Mississippi Crime of the Week – Profanity or Drunkenness in Public

Any person that profanely swears or curses, uses vulgar or indecent language, or is drunk in a public place, in the presence of two or more people, shall be fined not more than $100.00, or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 30 days, or both.  Miss. Code Ann. § 97-29-47.


This is a fairly simple and straightforward law, but here are some additional things to know about it:

  • You can be arrested for being drunk in a public place if you are an occupant in a vehicle, and the the vehicle is on public property, and you are in the presence of two or more people.
  • You cannot be arrested for this crime in your home.
  • A licensed public club or lounge is a public place.
  • Even though the statute requires your profanity or drunkenness to be in the presence of two or more people, the state only needs one witness to prove it (only one witness has to say that there were two or more people there – if that one witness is to be believed).
  • The words used and things done are the gist of the offense and must be specifically proved by the state.  Keep track of what was said, because as your lawyer I may be arguing what is “profane” and what is not.

Don’t give up!  This crime is defensible.  Almost every element is subjective, that is, it is open to interpretation.  A good lawyer will gather all of the available evidence in your case, will help you understand it and explain your options, and then will help you make an informed decision as to how to approach you case.  In some cases, the lawyer will be able to negotiate a reduction in charges.  But if that is not possible you will need a lawyer used to trying cases to help you put your best foot forward.  If you are arrested for profanity or drunk in public and you want to discuss your case give me a call.  We are here to help.