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    Speak Up! - View Question #377

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    Question: What kind of punishment could you get for talking really bad to a cop?

    Answer: Remember that a U.S. citizen has the right of free speech, though there are limits to that freedom. Some speech is criminal. If the words used are a criminal violation, then one can be punished under Arizona criminal law.

    Speech directed at a police officer may violate the law in 2 ways.

    One is that it could be 'disorderly conduct', which is speech that is very offensive or is designed to make someone mad enough to attack you physically.

    The other is that the speech could constitute 'threatening and intimidating'. At present, both offenses are misdemeanors.

    In adult court, the maximum penalty is 6 months in jail plus up to $2500 in fines. A person could also be placed on probation for such conduct.

    In juvenile court, the options are broader. The judge can place the minor on probation in the custody of a parent, guardian, or person of reputable character. The judge's other option is to send the child to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (prison). The probation or imprisonment can be of any length the judge chooses, except that it can't go beyond the minor's 18th birthday.

    Read the actual Arizona Law:

    A.R.S. 8-341 Juvenile dispositions

    A.R.S. 13-1202 Threatening and Intimidating

    A.R.S. 13-2904 Disorderly conduct

    1 thru 1 of 1 comments    [ 1 ]   
    On 05/09/02
    Prof. Frank from NY said:
    I must speak out and object to your answer. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the 1970s that using the f-word in discourse with a police officer and flipping off a police officer were speech protected by the first amendment. As long as you don't threaten to kill or hurt a cop, he really can't do a thing to you. State laws do not trump the First Amendment.

    Editor's Note:
    Although the US Constitution ensures freedom of speech with the First Amendment, there are nonetheless Arizona laws which prohibit disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidation. This is a b
    1 thru 1 of 1 comments    [ 1 ]   

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