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ASK A COP — Can a police officer arrest someone for cursing?

Shaunda from Nederland asks: My cousin said he was arrested recently for yelling out curse words from his vehicle. I really believe it was for something else because I don’t believe you can be arrested for cursing. So I decided to Ask A Cop. Can a police officer arrest someone for cursing in the presence of a police officer, even if the curse words weren’t directed at the officers?

Answer: Here we go, in the state of Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.01. DISORDERLY CONDUCT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly: (1) uses abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; using vulgar or obscene language in a public place is ILLEGAL! It is titled “Disorderly Conduct by language.”

So any word we know to be a curse word is off limits verbally or by gesture in public in the great state of Texas. Using the excuse that I’m grown or I have the freedom of speech will NOT fly in Texas. Now here is the tricky part, you also asked about cursing in the presence of a police officer. Police officers in the state of Texas are NOT supposed to be offended by language (go figure that one), so as long as no one else either heard the language towards a police officer or was NOT offended by the cursing language, no offense has occurred. By the way this (cursing around police officers) is NOT something you should test the water. I believe we are all adults with a broad enough vocabulary that we can use other words that can be just as effective to get our point across.

Nancy from Groves asks: When are we allowed to pass a school bus after the kids have exited the school bus? The reason for my question is because during the first week of school, I observed a school bus let kids off the bus and started moving and the lights were still flashing RED. Was I allowed to pass? I’m not sure.

Answer: We all have noticed the yellow school buses during our commute, and now we must adhere to the laws that safeguard the children and drivers of said vehicles. Nancy, there are three occasions that allow motorists to pass a school bus and they are: (1) the school bus resumes motion, (2) the operator has signaled by the bus driver to proceed or (3) the visual signal-red flashing lights are no longer actuated. So Nancy in your case, once the school bus started moving, even though the red lights were still flashing, you and all other motorists were allowed by state law to PASS. Remember the law is passing a STOPPED school bus.

Tone from Port Arthur asks: Could you please explain what violations police officers do and don’t enforce on private property? I was involved in a fender bender recently and was told by said officer that they don’t investigate private property wrecks.

Answer: There is a lot of confusion of what a Texas police officer WILL and WILL NOT investigate on private property. So here is a list of what police officers WILL enforce on private property: Fire Zone violation, Disable Parking Violation, Reckless Driving Violation and Driving While Intoxicated Violation.

Police officers in Texas will NOT investigate on private property; stop sign violation, bad parking violations (taking up multiple lanes), no seat belt violations, no drivers license violation, expired registration sticker violation, failing to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk violation, minor fender bender crash where NO ONE is injured. You are welcome to call and request a police officer to come to the scene if you are involved in a crash, but the MOST they will do for you if no one is injured is assist in exchanging information.

Join me, Officer Rickey Antoine and Stephen Buzzard Boots Mosley, Lelo mouth of Hwy 69/73 Washington & Tejas Lil Man Morning Star for Ask A Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can tune in via the internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voicemail question or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always free “Ask A Cop!”

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