What do seat belt violations, window tint being too dark, and noise violations have in common? They are just excuses to give police and sheriff deputies in Polk County a reason to pull you over, request consent to search your car, or search it anyways, or call out the K-9 drug dog unit to sniff and arrest drivers. Well now there is one less reason to pull over driver’s in Polk County, FL.
Recently, the Florida Supreme Court held that Florida and Polk County’s noise statute that restricted volume at which car stereos could be played on public street was unconstitutional. Florida statute 316.3045 “Operation of radios or other mechanical soundmaking devices or instruments in vehicles; exemptions” and violating the statute is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation. So, it is similar to a speeding ticket. The ticketed driver may receive a fine, but does not face incarceration such as jail or prison as a penalty for violating the noise statute in Polk County, FL.
This unconstitutional statute, that is used by law enforcement for an excuse to pull vehicles over and search drivers and their cars, was declared unconstitutional because the statute exempted business and political vehicles and was unconstitutionally overbroad. This statute restricts our right to freedom of expression guaranteed under the constitution. The statute was more intrusive than necessary, was not narrowly tailored to achieve the government's interests in improving traffic safety and protecting citizenry from excessive noise, and protected commercial speech to a greater degree than noncommercial speech.
The “plainly audible” language of the noise statute was challenged on the basis that it is unconstitutionally vague on its face. Whether a police officer can hear sound beyond twenty-five feet is subjective to each particular police officer's ability to hear, leading to arbitrary enforcement based on whether a police officer personally finds the amplified sound disturbing. Let’s face it, it gives cops and police officers free reign to say “I could hear that radio a mile away” whether that is true or not. The Florida Supreme Court rejected this argument because there is a clear standard that give the public and drivers what constitutes a violation and is too loud, but what prevents an officer from saying “I could hear the stereo from 25 feet away?” An aggressive criminal lawyer in Polk County like Thomas C. Grajek would obtain video and audio proof in court, but still is no guarantee a court would dismiss your case. Call now 863-688-4606 for more information about your criminal case.
Instead, the Court found the statute overbroad. While the prosecutors and Attorney General argued that restricted how loud sound can be amplified for traffic safety reasons, the court did not buy this argument. The reason is traffic safety is not a compelling state interest to survive a strict scrutiny analysis when it comes to our constitutional rights as citizen’s and driver’s in Polk County, Florida. The bigger problem for prosecutors trying to uphold this statute so police and the sheriff have another reason to pull your car over and search it, is that if traffic safety is so important, why can politicians and business people blast their message as loud as they want? The sheriff can blast “Vote for me! My deputies pull over all these kids playing their music too loud so I can search them and their cars and arrest more people to keep the streets safe!”, but you can not play your reggaeton, Taylor Swift, favorite Zac Brown song, or heavy metal/rock song. Is that fair? No.
Now an officer can not pull you over if your car stereo is too loud. If that is the only reason the cop pulls you over, experienced criminal defense attorney Thomas C. Grajek can be aggressive in the defense of your criminal charges and file a motion to suppress. If the motion to suppress is granted then your criminal case could be dismissed as all the evidence of your guilt has been thrown out of court.
If you were previously pulled over for this noise violation, the police may be able to rely on a good faith belief that the statute in question was still good law at that time as this is a recent change in the law. Call aggressive criminal lawyer Thomas C. Grajek in Lakeland, Florida now and go to court with a an attorney that will fight for you!
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Office - Lakeland, Polk County, FL.
Thomas C. Grajek 863-688-4606
Aggressive DUI, DRUG and SEX CRIME attorney representing all individuals arrested in Florida and Polk County, including Bartow, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Mulberry, Haines City, Auburndale, and Lake Wales.
How dark can you realistically tint your windows before you'll get pulled over in Florida? Click here.