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ASK A COP — What are the penalties for having loud or no muffler on a vehicle?

Gregg from Pasadena asks: I live in a senior citizens apartment complex in the Pasadena area. Several years ago, there was a law against having a loud or no muffler on your vehicle. All hours of the day and night, this crap goes on and I swear it sounds like the “Pasadena 500” (Indy 500). The apartment complex faces a major freeway, so these so-called drivers race to get to the entrance ramp to the freeway and down the service road. I’m ready to call Pasadena PD and raise holy you-know-what and see if they can curb this insanity. They could really break some records in issuing citations. I would be interested in hearing your input to this situation.

 

Answer: Wow, sorry you’re having to deal with such a noise nuisance in your city of Pasadena, but I’m sure there are citizens in Port Arthur and surrounding communities that can surely echo your sentiments. There’s still a law in the Texas Transportation Code regarding a loud muffler. But having to deal with car muffler noise is not really clear to law enforcement officers since Texas lacks specific decibel guidance. The code only states “excessive and unusual” is the applicable standard. In the case regarding Aguilar v. State of Texas, a Texas appellate court reviewed a constitutional challenge claiming the language was vague and difficult to enforce since Texas Transportation Code section 547.604 does not specify a decibel level. The court rejected this challenge, noting the terms “imply that noise must be outside normal standards for motor vehicles, which ordinary persons can objectively determine.” The nuisance of the Pasadena 500 may have to be brought before the council of Pasadena to draft an ordinance to prohibit loud muffler noise that’s more restrictive than what the state of Texas Transportation Code states. I’d suggest that you definitely give your local police department of Pasadena a call to notify them of the noise nuisance you’re experiencing in your area.

 

Lino from Port Arthur asks: I recently lost my whole wallet, searched everywhere and can’t find it. I guess I don’t have to tell you that my Texas Driver License was in my lost wallet. I am a hardworking man who works every day and don’t have much down time to get my license from the Driver License department. Since I do have a good driver license that’s not expired, can I drive my car until I get my license?

 

Answer: It’s not me losing my wallet, today it’s more like keys, cellphone, glasses, train of thought … Lino, you advised you are a current Texas Driver License holder who is no longer in possession of the license. Well I’m sorry to inform you, you’re in violation of state law if you operate your vehicle without your license in your possession. Anytime you drive a vehicle on the roads of Texas, you MUST have your Driver License with you, no matter the distance you’re traveling. So many motorists say they were just going to make a quick run, but wind up encountering law enforcement and can’t identify themselves or provide a driver license when demanded by law enforcement officers.

 

James from Groves asks: If I get a ticket on a Monday for one of my brake lights being out. I don’t get paid until Friday, so I’m unable to make the necessary repair immediately. Can I continue to drive the car and just keep the ticket I’ve already received as proof that I’ve already been ticketed in case I’m stopped again?

 

Answer: I’ve heard of this scenario a time or two before. If you’re issued a citation (ticket) by a police officer for an equipment violation in Texas, it is your responsibility to make the necessary repairs as soon as possible. If they can’t be made, you should NOT continue to operate that vehicle until such repairs are made. James think about it this way, if you’re traveling down Twin City Highway for lunch and you’re stopped and cited by a police officer for speeding, and when you get off only hours later, you’re speeding again down Twin City Highway, will producing the prior citation to the police officer stop you from being issued a second citation? Remember, you can be issued a citation every time you operate a vehicle on the roads of Texas that has a violation committed within the sight of a police officer.

 

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. as discusses the Ask A Cop article. Tune in at ksapthebreeze.org and call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!