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Old 11-19-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
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Modified Exhaust Ticket - My trial and the outcome

Greetings all. I checked out the "Ask the Law" section and since I'm not asking any questions, I thought I'd post this here. The reason I'm posting it is to make everyone in the tuner community aware of what is happening since my situation is applicable to everyone in PA (and possibly other states as well). If I win my appeal, it will establish precedence for all of us in regard to our AEM exhausts. I apologize for just posting a link, but it is much easier since I previously explained everything elsewhere in detail.


http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/tri-st...ml#post2388003


I appreciate you taking the time to check it out.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:40 PM   #2
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Thanks guys...I'll update my status after my next trial.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92sileighty View Post
these tickets are so stupid, i hope u win, and i don't see why since there is no decibel level for an exhaust in pa from what i understand, or from what my uncle, who's a chief of police, tells me
Actually there is, but he would have needed to have been trained, which he admitted under oath he is not, and needed certified and calibrated instrumentation, which he admitted under oath he did not use nor have.


Here's the law references in case you wanted to check them out:

Legal Exhaust Criteria in PA:
http://www.dot3.state.pa.us/pdotform.../chapter45.pdf

Noise Level Criteria and Measurement Procedures in PA:
http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/067/067toc.html

...specifically, Chapter 157.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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All very true. The absurdity made it feel like I was on a hidden camera show. I testified that my exhaust was for performance, stated (under oath) how it improved gas milage by 2 mpg for both city and highway driving, and he still said that. It was ridiculous. he also made a derogatory comment when I started to quote Title 67 and Noise Regulations... he said "I've read title 67 more times than you've read History books." WTF? How does HE know what I've read and how many times I've read it? Not that I would make my situation worse, but I would have loved to have said, "Wow, considering I have a pH.D in History and am a professor at a local college, that's very impressive." lol I don't have my pH.D and I'm a scientist not a history professor, but I entertained the idea in my head which made me chuckle. It was ignorant of him to say something like that which is a shining example of the mentallity of both the judge and cop I was dealing with.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
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I don't have the supporting documentation, but I believe that the white lines they use are what local cops can use to determine speed. I'm not sure about the range, but for radar in PA, you have to be going at least 6 miles over the speed limit for them to give you a ticket. The guns are calibrated +/- 5mph hence the need to be going 6mph over for them to give you a ticket. (Don't quote me on this one, though).

They can give you a ticket for going 1mph over the speed limit if they are pacing you in their car since that is "supposedly" perfectly calibrated. lol I don't know how long they have to follow you for nor do I know how closely they need to be when following you...all of which can cause a significant shift in accuracy.

For a -PA Vechile Code- violation, they need the decibel meter... :P

In PA, there is no RPM specification/requirement when performing the measurement, so you can throw it in 5th/6th gear and cruise on by to easily pass the test. :P

I've called the State Police in Schwenksville, and they didn't have any of the EQ to do the measurement nor did they know of anyone who did! I'm still calling around to local places that do inspections (my dealer didn't have the EQ nor did ICY Phoenix Racing), but I doubt I'll find any there. The decibel meters needed to meet the PA requirements for EQ type run about $4000, so finding one in a local garage is doubtful. The cop suggested that I try a local VoTech school and pointed out that the person doing the measurement need only be "properly trained" and thus does not need to be a cop.

Last edited by Vez; 12-01-2008 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marecco View Post
i think what he is trying to say is they cant just guess your decibel level by human ear
At the risk of repeating myself for those of you who read all of my posts...

In 1977, PA specifically revoked the cops ability to judge how loud your exhaust is by just listening to it and instituted all of the requirements making it near impossible for cops to legally give you a PA Vehicle Code violation for a loud exhaust. Instead, some cops do underhanded side-stepping of the law by giving you other citations for the same thing...like Disorderly Conduct as it is in my situation. :P
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:20 PM   #7
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First Set of dB Readings

So, thanks to rexbro, (thank you again) he leant me his dB meter. I was able to complete some of the dB testing; I plan on finishing the tests tomorrow.

In accordance with the site, meter, and general test conditions as described in Title 67 pf the PA Vehicle Code, I took measured dB levels of my car. After completing tests on gears 1-3, I have proven that I would need to hit at least 6000 rpms in each gear to be in violation. Consequently, there is no possible way that I was even close to being in violation under normal driving conditions. The car can be and is, easily driven under the legal noise levels. I would need to be shifting past 6000 RPMs in at least the first 3 gears, to be in violation of the law.

