Florida Court Strikes Down Law Banning Loud Music From Car Stereos
The Florida Supreme Court has struck down a law that made it illegal for music coming from a car to be “plainly audible” from 25 feet or more.
On Thursday, December 13, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court released a ruling striking down a law that made it illegal for music coming from a car to be “plainly audible” from 25 feet or more.
The justices were ruling on a pair of cases from Pinellas County. Both drivers were cited for playing their car radios too loud.
The justices called the law unconstitutional and an “unreasonable restriction on the freedom of expression.” They wrote that it violated free speech rights for several reasons, including that the law exempted vehicles used for business or political purposes.
The high court did not have a problem with a requirement in the law that a stereo must be “plainly audible” from 25 feet or more to be illegal, which a lower court had questioned.
Instead, the justices said that it came down to the fact that the right to play amplified music in public is protected under the First Amendment.
And, writing for the majority, Justice Jorge Labarga highlighted a part of the law that exempts commercial and political messages from the ban, saying that amounted to a restriction on certain kinds of speech, a violation of the First Amendment.
Labarga’s ruling also was skeptical of the state’s argument that the ban was justified because it makes traffic safer.
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