Drivers claim that Florida’s “loud music” law is applied unfairly

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Traffic and Driver's License Issues |

If you’re vacationing here in Florida, or even if you live here, you might be in for a surprise if a police officer tells you the reason they pulled you over is that your music was too loud and then hands you a ticket. The law applies not only to those in cars and other closed vehicles, but to people on motorcycles and even those in open carts like you see in beach areas.

Specifically, the law states that it’s illegal to play music that’s “[l]ouder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle in areas adjoining private residences, churches, schools, or hospitals.” That can be subject to interpretation. However, it also states that the music can’t be “plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more.” 

Since the law took effect nearly two years ago, there have been complaints that it’s been enforced disproportionately with Black people. Some have said it’s been used as one more excuse to stop and search their vehicles. Data from the first few months after the law went into effect backs up that claim before that data stopped being reported by race.

Is the law going beyond its intended purpose?

The Florida state lawmaker who sponsored the legislation says the purpose is to help put an end to “popup parties” where drivers would gather in one spot, often in a residential area, and crank up their music. However, the law allows police to pull people over and cite them anywhere they’re driving or parked.

Although it’s considered a nonmoving violation, citations can easily run over $100. Some drivers say they’ve received multiple citations, sometimes in one day. Those who have businesses that rely on open-air carts to shuttle tourists and others also say that it’s all too easy for them to violate the law.

Whether you believe you’ve been wrongfully cited for this offense or your traffic stop led to a search, arrest and charge for another offense, it’s crucial to protect your rights. Having legal guidance can help you do that.