No swearing in Virginia Beach? WTF?

Drove out to Virginia Beach this week and noticed all the “no cursing” signs up and down Atlantic Avenue. Allegedly swearing carries a $250 fine.

I’ve been in law enforcement 28+ years and no way could I successfully get a conviction on someone simply for swearing. Even on a Disorderly Conduct charge I’d have to show more elements than just profanity. Admittedly things may be differently in liberal Wisconsin than Virginia. But still.

What are the specifics of this law, and has it passed Constitutional challenges?

Perhaps its under this statute, though this statute seems to apply anywhere in public in the state rather than posted areas only:

This looks like a disjunctive statute - it covers being drunk in public or swearing profanely.

I don’t know how often this has been used for swearing, but I have looked at the official Fairfax County online arrest/citation listings and it frequently listed the offense “Drunk in Public or Profane”, so it is probably the statute above or an equivalent county one. I’m willing to guess that in liberal Fairfax County 99.9999 percent of all the arrests made under the statute are for drunk in public.

Doubt it’s constitutional, but that’s not the point. The point is that it gives the city reason to ticket spring breakers, who aren’t likely to challenge the ticket (let alone argue against its constitutionality in court), and probably nets the city a nice chunk of cash in return for putting up with all the revelry.

If you were on Atlantic Ave, are yor sure it wasn’t a NO CRUISING sign you saw?


The no cursing signs are all over the place.

Apparently there are many places with no-swearing ordinances. As it happens the ACLU is challenging these laws and I suspect they will be successful.

“John Spartan, you are fined five credits for repeated violations of the verbal morality statute.”

[obscure]What can I say, I needed some shit tickets. [/obscure]

I’m Wondering what extreme they take it to. In Wisconsin I can arrest someone for cursing but there has to be other elements. If a guy is walking down the sidewalk and says “Shit, I locked my keys in the car” and I cite him, it not only won’t get prosecuted, but even if it were the judge would toss it out and let me have it. If the same man were standing on the sidewalk yelling and screaming and spouting obscenities, then I could get a DC charge easily. Wisconsins Disorderly Conduct statute is quite all encompassing, but in all reality simply cursing is not going to net a conviction. But I’m in Wisconsin & this is Virginia.

That was not legal advice, I am not a lawyer.

Roundup from google:
Man arrested for profane city council rant. Then again, the guy was allegedly drunk as well.

19 year old chucklehead sings rap music loudly, repeatedly shouting m-----f----- in front of a 14 and 5 year old. Mom complains and 19 year old is charged with disorderly conduct.

South Dakota Supremes uphold right to swear at cops.

These incidents seem consistent with previous comments, IMHO.