• Watch your mouth: Profanity could cost you $500 in Myrtle Beach

    By: Glenn Counts

    Updated:

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Some refer to Myrtle Beach as "Dirty Myrtle,” but make sure you don't have a dirty mouth when you're there.

    Police in Myrtle Beach can fine you, or even put you in jail, for profane language..

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    Profane language falls under the city's disorderly conduct offense. City officials say it helps to make sure people don't get out of hand.


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    "If you utter what is essentially fighting words, words designed to provoke a violent reaction from someone else, that's where you'll run afoul with this ordinance," explained Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea.

    "There is a serious Constitutional issue with that, with the U.S. Supreme Court," policing expert and attorney Scott MacLatchie said.

    He said that if an officer is the target of profane language, they are not supposed to make an arrest, because they are a government official, and it's a violation of free speech.


    The court makes the ultimate decision, but it could cost offenders up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail.

    The city issued 300 tickets for foul language last year, averaging $77 each.

    The Myrtle Beach Police Department issued the following statement on the offense:

    "A person would violate Ordinance 14-61 (b) 1 if he/she uses a language likely to provoke a violent reaction from another person. The ordinance lists several examples of the types of words which are unlawful. The penalty for conviction could include a fine and/or jail time. We encourage everyone to avoid violating this ordinance by speaking to others with the same respect and kindness he or she deserves."

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