As a reminder, on a hard site, driving 35 MPH or less, the legal dB level is 78 or less...driving >35 MPH, the limit is 84 dB.

Test Conditions:
10:00AM, intermittent 10mph WSW winds (which is within the test parameters), 54 degrees F, 71% humidity, Ambient Noise Levels: <50dB.

The following numbers are in the format (RPMs/MPH/dB).

1st Gear: (1000/<5/58), (2000/6/62), (3000/16/70), (4000/22/72), (5000/26/75), (6000/33/80)

2nd Gear: (1000/~7/60), (2000/18/63), (3000/25/71), (4000/35/76), (5000/42/78), (6000/51/84)

3rd Gear: (2000/26/67), (3000/38/74), (4000/51/79), (5000/63/82), (6000/75/85)

4th Gear: (2000/34/68)

Based on this preliminary data:
driving 45 MPH in 2rd gear produces ~78 dB.
driving 45 MPH in 3rd gear produces ~76 dB.

One can assume the driving 45 MPH in 4-6 gears will produce even quieter results.

I tested 10 different passing vehicles (in a 45 MPH speed zone). The dB average of these vehicles was 71 dB. Normally, going 45 MPH, I'm either in 4th or 5th, which gives me better gas milage. That would put me around 73 dB...louder than the average, but by only 2 dB. Limit...84....me ~73, WELL within my legal rights and far from the legal limit giving no cause to suspect an illegal exhaust. Additionally, you can see that if I were in stop-and-go traffic or low-speed traffic, I would probably be either 2nd or 3rd gear...while these may be approaching the noise limits, they are still well within the limits, and thus, legal.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:21 PM   #8
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Rest of the dB Readings

Again, measurements taken from 50'...

Idle: 54 dB
Horn: 84
4th Gear@45MPH: 75
5th Gear@45MPH: 72
6th Gear@45MPH: 69

So, like I've previously stated, when I'm at 45 MPH I'm either in 4th or 5th gear. This puts me at an average of 73.5 dB...2.5dB over the average I found. I truly believe the lower pitch of the exhaust note, especially in the lower gears, makes it sound "louder", and it may actually be louder than a stock STI exhaust... albeit not by much, but I think it's this lower pitch which produces the effect that makes it seemingly sound louder.

My other measurements:
4th@3k RPM: 75
4th@4k RPM: 76
4th@5k RPM: 82

5th@2k RPM: 71
5th@3k RPM: 76
5th@4k RPM: 79

6th@2k RPM: 71
6th@3k RPM: 80

Based on the actual test results, I made the following approximations:
(Approximately) (Approximately)
1st Gear@30MPH 77 5500
2nd Gear@30MPH 74 3500
3rd Gear@30MPH 69 2500
4th Gear@30MPH - -
5th Gear@30MPH - -
6th Gear@30MPH - -


1st Gear@45MPH - -
2nd Gear@45MPH 81 5500
3rd Gear@45MPH 80 4500
(Actual)(Approximately)
4th Gear@45MPH 76 2500
5th Gear@45MPH 72 2250
6th Gear@45MPH 69

Last edited by Vez; 02-25-2009 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:22 PM   #9
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The Trial Outcome!

Commonwealth of PA..........0
Car Enthusiasts..................1

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll post more details for those of you interested.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:22 PM   #10
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The Day Before the Trial:
BlueHeavenWRX’s friend who’s in law school took it upon himself to prepare my arguments for me!!! This victory is a direct result of his help. Wednesday, he sends me the 4 cases he used in my defense, a summary sheet which gave the reason behind the trials and the legal precedence set by their rulings, and a page with 3 arguments as to why I should win. He instructed me to make 3 copies of everything…give the judge a copy of the cases and the summary sheet and the other side a copy of the cases (let them try and find the referenced points themselves) and highlight the points in the copies given to the judge. I must say, THIS is why people hire a lawyer.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:23 PM   #11
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“Good morning Worm your Honor. The Crown will plainly show the prisoner who now stands before you…” :
BlueHeavenWRX and I are there waiting for the judge, Judge Smith, (old guy, seemingly reasonable and calm) who is 15 minutes late. A bunch of other trials went before us but they flew through them and I guess that since I was the only person there actually arguing my defense, they saved me for last. Before trials started, I learned that it’s not just the cop but apparently, an assistant DA I will be sitting across from. I find this out because she approached me and said, “The officer decided to change this to a Vehicles Code citation instead. Would you like that?” I said, “No, thank you.” Pfft…that might have been easier since I could simply say he never took a dB measurement and therefore should be immediately be thrown out, but these arguments were great AND they included that point.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:23 PM   #12
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The cop on the Stand:
She calls the cop to the stand (everything we knew about appeals structure, which was next to nothing, pointed to no witnesses and merely 2 parties stating their cases for 10-30 minutes, the judge asking questions, and that’s it). So, this was a little surprise. On the stand he testifies that my exhaust is louder than an regular one, that there were row homes 5-6 feet away from the road and that he was in the pool supply parking lot when he heard me. He was asked to describe my exhaust and in the process said it was 4” wide….so I started smiling and shaking my head for him to see me and he stuttered and changed it to about 4”. You were able to tell he didn’t have a good feeling about any of this. I get to cross examine him

