Car Stereo Case Goes to Florida Highest Court

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The question of whether it is safe to blast your car radio in Florida has gone unanswered for months but it looks like Floridians will get a definitive ruling on the matter by the State’s Supreme Court early next year.

Car AudioYou may remember in May, a Florida law that bans playing loud music from the car was overturned by a district court in Lakeland. But a month later, the State appealed to the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

The Court agreed to hear the case in February and will decide whether regulating car stereo volume is a violation of one’s First Amendment rights. It could eliminate the noise ordinance completely.

The case is State vs. Catalano, which began when a corporate lawyer was pulled over by police in St. Petersburg for exceeding the noise limit as he blasted Justin Timberlake on his way to work at 7:34 am.

The original statute says police may stop a vehicle if the car stereo is “plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more.” It has been argued that the statute is unconstitutional as it makes exceptions for businesses and politicians and may be selectively enforced. It has also been argued that it interferes with free speech.

Source: NBC Miami

Photo via Miami New Times

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  1. so if we get arrested or a ticket can we go after the people who made the equipment ? like Kenwood , alpine , JL audio ? Can we go after the people who installed the Equipment , like a bartender that gives someone to much to drink ? well it is Florida

  2. I’m all for noise ordinances, but that doesn’t mean we should tolerate sloppy legislative drafting, which leads to vague, unconstitutional laws like this one.

  3. So if the law is declared unconstitutional, your neighbor will now be allowed to blast his stereo at 3am on a Tuesday and there will be nothing you can do about it. The neighbors teenager can sit in front of your house while his car stereo rattles your windows and there will be nothing you can do about it. Religious nutcases can put their speeches on blast all day long and there is nothing you can do about it. Block parties can set up bands to play all night long in front of your house and there will be nothing you can do about it. Be careful what you wish for.

  4. There is an important precedent to be set in this case. Discrimination against car audio systems versus motorcycles, trucks, performance cars, and others is a long standing argument. I hope that CEA plays an active role in helping to determine the future course of sound ordinance issues by helping to achieve a favorable outcome in the Florida case.

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