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Clay County to start enforcing loud music law, will ticket drivers

Two days after Jacksonville police said it's going to start enforcing a state statute making it illegal to blast your music, Clay County says it will do the same.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — *The above video was originally published Wednesday, June 22.

Turn down for what?

Because the police may give you a ticket. Two days after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it's going to start enforcing a state law making it illegal to play your music too loud, Clay County authorities said Thursday it'll do the same.

Clay County Sheriff's Office posted the identical tweet Thursday that Jacksonville police posted on Tuesday which states the agency will begin enforcing the law July 1.

The tweet states:

It's time to lower the volume on your car radio. Starting July 1, F.S.S. 316.3045 will become enforceable once again. What does this mean?

You will have to listen to your radio at a volume NOT plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from your motor vehicle.

For reference, here are a few examples of things that are 25 feet long:

  • Four refrigerators vertically in a row
  • Five park benches
  • Four adult males
  • A two-car garage

RELATED: In Jacksonville, turn down the volume, or turn up the chances of getting a ticket!

Jacksonville lawyer John Phillips has represented clients in cases relating to loud music. Here's what he had to say: 

“In addition to being irreconcilably vague, this law is ripe for racially biased enforcement,” Phillips said from his Jacksonville, Florida law office. “Further, the Florida Supreme Court has already been critical of the prior version of this law. It’s why JSO said ‘once again,’ as the prior version was held unconstitutional. It held 316.3045(1)(a) was invalid because it was an unreasonable restriction on the freedom of expression; (2) held that the statute was unconstitutionally overbroad, but not unconstitutionally vague; and (3) found that section 316.3045(3) was not severable from the remainder of the statute.”

"Police officers aren’t constitutional scholars- far from," Phillips said. "Making them enforce an illegal or poorly written law gives them a license to use it and abuse it. One of several concerns is police pulling over people of color for subjectively loud music and then finding evidence of other crimes or creating a confrontation that could end in tragedy- over music. The First Amendment doesn’t allow this restriction and the Florida Supreme Court has said it clearly.”

Read below to see the entire state statute:

316.3045 Operation of radios or other mechanical soundmaking devices or instruments in vehicles; exemptions.—

(1) It is unlawful for any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle on a street or highway to operate or amplify the sound produced by a radio, tape player, or other mechanical soundmaking device or instrument from within the motor vehicle so that the sound is:(a) Plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle; or(b) Louder than necessary for the convenient hearing by persons inside the vehicle in areas adjoining churches, schools, or hospitals.(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law enforcement motor vehicle equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of law enforcement duties or to any emergency vehicle equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of any emergency procedures.(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to motor vehicles used for business or political purposes, which in the normal course of conducting such business use soundmaking devices. The provisions of this subsection shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from regulating the time and manner in which such business may be operated.(4) The provisions of this section do not apply to the noise made by a horn or other warning device required or permitted by s. 316.271. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall promulgate rules defining “plainly audible” and establish standards regarding how sound should be measured by law enforcement personnel who enforce the provisions of this section.(5) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

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