Could I Be Arrested for Shouting Profanities at the Police?

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Criminal Defense Attorneys Fighting for New Mexico Residents Charged with Cursing at Police Officers

Fully Armed Police OfficerYou are entitled to free speech through the First Amendment of the Constitution. Therefore, when you express your opinion, you are not committing a crime. However, as with all rules, there are exceptions. There are statutes in place that specifically prohibit speech that will insight violence. Officers cannot use that excuse to stop someone from expressing his or her opinion or exercising his or her right to free speech.

Starting a Riot or Violent Act is Not Permissible

If you were confronted by a police officer for being suspected of a crime, you have the right to share your opinions. However, if you start swearing at the officer and encouraging onlookers to join you against the officer, you could be arrested. Encouraging a crowd to protest or take violent actions against law enforcement could justify the officer’s arrest. After all, these are the same incidents that started the Los Angeles Riots. In this instance, you would be arrested for disorderly conduct.

Yelling at Police is Not Disorderly Conduct

There is a fine line between disorderly conduct and your freedom of speech. For example, if an officer accuses you of a crime and you choose to yell at that officer in public, the officer might arrest you, but it is likely that the courts would dismiss the disorderly conduct charge because you did not start a riot, encourage others, or act in a disorderly manner. Instead, you were sharing your opinion, regardless of how loud it is.

Even if you were to shout profanities, if you are not encouraging others to partake in violent acts and you are not a threat to the safety of the community, it is unlikely the court would allow a disorderly conduct charge to go through.

Think Twice Before Antagonizing

The line between unlawfulness and freedom of speech is extremely thin. Even if you know about your First Amendment rights, do not assume that you could get away with harassing police officers, shouting profanities, or encouraging others to engage in free speech with you.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer

After any confrontation with law enforcement, if you are arrested, it is in your best interest to contact a  New Mexico criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can explore your First Amendment rights and violations, and potentially help with the disorderly conduct charge.

Do not assume that because you have First Amendment rights, you could represent yourself in court. Instead, contact the Constitutional rights defense attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today by calling 505-375-4763 or requesting a consultation appointment through our online contact form.