Now FL. Court Says Anti-Car Audio Laws Violate Free Speech

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It’s been a busy week for car stereo rights in Florida. First the Florida Congress said a new car stereo ordinance could invite racial profiling. Then Wednesday, a Florida court said car stereo ordinances are unconstitutional.

The ruling said a statute can’t restrict loud music but yet exempt loud audio at political rallies without violating the right to free speech.

FL attorney Richard Catalano says car stereo laws are unfair. Credit: St. Petersburg Times

“The statute is a content-based restriction on free expression which violates the First Amendment,” Judge Anthony Black of the 2nd District Court of Appeals wrote, said the St. Petersburg Times.

The case was initiated by a car stereo fan who happened to be a FL. attorney. Richard Catalano was given a ticket for playing his car stereo back in 2007 and thought it was unfair. His case has been through various appeals since then, and will likely undergo more appeals, despite the recent ruling.

Under Florida law, drivers may be fined $30 for playing music that may be heard 25 feet from the car. A bill to increase the penalties was voted down in committee this week with some objecting that it invited racial profiling.

Source: St Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg Times Blog
Photo credit: St. Petersburg Times.

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  1. Men and women over 30 contribute to about 45% of our business. Of that 45%, about half is high end installs. These are not the ones pissing other people off at night. Shoe some respect for your neighbors and laws like these will not be necessary.

  2. If we recognize that our consumer is no longer just that 16 to 24 demographic, and that older demographics are actually becoming more and more important; The legal issues are the LEAST of our considerations! You don’t make customers out of people who see you as a nuisance or a threat to their peace and quiet. The conversation really needs to be amongst our industry. The goal is to keep the peace with everyone to the best of our ability. If we address that, perhaps we may not have to worry about troublesome legislation. This issue will not go away. Our PR problems with the general public will not go away. What a shame nobody seems willing to take the lead on this.

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