Tickets for loud car stereos have been ruled unconstitutional by a Florida judge.
TALLAHASSEE – A lot of Florida drivers just got a green light to crank up their car stereos.
Florida’s car stereo law, which allows police to ticket drivers for playing their music too loud, has been ruled unconstitutional.
That means if you like to blast music in your vehicle, then you won’t face a fine under the state’s noise law.
That law allowed police to ticket you if your cars stereo could be heard 25 feet away. Now the 2nd District Court of Appeal has ruled the law is unconstitutional because it bans loud music, but makes exceptions for business or political speech.
Judge Anthony Black says targeting a loud stereo based on its content violates the First Amendment.
The ruling only takes effect in the 14 counties of the 2nd District, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Car stereo shop owner Joe Doughty says he supports the noise law. Doughty says he will install a powerful stereo for you, but he never condones blasting it to the point of bothering other people.
“I think it’s a good idea to have some kind of reprimand or some kind of hold back on people that are playing their music so loud that other people cant enjoy their music,” Doughty said.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office, which is defending the car stereo law, has the option to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court. The law has already been upheld in two other courts of appeal.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Meale says the attorney general’s office is reviewing the case now. She says the ruling does not appear to affect any local noise ordinances.
As for drivers already ticketed for turning up their car stereos in the 2nd DCAs region, they can contact an attorney.