Are Houston Cops Looking to Enforce Noise Ordinance on Slow Nights?

by dave on June 18, 2012

A recent blog post at Free Press Houston shines a light on Houston police and just how they might be looking to make arrests, even when none are warranted. Perhaps it was a slow night in the city when they arrested Lauren Garcia for being intoxicated on her own property. But the official charges were that she violated a noise ordinance, something hardly worth an overnight in jail.

According to the report, Garcia, of Woodland Heights, is speaking out to warn her fellow Houston residents that the police are willing to sort of smear the lines of the law in order to enforce this new ordinance.

She was hosting a party for her 30th birthday on June 9 when the police came around 11 p.m. on complaints that a live D.J. was playing music too loudly. After they left, Garcia moved the party indoors to quell some of the noise.

About an hour later, the cops returned, walked into Garcia’s back yard and searched her home for drugs. They told her she needed to shut down the party. According to Free Press Houston, “There were no drugs on her property, and everyone at the party was of-age. No one was even out of hand or actin’ a fool.”

Garcia refused to shut down the party and suggested the officers go ahead and give her a ticket so they could be on their way. Instead, they put her in handcuffs, telling her that she was being cuffed to “intimidate” the party goers and get them off of the property.

But she was put in the squad car where a cop called his Sargent to see if there were any charges they could use against her. She was taken into custody for being intoxicated, despite not having been given a breath test or any sobriety test at all, and being on her own property at the time.

They were likely hoping that Garcia would be belligerent when they were harassing her on her own property. At least then they could arrest her for disorderly conduct.

She spent the night in jail and was not released until 1 o’clock the following afternoon. When she went before the judge, the official charges against her were: “violation of noise ordinance, and making noise known by sound and vibration.”

Is violating a noise ordinance a serious offense? Not hardly. And it’s hardly something to spend a night in jail over. But sometimes people are arrested for things that they could be merely cited to court for. Depending on the arresting officer, you could be taken into custody on relatively minor misdemeanor charges, and left to have the matter sorted out in court.

It’s the job of your defense lawyer to help you when your case gets to that point. Whether you are accused of disorderly conduct or something more serious, we may be able to help. Contact our offices for a free consultation today.

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