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Here’s how much swearing in public could cost you in Virginia, but maybe not for long

The Virginia House of Delegates voted to repeal the provision that punishes foul-mouth language in the state. Before you say "H*** yeah," it's still intact for now.
Credit: Virginia Beach
Signs in Virginia Beach show "No Swearing" to maintain the family-friendly nature of the city.

WASHINGTON — What you say and do in private is up to you, but if you live in Virginia what you say in public could very well cost you -- but maybe not for long.

The Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday voted 76-24 to repeal the provision that allows people who profanely curse, or swear in the state to be charged with a Class 4 misdemeanor. If fined, that misdemeanor charge could cost you up to $250.

Banning bad words isn't necessarily a new effort for the DMV. George Washington declared an order against profanity in 1776 as a way to keep soldiers from performing, "a vice so mean and low without any temptation that every man of sense and character detests and despises it."

The same bill is also the same bill that upholds penalties for being intoxicated in public. While the House of Delegates is appealing the swearing aspect of the code, being intoxicated in public will still remain a crime. Think wisely, Virginians!

The repeal bill is now heading to the Senate to decide it's fate. It isn't the first time the House has tried to repeal the provision.

Virginia Delegate Michael J. Webert, R-Fauquier County, who is serving his fifth term, has brought the bill up twice in previous sessions, only for it to die in committee votes.

"When I cursed, my mother told me not to, and handed me a bar of soap," Webert said to the Post in 2017. "You shouldn't get hit with a Class 4 misdemeanor."

What if you're hanging with your buddies on the beach and not even near a city or crowded place? Well, you can still get fined.

Virginia Beach was so adamant about keeping the boardwalk and beach walkways "swear-free" that they even put up signs to keep people in line.

Credit: Virginia Beach
Signs in Virginia Beach show "No Swearing" to maintain the family-friendly nature of the city.

Even if you aren't on the beach, you still might want to keep the cussing to a minimum. Arlington County has its own code to prevent profanity, slapping violators with a $250 fine if caught.

Next time you are out and about and wanting to drop a bomb of expletives or say, ahem, a key choice of words, make sure no one hears you. 

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