Can you get fined for swearing in front of a child in Georgia?
It's a question that 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross is getting your answers to, after finding out about an ordinance for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina stating that you can get a $500 fine for using profane or obscene language on the beach.
Kaityn made a Facebook post about the ordinance. A Georgia law enforcement officer commented on the post, saying it's even more serious in Georgia. You can be fined $1,000 for swearing in front of a kid!
11Alive worked to verify what the law says in Georgia. We found it in code section 16-11-39 under disorderly conduct. It's a misdemeanor and the law says you can get a ticket if you swear in front of a kid 14 or younger
Family law expert Randy Kessler has been practicing for 30 years and is a professor at Emory University. He said, think of it more as an add-on charge if you're already breaking the law.
"It's nice for police to say, technically, you're violating the law. It gives them more teeth," Kessler said. "Not every law gets enforced 100 percent of the time."
But if the kid is under 14, it counts.
"You gotta have some line, so that's where the line is. You say it in front of a 12-year-old, 13-year-old, 14-year-old, you're going to get in more trouble than if you say it in front of a 15 or 16-year-old," Kessler said.
There is no list of approved words you can and cannot say, according to Kessler.
But if a cop thinks you're swearing near a kid under 14? 11Alive verified that yes, you're breaking the law.