NOISE VIOLATION

THE LAW

Most municipalities have similar noise ordinances. These are typically based on a reasonable person standard and a footage, meaning noise can rise to the level of a criminal charge if a reasonable person would find the noise too loud, or if you can hear the noise by standing a certain amount of feet away from your property line. Using Columbus as an example, Columbus City Code 2329.11(C)(1) states:

"No person shall make or allow to be made any unreasonably loud and/or raucous noise in such a manner or at such a volume as to disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of a person of ordinary sensibilities. Strict liability is intended to be imposed for this section.

(2) In addition to the prohibition set out in (C)(1), the following specific acts are declared to be in violation of this ordinance:

  • (a) No person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system, auditory device, or stationary sound source from real property that is zoned residential in a manner as to be heard at a distance of fifty (50) feet beyond the property line of the property from which the sound emanates. Strict liability is intended to be imposed for this section.
  • (b) Where there are two (2) or more residential units contained within one (1) structure within a property zoned residential, no person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system, auditory device, or stationary sound source in a manner as to be heard within said structure at a distance of twenty-five (25) feet beyond the property line of the residential unit from which the sound emanates. Strict liability is intended to be imposed for this section.
  • (c) Where there are adjoining properties that are zoned residential, each of which has a residential unit, and where the residential units are located within fifty (50) feet of one another, no person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system, auditory device, or stationary sound source in a manner as to be heard at a distance of twenty-five (25) feet onto the adjoining residential property. Strict liability is intended to be imposed for this section."

THE PUNISHMENT

A violation of a municipal noise ordinance is typically a minor misdemeanor (meaning the lowest misdemeanor). Punishment can be up to a maximum of $150 fine, plus court costs. If you have a previous noise violation, or fail to stop the noise if law enforcement requests you to do so, it can rise to a fourth degree misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and up to $250 fine, plus court costs. 

TIPS TO AVOID CONVICTION

  • If you are going to be hosting a loud event on your property, let your neighbors know ahead of time. Provide them with your cell phone number to call if they have any issues, in the hope they will call you before the cops;
  • Invite your neighbors to your loud event;
  • If you know your neighbors may be out of town, schedule your event for that time;
  • Avoid having outdoor speakers or amps; 
  • Ask your city for a license or permit if you are having an event that may qualify for such; 
  • If your event is out of hand, over crowded, or seems loud, ask people to move inside, quiet down, or leave; and
  • Call your lawyer if you have any questions!

We provide no charge issue assessments at your place or ours. Call/text Leslie at 614.403.7356 or email Leslie@AWLawOhio.com