• One cuss word leads to $637 in fines

    Date: 03.16.11 | by Judge Tom.

    In one Texas high school, swearing can result in a trip to court rather than the principal’s office. North Mesquite High School senior Victoria Mullins recently learned this lesson.

    In October, 2010, the 17 year old was in speech class when a “really obnoxious” kid was getting on Victoria’s nerves. She reportedly yelled at the student saying “your trying to start (expletive)!” Her teacher sent her to the principal’s office who gave her lunch detention and was told to watch her mouth.

    Photo by Stockicide (Flickr)

    When she went to her first afternoon class, the school resource officer gave her a ticket for disorderly conduct and abusive language in class. Victoria didn’t think her comment was that loud and tried to fight the ticket but lost.

    The original fine was $340. Victoria missed a hearing that resulted in an additional $100 penalty. When an arrest warrant was issued on January 21, 2010, another $50 was added to her fine as well as $147 for the collection expenses the city incurred.

    Victoria is now working as a waitress to pay off her debts. For other stories of profanity and its consequences see:

    http://www.askthejudge.info/can-i-get-in-trouble-for-swearing/100/ and

    http://www.askthejudge.info/14-year-old-mckay-swears-not-to-cuss/4443/

    In 2014, 23-year-old, Valerie Perez, was in court in Illinois for a speeding ticket. After waiting all morning for her case to be called, the judge took a break. Valerie was overheard in the hallway saying “I waited all f****** morning, and now she takes a break.” Her comment was reported to the judge who found her in contempt of court and sentenced her to eight days in jail. An immediate appeal was taken and the sentence was vacated. However, she still had to serve four days in jail while waiting for the higher court to rule. They found her speech to be protected since it wasn’t directed at the judge or even in her presence.

     

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    3 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • teenrightsguy
      Thu, 17 Mar 2011 at 05:55

      This kind of example reinforces many teens' dim view of police: http://bit.ly/fldfjF How shameful. Speak out!

    • Jesse McGrew
      Fri, 18 Mar 2011 at 02:05

      RT @teenrightsguy: This kind of example reinforces many teens' dim view of police: http://bit.ly/fldfjF How shameful. Speak out!

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Thu, 14 Jul 2011 at 09:30

      The problem with criminalizing immature adolescent behavior is the simple fact that adolescents ARE adolescents and they ARE immature. These students lack enough real world experience to be able to fully appreciate the consequences of being charged with a crime.

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