Is it likely that a person could be arrested for verbally stating that they wish they could be sharp enough to commit a huge crime, in front of a policeman?

For example (and of course it depends on the jurisdiction), would I be arrested if I say a thing like "I wish I was able enough to steal billions from the bank"?

Jurisidiction: UK, US, Italy.



No. I'm not aware of the specifics outside of the United States, but all three jurisdictions have protections for freedom of speech and this statement typically does not constitute a "true threat" to commit a crime. In the United States, the officer needs to also consider the context under which a statement is made. "I wish I could be sharp enough to steal billions" said by a comedian on stage would more likely than not indicate the comedian is going to talk about a stupid criminal who was busted for something related to not thinking through the crime. It's probably more actionable when said inside of a bank.

Legally in the United States, you can make jokes about killing the President, though for social reasons, it's generally considered unacceptable and advised against, even by some of the most ardent opposition of the person in office at the time. This stems from the fact that there are processes in place to remove the President if need without violence, and a long history of presidents dying due to assasination and more nearly dying as well. It's not going to be the stand-ups biggest laugh getter.

What Really Happens

Police can arrest you if they think there is probable cause to arrest you, though in all jurisdictions requested, there are requirements to get you before a judge in under a time limit (typically 72 hours, to allow for the weekend) and the judge will make determination if the arrest and charges are valid. If the cop has a valid reason to believe you might actually rob a bank, he can arrest you... an arrest does not mean you are guilty of the crime accused, so if it was proven in error or over zealously done, it will not affect you in the long run and in the U.S. you may be compensated for the inconvenience.

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