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Statute Favoring Blaring Ads Violates First Amendment
Description An Illinois statute restricted sound from vehicles except for emergency or for advertising. Appeals court held the statute unconstitutional as a content-based regulation that does not meet strict scrutiny.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words First Amendment; Speech
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Jones was convicted of violating an Illinois statute that said: "No driver of any motor vehicle within this State shall operate or permit operation of any sound amplification system which can be heard outside the vehicle from 75 or more feet when the vehicle is being operated upon a highway..." except in cases of emergency or for vehicles engaged in advertising. Jones appealed his conviction.
Decision Reversed. The statute is unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment. The statute is content-based as to the type of speech controlled, and therefore is subject to strict scrutiny. No compelling reason exists for discriminating between loud commercial and noncommercial speech. The state has a substantial interest in protecting its citizens from unwelcome noise on the streets, but this statute improperly discriminates among kinds of speech.
Citation People v. Jones, 702 N.E.2d 984 (App. Ct., Ill., 1998)

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