Is It Illegal to Curse at a Police Officer in Arizona?
You're minding your own business, grooving to the tunes as you make your way down Interstate 10. You're feeling so good, you don't even realize you're going over the speed limit.
And that's when it happens. Lights appear in your rear-view mirror and that's when you realize you might have been speeding. Suddenly your heart rate increases. You feel sweat form on your brow, as you scan the side of the road for a safe place to pull over.
Oh, the Anxiety!
You try not to freak out, but now you feel anxious and tense.
How fast was I going? You try to remember. But wait. You were just keeping up with traffic. So why did this cop single YOU out?
He's probably just trying to fill his monthly ticket quota, and you're just his latest target. Anxiety is giving way to anger now, and the officer hasn't even gotten out of his vehicle.
He's making you wait, and the second tick on. Now you're beginning to get mad.
Where's the Thin Line?
Finally, the officer approaches the window. This may be the point where you're tempted to say something you'll regret.
Keep in mind, the officer who just pulled over is a human being doing a job. Your best bet in this situation is to keep your wits about you and be polite.
You might be wondering, though, what happens if I swear at this guy? If I lose my cool a little and let fly "The Eff Word", am I going to jail?
Is It Illegal to Swear at a Cop in Arizona?
The real question in this situation may be, is this Free Speech? While free speech is covered by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, logic dictates that while you're free to express yourself, you're not free from the consequences of your speech. The question becomes, where does free speech end and criminal conduct begin?
Technically, yes, you're allowed to swear at a police officer. You can even use a rude name to describe him or her. Legally, you're allowed.
When free speech crosses the line into territory where it's no longer protected speech is the moment you use your words to threaten another person.
This legal website states not everything is protected speech. For example:
Speech that incites violence in another or in a crowd is not protected. Those are considered “fighting words” and, as such, are not protected.
So, It's Cool - I Can Swear at a Cop?
Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you should. If you remain polite even under the stress of a traffic stop, there's a chance the officer may just ask you to slow down. There's always a chance you weren't speeding, but you've been pulled over because you've got a taillight out.
If you're lobbing epithets at the officer, flipping her off, or cursing and being rude, you're going to escalate things quickly, and any chance you had of NOT getting a ticket will quickly fade.
While it's not illegal to curse at a police officer, it's definitely NOT a good idea! Whether you curse at an officer of the law or at a private citizen, the consequences of your words could get you into more trouble than you bargained for!