Cursing in Myrtle Beach could cost you


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Cursing in Myrtle Beach could cost you.

While it’s not a law on its own, using profane language to “provoke violent reactions” falls under the disorderly conduct ordinance.

The law – Ordinance 14-61 – states that “By making, uttering or directing toward another person any lewd, obscene or profane or libelous expletive or epithets or ‘fighting’ words, which as a matter of common knowledge, when addressed to the ordinary citizen are inherently likely to provoke violent reactions, including but not limited to calls, threats and invitations to immediately engage in physical violence, fisticuffs, duel or personal combat.”

In 2017, Myrtle Beach police say the department issued over $20,000 worth of profane language citations. Cpl. Thomas Vest explains not all of the money went to the city, noting a percentage from those citations goes to court fees and victims’ advocates.

Dashawn Brockidton doesn’t think you should get a fine for using just a few profane words.

“I could see if you’re getting out of hand with it. It could become that but not just out of the blue like, ‘Oh I heard that $500 fine,’” he said.

“It’s not really a crime to me. No one deserves to be fined by saying something. No that’s not right,” agreed Tyrone Easter.

WMBF News reached out to Horry County Police to see if the county’s disorderly conduct law has any specifics about cursing. Capt. John Harrelson says the county charges under the state law for disorderly conduct or breach of peace. He explained profanity could be an element of either of those laws, but not necessarily.

Lt. Bryan Murphy with the Myrtle Beach Police Department issued the following statement:

A person would violate Ordinance 14-61 (b)(1) if he/ she uses 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 a 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 you deserve.

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