Can You Be Arrested for Swearing at a Police Officer During a Traffic Stop?

Posted on : May 7, 2017
Atlanta Traffic Ticket Lawyer

You’re driving to a destination when suddenly, you see blue lights in your rearview mirror. You pull over and the police officer seems to have an attitude, which upsets you. Or, perhaps you’re having a bad day and getting pulled over is the last straw. Either way, you swear at the officer during the interaction? Can you be arrested for it?

Technically, No

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects free speech. You cannot be arrested or charged based on what you say alone, except in instances of criminal threats. This includes swearing. If you’re pulled over and ticketed for speeding and swear at the officer, the officer cannot make an arrest simply for what you say.

When Swearing Gets You Arrested

While officers cannot arrest you just for swearing at them, swearing at them will naturally provoke and aggravate them. If you’re in your vehicle, the officer may decide it’s appropriate to begin investigating if you’re driving while intoxicated. Failed field sobriety tests, although not accurate, can lead to a DUI arrest.

If you swear at the officer while being arrested, the officer may also charge you with resisting arrest. So swearing at an officer itself is not a crime, however, it can lead to an arrest by provoking an officer to act in a way they might not have if you had simply kept a level head and responded to the officer appropriately.

How to Act When Being Pulled Over

Knowing how to act when you’re pulled over or what to say can be challenging when adrenaline is running high. However, remaining as cool and collected as possible and being respectful to the police officer — even if they are being disrespectful to you — can help avoid escalating the situation.

If you receive a traffic ticket from the stop, your best option is to fight it. The Kimbrel Law Firm works specifically with individuals who are facing traffic tickets that would mar their driving record, cause their insurance rates to rise, or even cause them to lose their license. We can help you defend yourself against a traffic ticket using the wide variety of resources and skills that we’ve come to obtain over the years.

Contact us for a consultation to discuss your ticket and if you were arrested, we can help. Call now at 770-349-9219.