In response to chronic noise complaints from neighborhoods along Woodward Avenue in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills police departments in Birmingham, the City of Bloomfield Hills, and Bloomfield Township have all begun enhanced enforcement of noise ordinances in relation to noisy vehicles. These departments are adding patrol officers, sometimes on overtime, to solely address the issue of noise along Woodward. As summer approaches, look for this enforcement to increase. Some departments, including Bloomfield Hills, are issuing misdemeanor tickets for noise-related offenses which carry up to 90 days in jail, and fines up to $500.
Any misdemeanor should be avoided and challenged. The 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills is where all of these cases will be processed. This court is well known as one of the toughest courts in one of the toughest counties in Michigan. Although it is unlikely anyone will receive actual jail time over noise-related offenses, these misdemeanor courts have great discretion about what punishment to impose. For drivers with a checkered past or bad driving record, the last thing you want is a judge getting creative with how to punish you for a loud exhaust system. If you happen to find yourself being charged with violating a noise ordinance or committing a noise-related misdemeanor, the need for an aggressive criminal defense attorney is critical.
At Michigan Defense Law, noise ordinance violations defense lawyer Paul J. Tafelski and his team of attorneys may be able to help. Having skilled attorneys and legal professionals work with you in this situation may be able to help you receive a more favorable outcome.
Contact us today to get more information on what your next steps should be.
These noise violation misdemeanors are sometimes defensible. Generally, if you have a stock exhaust system on your vehicle you have something to work within your defense. Even without a stock system, there may be confusion over whether the vehicle making the noise actually belonged to you. Challenging these issues surrounding the noise complaint can result in a much better outcome. A negotiated reduction to a non-moving violation civil infraction, for example, eliminates the opportunity for a judge to impose punishment other than a standard fine. From a cost standpoint, it is unlikely to be worthwhile for you to take your case to trial but with a misdemeanor noise violation, you would have that right. In fact, you would have all of the constitutional rights provided for any criminal misdemeanor.
The legal process for misdemeanors is different than for civil infractions. Misdemeanors begin with an arraignment where you are made aware of the charges against you and asked to submit a plea. Where relevant, bond conditions may be set to ensure your attendance in court and protect the public where appropriate. For drivers with a history of non-appearance at court dates, there could be a cash bond set. With a cash bond, you are required to post that amount of money with the court to stay out of jail. Now, any bond in this type of case would result in incarceration while the case is pending in theory these potential problems exist with all misdemeanors.
This enhanced enforcement of local noise ordinance in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham is a direct result of community complaints. Throughout the year, but especially in the summer, drivers of exotic cars, classic cars, and street racer motorcycles have found their way to Woodward Avenue. There is probably no area more replete with these types of vehicles than Woodward Avenue between 14 Mile Road and Square Lake Road. Many of these vehicles have loud stock exhaust systems or modified exhaust systems that are very loud and make a lot of loud noises. Some also have very loud stereos. The combination of these vehicles moving down the road simultaneously has created extreme noise for the neighborhoods along Woodward. The traffic can be heard over a mile away in many places. Generally, these are expensive homes owned by people who have grown increasingly frustrated by the constant disruption. This new enforcement strategy is not being undertaken as a money grab by the police. Rather, it is their effort to discourage people from congregating in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills year-round with their noisy vehicles. They want the word to get out that they enforce noise violations. This same police watching for loud cars will also be looking for people drag racing, driving carelessly, or engaging in reckless driving. There will not be many warnings given out since the entire mission of many of the officers assigned to this patrol is to write tickets.
It is possible to see cars on the roads with tinted windows and additional lighting. Although auto enthusiasts may love the extras on their cars, the Michigan Vehicle Code outlines car modifications laws must be adhered to for safety.
Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.707c stipulates that all cars must have mufflers that are in good working order and free from leaks or holes. The Code does not allow amplifiers or other modifications to increase noise emissions. From 50 feet away, the decibels generated by a vehicle cannot exceed:
Michigan Vehicle Code Section 256.706 requires that vehicles have a horn that can emit sound at normal distances of no less than 200 feet. It also prohibits the use of sirens, whistles, or bells on vehicles unless it is permitted.
It is important for any individual facing noise violations should seek the help of an experienced attorney. Having a skilled lawyer to defend a client against a noise complaint may help them avoid penalties that may have a huge impact on their daily life.
Michigan Defense Law is a Bloomfield Hills-based criminal defense firm with a team of motor vehicle offenses attorneys that has successfully represented drivers accused of misdemeanor noise violation offenses in Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, and Bloomfield Township. We have regularly practiced in the 48th District Court for over 20 years. Our office is one mile from the courthouse.
If you have received a Misdemeanor Noise Violation and are interested in representation, please contact us today at (248) 451-2200. Do not delay. There are time constraints on these matters.