If you're out walking on a hot summer day, you might not think anything is unlawful about sitting on the sidewalk for a quick break, but actually, there is a Texas law that makes it possible for you to get fined in some parts of the state for doing just that. The law, first passed in Galveston, states that "It shall be unlawful for a person to stand or sit on a city sidewalk so as to impede, physically or by intimidation, free and uninterrupted pedestrian passage." This doesn't mean you completely banned from the sidewalk but it definitely could result in a heavy fine!
People who are caught breaking this law are subject to a fine of $500. The law is in effect from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. so there is a short window of time when you can sit on the sidewalk with no consequences. There are some exceptions to this law that might bring you some peace of mind. For starters, you can sit or lay down if you are having a medical emergency. You can also sit down if you are waiting for a parade, rally or demonstration.
Now some of us don't just have $500 laying around and if that's the case, you will have to do court-ordered community service. The law was made mainly to stop people in cities from sitting down and causing more foot traffic than there needs to be. It was also passed because of public health concerns and general safety.
This law applies to only sidewalks on public property which means that if you are on your own private sidewalk, you won't get fined for hanging out. This also means that you can sit on any chair or bench that has been provided by the city. You are entitled to a verbal warning before you get a fine, and be aware that the law extends to streets and alleys.
For more information on the law, you can check out the full code on the Galveston website here.