helping law enforcement protect the community

Do you know what is being done in your community to protect the citizens from crime? Do you have a crime-watch program? Is there a community website that lists the current investigations and events that may have recently occurred? Law enforcement officials can only do so much when it comes to protecting a community. If your community is not active in protecting itself, crime rates could rise and many residents could find themselves the target or victim of crimes. Visit my blog to find out what you can do as a community to lower crime rates and help the law enforcement officials do their jobs.

Is it Against the Law For the U.S. Flag to Touch the Ground?

Law Blog

The American government has several customs and laws in respect to its flag. If your flag touches the ground, it is against 4 U.S. Code § 8. This code speaks to the respect every U.S. citizen should show the flag of the United States. It is a general and permanent code of U.S. law. Will you actually get in trouble for a violation like allowing your flag to touch the ground? No, even though the code is a binding federal law, there are no penalties for U.S. citizens. The Supreme Court of the United States even struck down a Texas law regarding flag protection in 1990.

The Flag Protection Act of 1989

Today's flag laws are merely guides regarding respect and conduct when handling or displaying the U.S. flag. The Flag Protection Act of 1989 stated that if someone "knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, maintains on the floor or tramples upon any flag of the United States" that they would be subject to a fine or one year imprisonment. This act was actually an amendment to existing U.S. code. The United States vs. Eichman Supreme Court case determined that those penalties were unconstitutional in that 1990 decision. Allowing your flag to touch the ground doesn't fall under that kind of desecration.

Then Why Does the U.S. Have a Flag Code?

If there's no penalty involved regarding flags or in the particular case that the flag touches the ground, why is there a U.S. flag code at all? The code is a law that calls for respect of the U.S. flag and its customs. It's an outline set up by the U.S. government to help guide its citizens regarding proper respect and care for their flags.

Here's a sampling of what every American should know about how to handle and display their flag at home:

  • Always keep the union field (the stars) right side up unless you are using your flag as a signal that your life or property is in "dire distress."
  • Never allow your flag to touch the ground. Keep it from being soiled in any way.
  • Don't wear the flag as clothing, for a costume, or for athletics. Don't use the flag for artistic purposes where you draw upon it.
  • If you wear a flag lapel pin, you must wear it on the left lapel next to your heart.
  • Your flag should only be flown during the day unless it is illuminated through the night by a light.
  • If your flag gets ripped, soiled, or desecrated in any way, you must take it out of service. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or the Boy Scouts of America can help you dispose of your flag properly by burning it.

It used to be customary that if your flag touched the ground that you were to burn it. There are no worries that you would be breaking the law, however, if your flag touches the ground.

For help understanding these laws and other U.S. laws, talk with someone at a law firm like Law Offices Of Harry G Lasser.


26 April 2017