“Officer, during the last trial, where did you say where you were when you heard me?” “I spoke in error during the last trial.” “So, you’re saying that while you were under oath, you said you were certain you were passing me when you heard me. I then asked if you remembered telling me, after you pulled me over, you were in the pool supply parking lot when you heard me, and you told me you remembered no such thing.” “I spoke in error during the last trial.” “Yes, you did and you were certain of your answer.” “You said my exhaust is louder than a regular exhaust. What is the average dB level of a regular exhaust?” “I don’t know” “Oh…that’s okay. What is the dB level of MY exhaust?” “I don’t know.” “Did you take any measurements?” “No.” “You also mentioned row homes 5-6’ away from the road. Did you know that according to Chapter 157, Title 67, that any obstruction, even as small as a mailbox, can amplify sound and that these regulations have specific adjustments to compensate for such increases?” “No.” “I have no further questions.”
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #13
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My Turn:
I start to read the prepared arguments. I can hear the ADA shuffling through the cases trying to find the points I was referencing. I had to stifle a chuckle because the highlighter trick worked perfectly. I read the first argument, why if anything, this should be a Vehicles Code citation and not a Criminal Code citation. I noticed another attorney sitting there smiling. She was beaming, grinning ear to ear because I guess she had already predicted the outcome of the trial based on the preparedness of the first argument. Lol I read the second argument which focused on even if you could give a DC citation for an exhaust, this still wouldn’t be a valid case. At the end of it, I added that I have a list of 15 places I tried calling for dB to do my own testing. I listed 2 State Police barracks and 4 other local stations, one of which I pointed out was Officer Fusco’s…Phoenixville. I said I conducted the tests precisely to spec according to Chapter 157, have pics, verified weather conditions, etc. and have shown that my car’s exhaust is perfectly legal in all appropriate gears while going both 30mph and 45mph as well as data for most RPMS in each gear. This evidence was objected (and sustained) for whatever reason…can’t remember, but I had planned for that possibility. Even if it were rejected, I showed my willingness to find the truth, my thoroughness , and truly believed my results proved what I was saying.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #14
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The Conclusion:
He stopped me right there. He didn’t even let me get to the 3rd argument!!! “You’ve already more than established reasonable doubt, you don’t need to say anything else. I’m ruling in your favor.” He ended it by saying, “Okay, your exhaust is legal, but it’s louder than normal. Why don’t just put on your stock exhaust, okay?” This is the moment I’m most proud of…I simply said, “Yes Sir, thank you.” I really wanted to say, “I shouldn’t have to change anything if I’m perfectly legal. These kinds of cops should learn what the law actually is and enforce it properly.” I knew that at that point, there was nothing I could say that wouldn’t worsen things for myself, so I bit my tongue.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:28 PM   #15
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Part 1/2

The Arguments:
I asked and received permission to pass this along to everyone. Here are the prepared arguments!!


Arguments outline

1. Exhaust noise is specifically governed by Title 75 (the vehicle code)
 The general assembly of Pennsylvania explicitly provided that noise emissions are to be governed by Title 75. The legislature set forth precise guidelines for permissible levels of noise emitted from vehicles, and set forth detailed guidelines for evaluating whether a vehicle is in conformity with such levels.

