*$&^ You! Can You Legally Flip Off a Montana Cop?
Lately, I've been wondering what all we can get away with... as this modern era of sensitivity gets worse by the day. One day something is legal (but frowned upon), and the next it is illegal with a big fine or jail time. So I ask... Can you legally flip off a Montana Cop?
Many names, one meaning
"Flipping Them Off", "Givin' em the bird" or whatever you call it, everyone from a young age on knows what the middle finger means when it goes up. And, depending on the situation, can either make the person receiving that gesture angry, sad, remorseful or many other feelings.
I KNOW MY RIGHTS
The statement "I know my rights" always come to my mind (see "Steve DUI Video on YouTube for a laugh) whenever we talk about freedom of speech, and the First Amendment. Remember, the First Amendment states...
Congress may make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In 2019, three judges in a Sixth Circut Court of Appeals provided their opinion on this matter, and that opinion is as follows:
Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule. But that doesn’t make them illegal or for that matter punishable or for that matter grounds for a seizure
That came from a 2017 traffic stop in Michigan over a speeding violation, which a ticket was issued for (but the ticket was for a lesser violation, "doing her a favor" according to the cop. The person receiving the ticket proceeded to flip off the cop while driving away after all was said and done, to which the cop then pulled the person back over, and issued the actual speeding violation AND adjust the original ticket.
That kicked off a big lawsuit against the officer, for violating her constitutional rights to free speech. After a lengthy court case, it was concluded that the officer has no justification for pulling over the speeding person a second time, which was indeed a violation of their Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable government searches and seizures. If you want to read all about that, click the button below.
So... I can flip a cop off next time?
You CAN flip off a cop. As long as you don't cross the invisible line, and/or cause a public disturbance. The worst thing that can come from giving a cop the bird is disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace charge. Both would be hard to stick to your record, however, as they are usually for much worse offenses compared to showing a finger.
SHOULD you flip off a cop next time?
Ehhhhh here's the golden question. Is it worth the time to physically flip off a cop? If you run into the one officer who is simply ticked off, and wants to make your day a nightmare because you dared to flip them off... you'll hate it. You may not end up with anything on your record somewhere... but you WILL end up with hours spent in court, lawyer fees, etc. Sometimes... it's best to simply IMAGINE giving the cop the finger. Heck, imagine giving that officer BOTH of them! Just... maybe steer clear of actually doing it.
Or don't, and let us know on the App if you got in trouble. ;)