On December 13, 2012 St. Pete lawyer Richard Catalano won his five year battle against the state of Florida’s law prohibiting loud noise. In his lawsuit, Catalano claimed that he was ticketed for blasting Justin Timberlake at an unlawful noise level. Fortunately for him, his legal argument was better than his taste in music.
Catalona specifically challenged the constitutionality of Florida Statute 316.3045 which prohibits the amplification of sound from within a vehicle so that it is plainly audible at a distance of twenty-five feet or more from the vehicle, but exempts vehicles used for business or political purposes. After working its way up to the state’s highest court, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the statute was an unconstitutional restriction on freedom of expression and is unconstitutionally over-broad. The court further pointed out that the statute is content based because it treats commercial and political speech more favorably than noncommercial speech. Thus, requiring the state to show there was a compelling government interest requiring disparate treatment of commercial or political speech vs. amplified music. Ultimately it was a burden the state was unable to meet.
So for the time being, whether it’s Justin Timberlake or Justin Bieber, feel free to crank up the volume. Just don’t be surprised if you get a few strange looks.
For further information on this topic, or any other legal issue, do not hesitate to contact the Tampa Attorneys at Anton Castro Law.