Virginia House Votes to Decriminalize Swearing in Public

Virginia flag

Believe it or not, getting caught swearing in public in Virginia can cost you as much as $250.

Under state law, public cursing is a class-4 misdemeanor, a crime that is right alongside public intoxication. State legislators now are aiming to change that. 

A bill that would decriminalize public swearing passed in the Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday.

The bill, which was introduced last month, passed 76-24.

Del. Mark Cole, who represents Fredericksburg, told the Henrico Citizen he wanted to protect free speech.

"While I do not support or endorse profanity, the current law is vague, unenforceable and most likely unconstitutional" the paper said he wrote in an email. "I am concerned that in the future, it may be used to try to shut down unpopular speech and infringe on our First Amendment rights."

It will now go to the Senate, where it will be one step closer to making public swearing legal again. 

Contact Us