It’s just something most conservative dressers have had to accept—some folks like to wear low-ride pants, revealing to the world their boxer short selection. But can a fashion choice result in real criminal charges?
The “saggy” or “baggy” look is a familiar fashion trend among kids, teens and some adults. But, while most have accepted it as a pop-culture style, some governments have gone as far as passing ordinances that outlaw the loose denim in their towns. (Flint, Michigan and Lynwood, Illinois are among the latest cities to pass ordinances.)
People who value freedom of expression are concerned about the major practical and constitutional concerns that surround the law. The very idea that the governments are attempting to ban clothing styles is alarming.
First of all, it’s never been illegal to show your underwear in public. Second, this law gives police the authority to stop and question anyone they suspect of wearing their pants too low. This explicitly conflicts with our Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects us against unreasonable searches. And, let’s not forget the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
Attempted enforcement of these laws could result in violators being forced to assert their constitutional rights in court, which will cost taxpayers big bucks. It also takes police officer’s time away from enforcing more serious offenses.
Watch Out, Plumbers
So how much buttocks is too much buttocks? According to the Flint Police Department, people who are caught in Flint, Michigan with their underwear exposed will receive a warning or a ticket.
If a person’s underwear is exposed and their pants are below their buttocks, they can be charged for disorderly conduct; if their buttocks is exposed (with any crack showing), they can be charged with indecent exposure.
Both the disorderly conduct charge and indecent exposure charges bring a possible punishment of 93 days to a year in jail and/or up to $500 in fines.
This law leaves us here at Total Criminal Defense with a question that must be asked: If government permits itself to outlaw certain “offensive” styles of pants, where were the cops when zebra-print Zubazs and stirrup pants were hot?