dcsimg
Prefer to talk to someone? Call a licensed agent: 1-855-289-9175
Car Insurance Quotes
Get Personalized Car Insurance Quotes
ZIP

Valid zip code required

AGE

Please enter valid age between 16-100.

CURRENTLY INSURED?

Please select your current insurer.

MARRIED?
HOME OWNER?
SERVED IN MILITARY?
Shop - Auto insurance comparison shopping made easy!
COMPARE COMPANIES
Get matched instantly with up to 20 insurers in your area. Shopping made easy.
COMPARE QUOTES
We suggest choosing at least 3 companies to find one that works best for you.
SAVE MONEY
Comparison shopping can save you hundreds of dollars or more.

Swearing at an officer

Last updated: Dec. 21, 2016

By , Insure.com

Person yelling in car

What would happen if you let loose a profanity-laden rant at the officer who just pulled you over? You likely just increased the probability of getting a ticket for the original offense, but due to the First Amendment, you typically won’t face jail time, even if your state has a law against profanity.

A handful of states have laws banning swearing, though most of these statutes are very old in origin. For instance, Mississippi has a profanity law dating back to 1848 that says if any person uses vulgar and indecent language in the presence of two or more people, he or she can be fined up to $100 or placed in jail for up to 30 days.

But even if your state has outdated laws on the books regarding profanity, your First Amendment rights protect your free speech -- even when the vulgar language is directed at an officer. A few years back, a North Carolina judge found its state’s profanity statute (from 1913) an unconstitutional violation of freedom of speech. Lawmakers there have since been trying to repeal it.

Word of warning: You could be ticketed in most states for disorderly conduct if you incite violence with your swearing. If you use abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place and incite a “breach of peace,” you can be cited for a misdemeanor in some states, such as Texas.

But if you can prove its part of your First Amendments rights, you may still get out of the ticket.  In June 2015 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled against an obstruction of justice case involving vulgar language. The case involved a 17-year-old who directed a slew of profanities at police officers and was cited for obstruction. The court noted that the “words may have been disrespectful, discourteous and annoying, but they are nonetheless constitutionally protected.”

Ready to get a quote?

Get quick and easy auto insurance quotes

Valid zip code required

Age?

Please select your Age.

x

Please select your current insurer.

Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No

Comments
Tell us your thoughts
0 Responses to "Swearing at an officer"

No Comments

What do you think? You can add a helpful comment to this page by filling out the form below.