Houston Matters

Does A Message On A Truck Actually Represent Disorderly Conduct?

An expert discusses the legal precedent for prosecuting someone for displaying an explicit message on their vehicle.

Fort Bend Sheriff Troy Nehls said on November 16th, 2017 that he was hoping to have a “meaningful dialogue” with the driver about the expletives and the confrontational tone of the message of the truck.


Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls is facing a lot of criticism over a Facebook post.

Yesterday (Nov. 15), Sheriff Nehls posted a picture of a pickup truck displaying an expletive-filled message against Pres. Donald Trump. The picture was accompanied by a message from the sheriff saying he'd discussed with a county prosecutor the possibility of a disorderly conduct charge for the driver.

But does a message on a truck — however crude — actually represent disorderly conduct? And hasn't the Supreme Court long since weighed in on situations like this? Just what does the law say?

We talk it over with Charles "Rocky" Rhodes, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.