Can You Go To Jail For Cussing Out A Texas Cop?
Chances are you've been in at least one situation in which you felt like a police officer here in Texas was wrong for stopping you in traffic or asking you questions. When you're already stressed out on top of feeling you've been treated unfairly, it might be tempting to rattle off some dirty words or tell them to kiss your @$$, right?
It's not the most courteous or mature way to response, but is it illegal?
CAN AN F-YOU LAND YOU IN JAIL?
Even though we keep this bottled-up rage in us to avoid any confrontation with law enforcement, the real question is, if an officer pisses me off enough, could I curse them out without going to jail? I’m not suggesting anyone just go around flipping off officers and giving them the business, but if the feeling takes over and you do rip into a police officer, are you going to be arrested.
WELL, THAT DEPENDS
The First Amendment protects your right to free speech, but as we've all heard countless people chant in recent years, it doesn't protect you from the consequences of that speech.
I found an interesting Ask a Cop article from Port Arthur News. According to this, officers in Texas are supposed to keep a thick skin and not let bad language get to them. So, if it's just you and Officer Smith on the side of the road, he's not obligated to site you for it.
However, things get tricky when there are other people around. Texas has a disorderly conduct by language law, under which you can be punished if you use profane language that might "incite an immediate breach of the peace".
It should be obvious that threatening an officer in any way is a bad idea, but if you're heard using language that seems like it's meant to provoke a physical fight with other people, an officer can totally bust you for disorderly conduct. In some cases, any profane language directed at a cop that seems to be meant to provoke a riot or another situation that could get that officer hurt could also get you busted.
If you're lucky, you'll get the standard misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $500. If you use your potty mouth in certain towns with specific laws against doing so in public, you could stack more charges on top of that. If you do manage to cause a riot, things could get much, much worse.
WHAT ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
Like I said, you have the First Amendment right to speak your mind. So yes, you can cuss an officer out, but keep in mind that’s still law enforcement, and if they feel threatened, they will act on it. I wouldn’t suggest just dropping F-bombs to every officer you meet, but the reality of it is it’s your right. Just make sure to plead the Fifth if things escalate and you're arrested for it.
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