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I Just Yelled at a Cop: Did I Break the Law?

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The right to free speech is protected by the United States Constitution. This important protection shields U.S. citizens from government prosecution for expressing opinions. But does this constitutional protection apply to a heated argument with a police officer?

After all, police officers are government employees. Some people may interpret this as a blanket protection, giving them free reign to lose their temper with a cop and experience no consequences. While it is true that it is illegal for the government to prosecute someone for expressing their opinion, things can get complicated in the midst of an argument with a cop. I Just Yelled at a Cop Did I Break the Law

How Free is Free Speech?

The First Amendment of the Constitution may be one of the most widely misunderstood pieces of legislation in the country. Some people may believe that this amendment means that no one can face consequences for the things that they say.

All this amendment really does is protect unreasonable intrusions into personal freedoms regarding speech and opinions.

For example, if someone expressions an unfavorable opinion of the president, that person can’t face legal consequences for voicing their opinion. However, if someone encourages people to take up arms and violently overthrow the presidency, they may be arrested and prosecuted.

Some of these same principles can apply if someone loses their temper with a law enforcement officer.

Will I Be Arrested for Arguing with a Cop?

There is no criminal charge on the books in any jurisdiction called “Arguing with A Cop.” This means that is not necessarily illegal to angrily disagree with a police officer.

For example, if someone is pulled over for speeding and begins shouting at the officer while being issued a citation, the person can’t be arrested for being angry. However, if the officer feels threatened or that the situation is getting out of hand, the officer may be able to detain or arrest the person for disorderly conduct or resisting arrest.

There is no guarantee that those charges will hold up in a court of law but the arrested individual may end up in jail for the night.

Things to Consider

It’s impossible to say for sure what will happen to a person that loses their temper with a police officer but it’s almost certainly not going to help their case. An officer might believe that an antagonistic attitude provides a reasonable suspicion that a person has something to hide. This can allow the officer to detain the person and search their clothes or their vehicle.

In other words, getting angry with a police officer may not be an illegal act by itself but making threats or inciting violence can be a criminal offense. It’s all in how you say it.

Losing your temper with a police officer can indirectly get you in a lot of trouble. After yelling at a cop and getting arrested, it’s important that you speak with a qualified legal expert who can help you evaluate your case. Call Brett A. Podolsky today at 713.227.0087.

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