Is it Illegal to Insult a Cop?

If a person insults a police officer, can they be cited, detained, arrested, or charged with a crime? Continue reading to find out what might happen after insulting a cop to their face in Indiana.

Indianapolis Disorderly Conduct Attorney 317-636-7514
Indianapolis Disorderly Conduct Attorney 317-636-7514

What Happens After Insulting a Police Officer

Would you dare insult a cop? Flip them off, call them pigs, or even scold obscenities that can be construed as threats of violence? Well, we hope you would not, because it can in fact get you in trouble, depending on certain factors, and of course, how thick skinned or tolerant the cops are. So, although it is not technically illegal to insult a cop, there are some circumstances in which certain kinds of insulting remarks or behaviors can land a person in court.

The Middle Finger

The middle finger has been a long-known pejorative gesture that is meant to imply insult. By flipping the bird to a police officer, you are not breaking the law. You are, however, putting yourself in the spotlight. Cops might decide that your vulgar attitude and bold behavior are indicative of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, suspicious behavior, or something else they can stop you and question you about.

Slurs and Name Calling

Calling a cop a name, such as pig, rent-a-cop, or curse word, or ridiculing their authority, is also not considered criminal activity worthy of an arrest and conviction. In fact, there have been several instances in which local and state laws have been struck down in court; laws that allowed cops to arrest someone for “verbally challenging” them with insults just like these. However, insulting a cop with vulgar name calling or deriding their authority can provoke them, and lead to you being stopped and questioned. Although it might not end in an arrest, it will take a lot of time out of your day, and being in the hot seat is very uncomfortable. Furthermore, if you are combative or uncooperative, the cops can arrest you for disorderly conduct. So, be careful starting a fight with a cop because they almost always win, at least until court.

Fighting Words

As for more severe insults, like the F-bomb and similar aggressive insults, these can be deemed verbal challenges, or “fighting words”, which can lead to an arrest for disturbing the peace or threatening a police officer.  For example, telling a cop “F-YOU” is considered violence-inciting.

Call an Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer if You Get in Trouble With Cops

If you get in trouble with the cops for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, you need a licensed Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer working on your case right away. Contact David E. Lewis, Attorney at Law, at 317-636-7514 to start building a strong and impactful defense against your criminal charges so that you have a chance at avoiding the maximum penalties for your suspected crimes. Our law firm offers free initial consultations, so there are no out-of-pocket obligations to you. Get started protecting your future, today.

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