PA Title 18 Crimes and Offenses

Offenses Against The Flag


21. Offenses Against the Flag




2101. Display of flag at public meetings.

2102. Desecration of flag.

2103. Insults to national or Commonwealth flag.

Enactment. Chapter 21 was added December 6, 1972, P.L.1482, No.334, effective in six months.

2101. Display of flag at public meetings.

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a summary offense if, being directly or indirectly in charge of any public gathering, in any place, he fails at such gathering to display publicly and visibly the flag of the United States reasonably clean and in good repair.

(b) Exceptions.--

(1) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to gatherings for religious worship.

(2) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section do not prohibit the exhibition of torn, soiled or worn flags of the United States which have historical significance when exhibited in conjunction with the type of flag required by subsection (a) of this section.

2102. Desecration of flag.

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if, in any manner, he:

(1) for exhibition or display places any marks, writing or design of any nature or any advertisement upon any flag;

(2) exposes to public view any such marked or defiled flag;

(3) manufactures, sells, exposes for sale, gives away, or has in his possession for any of such purposes any article which uses the flag for the purposes of advertisement, sale or trade; or

(4) publicly or privately mutilates, defaces, defiles, or tramples upon, or casts contempt in any manner upon any flag.

(b) Exception.--Subsection (a) of this section does not apply:

(1) To any act permitted by the statutes of the United States, or by the regulations of the armed forces of the United States.

(2) In a case where the government of the United States has granted the use of such flag, standard, color, or ensign as a trademark.

(3) To any writing or instrument, or stationery for use in correspondence on any of which shall be printed, painted, or placed said flag, disconnected from any advertisement for the purpose of sale or trade.

(4) To any patriotic or political demonstration or decorations.

(c) Definition.--As used in this section the word "flag" shall include any flag, standard, color, ensign or any picture or representation of any thereof, made of any substance or represented on any substance and of any size, purporting to be a flag, standard, color or ensign of the United States or of the Commonwealth, or a picture or a representation of any thereof, upon which shall be shown the colors or any color, or any combination of colors, or either the stars or the stripes, or the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or anything which the person seeing the same, may reasonably believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard or ensign of the United States or of the Commonwealth.

2103. Insults to national or Commonwealth flag.

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree if he maliciously takes down, defiles, injures, removes or in any manner damages, insults, or destroys any American flag or the flag of the Commonwealth which is displayed anywhere.