U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure

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Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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§ 700. Desecration of the Flag of the United States; Penalties

     (a)(1) Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

     (2) This subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.

     (b) As used in this section, the term "flag of the United States" means any flag of the United States, or any part thereof, made of any substance, of any size, in a form that is commonly displayed.

     (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to deprive any State, territory, possession, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico of jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section.

     (d)(1) An appeal may be taken directly to the Supreme Court of the United States from any interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order issued by a United States district court ruling upon the constitutionality of subsection (a).

     (2) The Supreme Court shall, if it has not previously ruled on the question, accept jurisdiction over the appeal and advance on the docket and expedite to the greatest extent possible.

(Added Pub. L. 90–381, § 1, July 5, 1968, 82 Stat. 291; amended Pub. L. 101–131, §§ 2, 3, Oct. 28, 1989, 103 Stat. 777.)

Amendments

     1989—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–131, § 2(a), amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: "Whoever knowingly casts contempt upon any flag of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling upon it shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both."

     Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–131, § 2(b), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: "The term `flag of the United States’ as used in this section, shall include any flag, standard colors, ensign, or any picture or representation of either, or of any part or parts of either, made of any substance or represented on any substance, of any size evidently purporting to be either of said flag, standard, color, or ensign of the United States of America, or a picture or a representation of either, upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, standards, colors, or ensign of the United States of America."

     Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101–131, § 3, added subsec. (d).

Short Title of 2000 Amendment

     Pub. L. 106–547, § 1, Dec. 19, 2000, 114 Stat. 2738, provided that: "This Act [enacting sections 716 and 1036 of this title] may be cited as the `Enhanced Federal Security Act of 2000’."

Short Title of 1989 Amendment

     Section 1 of Pub. L. 101–131 provided that: "This Act [amending this section] may be cited as the `Flag Protection Act of 1989’."

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Chicago: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", "§ 700. Desecration of the Flag of the United States; Penalties," U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002), Original Sources, accessed January 26, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8F5H5F2I73TT1XI.

MLA: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel". "§ 700. Desecration of the Flag of the United States; Penalties." U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 2002, Original Sources. 26 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8F5H5F2I73TT1XI.

Harvard: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", '§ 700. Desecration of the Flag of the United States; Penalties' in U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure. cited in 2002, U.S. Code, Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.. Original Sources, retrieved 26 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8F5H5F2I73TT1XI.