Swearing Bylaws in Different States

Good Essays

On February 15, 2010 a woman in Chapel Hill, NC by the name of Samantha Elabanjo was arrested because she told two Chapel Hill Police Officers, “you need to clean your dirty damn car,” and she then called them “assholes” (State of North Carolina). If Samantha Elabanjo lived in Rockville, Maryland the outcome may have been different. To date, there are no known documented arrest for Rockville’s Profanity Law. Rockville, Maryland’s City Code Chapter 13 Article III Sec. 13-53 states, “(a) a person may not profanely curse and swear or use obscene language upon or near any street, sidewalk or highway within the hearing of persons passing by, upon or along such street, sidewalk or highway; (b) a person may not act in a disorderly manner by profanely cursing, swearing or using obscene language; (c) any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor” (Profanity). Rockville, Maryland’s ban on profanity should be nullified. The law is too broad, violates the first amendment, and is already prohibited in other laws.
Perhaps the reason for no known documented cases in Rockville, Maryland is that the law is too broad. The local ordinance does not specify the intent of the law. Is the law to prevent noise pollution or is it to prevent harassment or mal intent? A law that does not include intent, can lead to erroneous arrests and a waste of tax payer’s money. This law allows a person to be arrested for a variety of reasons concerning profanity that may not be malicious or

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