Did you know you could go to jail for cursing in public? Stephen Greenhalgh found that out after he went on a cursing rant for 14 minutes while on a crowded train during rush hour. It was reported that the 56-year-old passenger began smoking, cursing, and threatening other passengers. The conductor called the British Transport Police and officers met the train at its next stop in Barrow, Cumbria.

The lengthy rant

The cursing did not stop after Greenhalgh was removed from the train by police officers. He continued to swear and say abusive things to them.

Everything he said was filled with curse words. According to the arresting officers, every sentence Greenhalgh said had expletives.

When the cursing passenger appeared in court last Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to being abusive and threatening to the other passengers on the train during rush hour and to the arresting officers. Since the offense was punishable, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $150.

Not first offense

This was not the first time Greenhalgh had been in trouble with the law. He was already on probation for two years after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a neighbor and spitting in the woman's hair. He was prohibited from threatening, cursing, and using abusive or intimidating language outside of his own household.

Cursing in public

Cursing is also referred to as swearing, cussing, or using profanity. It is socially offensive when done in public no matter what it's called. Greenhalgh was using public transportation during a peak time of the day when he went on his long swearing spree. People often argue that a person is protected by the First Amendment.

People do have the right to free speech, but the First Amendment does not apply when profanity is used to disturb the peace, to harass, or to threaten people. It is an offense punishable by the law.

States vary with their own laws about regarding profanity. For instance, it is a crime in North Carolina to curse, swear, or use indecent or profane language within the hearing of two or more people in public places.

In the United Kingdom where Greenhalgh was jailed and fined, swearing is not usually a criminal offense. The context is what makes cursing against the law. For example, the passenger was threatening other passengers which definitely made it a crime. Also, he was disturbing the peace.

Are you surprised that swearing in public is against the law? Do you think it is fair for a person to go to jail for swearing in public?