attorneys, we invite you to call our office at (480) 467-4370. We’ll offer more information about your charge and your potential paths moving forward.

At JacksonWhite, we understand how difficult a criminal charge – and conviction – can be, so we take every effort to help our clients move past charges with ease. We can help you next.


Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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