Ann Henderson  / Eagle Correspondent
November 17, 2005

SAMSON - Two local residents discovered Tuesday the fine for turning up the volume on a car stereo is not cheap.

After entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor non-traffic citation, the judge assessed the fine and court costs at $424 for each offender. "The judge was willing to listen to the city council," said Tracy Wise, magistrate for Samson Municipal Court. During a discussion about high decibels and obscene lyrics on Oct. 18, the city council agreed to ask the fine be raised from $50 to $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second. Court costs are $174 for any conviction. The council had wanted the fine for each subsequent offense to increase by $250, but state law sets a maximum of $500 for a misdemeanor. Council member Ronald Davis expressed concern about teenagers traveling through Samson enroute to the Florida beaches who may be stopped for loud music. But city attorney Neil Griswold said the judge has the discretion on the amount assessed. "That person would not have known about the ordinance," he said. "We are trying to change the behavior of local residents. We are not trying to take a cannon to a fly (visitor)."

Wise said about four noise complaints are signed each month by police officers. She also said a citizen can sign a complaint about a loud car stereo. But the complaint must have the name of the driver, the model of vehicle and tag number.