Tulsa Attorney BlogCan I Legally Flip off the Police?

It’s Stupid to Mouth off and Be Disrespectful

Video Transcribed: Hello, this is Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney, Brian Jackson. I want to talk about this kind of a funny story, but there’s a point to it. There is actually a case out of upstate New York that is a federal case.

It was a federal First Amendment case involving a gentleman who gave a cop the finger and got arrested for assault for flipping a cop off. Now, this is kind of a dumb ass thing to do, and I surely do not endorse this behavior for a variety of reasons but, ultimately, the case went up to the Federal Supreme Court and the Supreme Court came back and said, “No, that’s protected speech. You cannot arrest a person for giving a cop the finger.”

You do, in fact, have a legal right under the constitution and First Amendment free speech, you have a right to give the cops the finger. I don’t recommend doing it. I think it’s a dumb idea, but you can do it.

And I want to tell this story less to talk about First Amendment issues, but it’s kind of a lead-up to a point I want to make. Don’t make shit personal with the cops. If you are getting a ticket or you’re getting arrested, or you have an unfavorable encounter with law enforcement of any kind, don’t make it personal, especially on little piddling crap. If you’re getting ticketed, don’t make it personal because here’s the thing, the cops…

First of all, most of those tickets end up being referred to the municipal court in Oklahoma. And the cops, especially in small towns, talk to the prosecutors, and it may also get back to the judge, and it can make mean the difference between getting a deferral or getting hammered for full fines and costs and getting points on your license or getting your license yanked if they got you for something serious.

It’s stupid to mouth off and be disrespectful. Yes, you have a right to do it and if all you’re doing is running your mouth and being disrespectful, that’s not a crime. Assuming, of course, you don’t end up admitting to anything else, they shouldn’t arrest you for that.

But you’re going to make it personal with the cop. If they know you’re breaking some kind of law and it’s some little petty crap, and it’s discretionary on them if they want to write it or not or they want to arrest you or not, if you’re a disrespectful fool, they’re going to bust you for whatever they can get you for. And I’m here to tell you if a cop really wants to arrest you or they really want to write you a ticket, they can probably come up with some excuse to do it.

You may very well beat that in court later and, certainly, you get a good lawyer, I’m sure you will beat it because the lawyer is going to show the court what it is, that you went and made it personal with a cop, so of course, they busted you.

But you know what happens when you do that, is you get to pay someone $1000 or more dollars to go do that for you. That middle finger, that snarky remark, that cuss word just cost you a boatload of money. And that’s a cop who, if they do have you dead to rights on something, he’s going to show up to court and make sure you get hammered.

The long and short of it is, don’t be disrespectful to cops. It’s stupid. It is. It’s really stupid. It’s a good way to make an unpleasant experience a hell of a lot worse. A lot of people that get popped for criminal charges on things like public into, it’s because they were being an asshole. It’s because they were disrespectful. Don’t act that way.

Most cops got better things to do than mess with you if you’ve had a few too many at the bar and you’re walking home. When you get in trouble for that is because you were being a jerk. I can’t say it enough. Don’t be disrespectful to cops. It’s stupid. And, I mean, if you are dealing with a situation where you got ticketed or you got arrested and you need help, go to makelaweasy.com where we’ll help make the law work for you. If you need a Tulsa Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, visit makelaweasy.com.

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