Things ’80s Adults Did That Could Get Us in Jail Now

by Staff & Contributors on January 11, 2023

in Gaming

From the Rubik’s Cube to “The Breakfast Club” and beyond, the 1980s was a decade of excess and rebellion.

But what many 80s adults got away with could land people in jail now. From fanny packs to excessive hair spray, here are some things that ’80s adults did that could get us into serious trouble today.

Back in the ’80s, having a beer on the beach was considered totally normal behavior for adults. But now, drinking on a public beach is illegal in many states and can result in hefty fines or even jail time depending on the severity of the infraction.

Drug use was also much more accepted back then. While marijuana has seen an increase in legality since then, other drugs like cocaine and ecstasy are still off-limits and can result in severe consequences if caught. And there’s more.


Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving was a common practice in the 1980s. It was seen as an innocent, fun way to get around or socialize with friends—often without worrying about potential consequences. 

However, laws have changed significantly since then and any adult caught drinking and driving now could face serious jail time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in the United States, repeat drunk drivers are responsible for one-third of all fatal car crashes. This stark reality is why many states have adopted stricter laws to deter drinking and driving. 

The legal blood alcohol content limit has also been lowered from 0.10 percent in the 1980s to 0.08 percent today, making it easier for law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is intoxicated.

In addition, many states have also adopted harsher punishments for convicted drunk drivers. Imprisonment and large fines can be imposed on those caught driving under the influence (DUI). 

Some states may even require that convicted persons install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, which will prevent it from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content is above a certain threshold.


Marijuana Use

In the 1980s, marijuana use was much more socially acceptable than it is today. While there were still laws on the books that made it illegal to possess or consume marijuana, they weren’t enforced nearly as rigorously as they are now. In some places, possession of small amounts of marijuana wasn’t even considered a crime at all. 

Today, however, marijuana use and possession is considered much more serious, with many states having strict laws in place that can lead to lengthy prison sentences for those who are caught in violation. In the ’80s, adults could get away with using marijuana without too much concern about getting caught; today, however, it’s a different story entirely. 

Those who are found in possession of or consuming marijuana can face serious legal consequences, including incarceration. It’s clear that what was once socially acceptable behavior in the ’80s could now land someone in serious trouble.


Public Indecency/Nudity

Public indecency and/or nudity was another thing that adults of the ’80s would do without a second thought that could now land them behind bars. In the ’80s it was actually quite common to see people in public places like beaches or hot springs wearing very little clothing, if any at all. 

It wasn’t uncommon to see people sunbathing in bikinis or topless, and even some instances of nudity. In today’s society, this type of behavior is deemed inappropriate and could have serious legal ramifications if done without the consent of both parties involved.

It has become more socially unacceptable to engage in public indecency or nudity which has led to stricter laws and a higher chance of being arrested for such behavior. In some states, even the act of exposing one’s chest is considered a form of public indecency, and can result in hefty fines and possible jail time if convicted.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t just apply to adults – children are subject to the same laws, and can be arrested for indecent exposure as well. 

So if you’re considering a trip to the beach or hot springs with your kids, make sure that everyone is clothed appropriately and that no one does anything that could be deemed inappropriate.


Parking in “No Parking” Areas

In the 1980s, it was not uncommon to see people parking in areas that had signs that said “No Parking.” While it may have been convenient for many people to park in those places, today this could easily lead to an arrest and a hefty fine. 

Not only is it illegal to park in these areas, but if the area is designated as a fire lane or no parking zone, it could put lives at risk. In addition to this, parking in these areas often causes traffic congestion and can be a hazard for other drivers on the road.

Today, there are much more stringent laws in place that prevent people from parking in “No Parking” zones. In some cities, parking in these areas can result in a ticket, a tow, or even an arrest. People who park in these areas are often considered reckless and negligent drivers and can be punished accordingly.


Breaking Curfew Laws

Before the 1980s, most adults were subject to local laws and ordinances that set curfews. These laws stated that adults could not be out in public after a certain time at night, usually around 10 or 11 p.m., without facing possible criminal charges. 

This was especially true for people under the age of 21, since many states had laws prohibiting anyone under 21 from being out late at night.

But in the 1980s, many adults decided to break this law and stay out after curfew—something that would not be tolerated by today’s stricter laws. In some cases, adults were even arrested for staying out past their local curfew laws.

Today, staying out past curfew is still against the law in many parts of the world. In some places, such as Chicago, adults who violate the curfew risk a fine or even arrest. There are also other consequences for breaking curfew laws, such as having your car impounded or your driver’s license suspended.

Because of these stricter laws, it’s important for adults to remember that staying out past curfew can have serious consequences. If you do find yourself out after the designated time, it’s important to be aware of your local laws and take steps to stay safe and minimize any potential legal issues.



The 1980s was a time of cultural exploration and technological advancement. Despite this, many activities that were considered normal then could now get us in serious legal trouble. This includes listening to bootleg music tapes, driving without a seatbelt, smoking indoors, and more. 

With today’s stricter laws and regulations, it’s important for us to be aware of the consequences that could come from activities that seemed harmless back then.

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