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How Loud is Too Loud? Florida

Go ahead , crank up those QSCs, louder, come on they’re 1000 watts !! But wait, what time is it? Depending where you live , you, the DJ maybe breaking the law. 

The Noise Act 1996 states that the hours of “night” are 11pm to 7am so technically loud music from a party should be turned off, or at the very least down at 11pm. However, if you and your neighbour can come to an arrangement as to when the music is turned off, then this will probably save a lot of upset all around.

What is considered a Noise Disturbance?

A noise disturbance is sound that meets any of these three criteria: (1) Disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities; (2) Exceeds the sound level limit set forth in the ordinance, as measured by a sound level meter; and (3) Is plainly audible, which is defined as noise that can be heard a minimum of 300 feet from the property. This type of noise includes amplified music, musical instruments, televisions, radios and non-amplified human voices (“yelling, shouting, whistling” ). Exemptions are often made for special events and permitting processes’

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. 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 depending on how sensitive he or she is to loud music. If a police officer comes to your home or apartment based on a noise violation, you have five minutes to “comply with the warning” this means if you are the homeowner and have hired a DJ you must instruct him to lower the music . 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.

What to do if you are the DJ?

Turn it Down” is the advice given by the officers I spoke to ” The homeowner, even if he is paying you for your services cannot order you to violate a noise ordinance” If you ignore the requests to lower it , then the focus is on you as the violator and not the homeowner. The officer usually gives a WARNING if he returns he can cite the DJ and seize the gear and take it to impound. The officer I spoke to told me he could do this right of the bat , but there is usually a warning first as a courtesy. It might even be a good idea when DJing a house party to include something in the contract that says you will obey  local noise restrictions after certain times. Protect yourself and your gear , comply.

Alex Gutierrez

 

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