People tend to have music when entertaining. Many people also like to listen to music while they're driving in their vehicles. However, these activities can go from fun to illegal very quickly. Florida has specific laws regarding noise violations and sound ordinances. There's no single set of laws, however, since noise ordinances are established and enforced at county or city level.
Music in the Home
In most Florida municipalities, it is illegal to produce music that can be clearly heard from 50 feet or more by others who are not in your home or apartment between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Further, music cannot be produced at any time that can be heard at 300 feet or more with windows and doors closed. A problem with this is the method used to "measure music." Decibel readers can often be wrong with ambient or background noise pulling up on the meters as well. Therefore, the law enforcement officer must rely on his normal hearing functions, which can make the violation very subjective. If a police officer comes to your home or apartment based on a noise violation, you have five minutes to "comply with the warning" and turn your music down. If you do not comply, you can be fined by the municipality for breach of the peace. In Jacksonville, for example, the penalty is a fine of up to $500 or 90 days in jail, or both.
Music in Cars
Florida motorists can be fined for playing loud music in their cars. According to Florida law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your music can be heard within 25 feet or more of your vehicle. You can also be fined if your music is too loud around surrounding churches or schools. This fine is considered a noncriminal infraction. The fine is $30, plus court cost assessment.
When the Laws Do Not Apply
Under the Florida Statute on motor vehicles there are several exemptions. Locomotives, agricultural equipment and emergency signals from emergency vehicles or sirens are exempt. Also, the human voice (as long as it's not amplified), law enforcement training and activities, outdoor hunting sports and organized athletic events are also considered to be exempt from this law.
City vs. State Regulations
Different cities and counties within the state of Florida may have different ordinances regarding noise laws. It is important to know that state law can be upheld over local laws. However, in previous cases, the local laws on noise violations were stricter than the state laws. The state of Florida has changed its previous noise laws to be more compliant with the stricter laws of the local communities. Any police officer in the state of Florida can impound your car and levy a fine if your loud music can be heard within only 25 feet.
Florida noise control laws ban music between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m that can be heard from 50 feet away. Individual cities have the power to set their own requirements.
Andrea Griffith has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published by the "Western Herald," Detroit WDIV, USAToday and other print, broadcast and online publications. Although she writes about a wide range of topics, her areas of expertise include fashion, beauty, technology and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Western Michigan University.