Fines for noise disturbances in Cape Girardeau increased for first-time offenders

Friday, May 29, 2009

Those who are cited for noise disturbances in Cape Girardeau will be shelling out a little more in fines this summer.

The city's municipal code allows a range of $1 to $500 penalty for violations of Cape Girardeau's noise ordinances, but typically first-time offenders face a standard penalty of about $55, which works out to about $80 after court costs, said municipal judge Teresa Bright-Pearson.

The judge still has full discretion over each case and evaluates what the fine should be based on factors like prior offenses and the severity of the infraction, but the set fine serves as a general guideline.

"That's just something I do for the purpose of consistency," Bright-Pearson said.

Bright-Pearson said she recently increased the fine to about $100, including court fees.

Her decision was based on looking at what the fines are in cities of a comparable size, she said.

It's been at least four years since the fines for noise infractions have been raised, Bright-Pearson said.

She said she had noticed that more noise violation cases were passing through municipal court and hopes the heftier fines will serve as a deterrent, she said.

Noise violations tend to spike during summer months, and in the past raising the amount people have to pay for an infraction has worked in deterring them from repeating the offense, Bright-Pearson said.

Cape Girardeau's municipal code prevents the use of any radio, television, amplifier or similar stereo device that can be heard from a distance of 50 feet or more between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The quiet hour time and 50-foot rule also apply to any sort of loud mechanical or demolition work, operating motor vehicles or power equipment, and keeping any particularly noisy animals or birds.

bdicosmo@semissourian

388-3635

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