 The opinion of the Superior Court in Commonwealth v. Bailey explains the changes that the legislature took in 1977 to ensure that the enforcement of levels was a purely objective endeavor. Prior to 1977 a driver could be cited for excessive noise emissions if “two peace officers” concluded that the noise level was too high. Because this was simply too subjective to establish any meaningful uniformity in enforcement, the legislature moved to the purely objective standards of the present day vehicle code. The standards are listed in Bailey as well as the procedures for enforcing them

 CONCLUSION: noise emitted from vehicles is explicitly governed by Title 75 (Vehicle code), NOT Title 18 (Crimes Code). Therefore the legislature preempted localities from regulating vehicle noise levels by other means. Such conduct clearly falls within the purview of the vehicle code, and it is improper for the police to circumvent the mandates of the vehicle code and its objective methods of enforcement by resort the crimes code.
o This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that I have been unable to find a single case from the appellate courts of Pennsylvania that recognize a disorderly conduct/unreasonable noise citation for vehicle noise emissions. Yet there is an abundance of cases upholding citations under the Vehicle Code for excessive noise emissions.

2. Even if the police were permitted to issue citations for unreasonable noise under the disorderly conduct statute, the noise emitted from my car does not amount to “unreasonable noise” as defined by the courts of Pennsylvania.

 The courts of Pennsylvania have held that unreasonable noise is noise that is “not fitting or in respect to the conventional standards of organized society or a legally constituted community.” (Commonwealth v. Hock, Commonwealth v. Maerz, Commonwealth v. Gilbert).
o Question: how can a vehicle that is in compliance with the noise levels set forth in the vehicle code produce noise that is “not fitting or in respect to the conventional standards of organized society?”

o Answer: it can’t. By definition the “conventional standard” governing vehicle noise levels is the levels set forth in Title 75. Because the legislature has established the “standards” of acceptable noise emissions from vehicles, any car that is in compliance with such standards at a minimum fits within the conventional standards of organized society, and as a matter of law CANNOT be guilty of disorderly conduct.

 CONCLUSION: assuming that the police are permitted to regulate vehicle noise emissions by means of the disorderly conduct statute, the standard of “unreasonable noise” articulated by the Supreme Court has not been satisfied in this case. If my vehicle is in compliance with the noise emission levels established in the Vehicle Code than it is certainly in conformity with the ‘conventional standards of organized society.’ Thus the noise emissions from my car do not meet the test of “unreasonable noise.”
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:29 PM   #16
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Part 2/2

3. The Disorderly Conduct statute was not meant to be used so broadly as to apply in this case

 The Superior court has made it abundantly clear that “the disorderly conduct statute must not be used as a catchall or dragnet for the prosecution of conduct that is uncivil, annoying, or irritating.”(Commonwealth v. Gilbert, Commonwealth v. Maerz).

 In addressing the purpose of the Disorderly Conduct statute the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated: “the cardinal feature of disorderly conduct is public unruliness which can or does lead to tumult and disorder.”

 CONCLUSION: the disorderly conduct statute was used as a dragnet in this case to sanction conduct that is in compliance with all the laws of Pennsylvania. The interests of public order and decency were not endangered at all by my behavior, they were honored. There was no disturbance caused nor any threat to anyone’s welfare, and this is reflected by the legislatures endorsement of the level of noise emitted by my vehicle. The conclusion that the disorderly conduct statute is improper under these circumstances is supported by the complete absence of case law upholding such a citation for vehicle noise emissions.


SUMMARY
 (1) because this conduct was intended by the legislature to be governed by the Vehicle Code the citation for disorderly conduct should be quashed
 (2) even if the disorderly conduct statute were applicable in this case, the Commonwealth cannot convict me for such an offense as a matter of law because the “unreasonable noise” standard was not satisfied
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:30 PM   #17
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I hope this serves to help everyone else in a similar situation. If anyone has questions, please feel free to shoot me a PM; I'd be happy to help with what ever I can.

Thank you all for your support!
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwaysinboost View Post
good job man.

Because of the infomation you provided I was able to fight my exhaust ticket in court last month and beat it.
OUTstanding! That's exactly what I hoped to hear.

As for where I did my tests, it was at an intersection on a road near my apartment. (That's my friend that was helping me...)


Unless you start factoring in objects and other variations from a "perfect test site", a site that needs no modifiers was somewhat challenging to find. I borrowed the dB and should have already returned it; I will be returning it this coming week.

If anyone is able to get a hold of another dB meter, I'd be happy to help set everything up and do the tests with you.

The following link is to Title 75, Title 67, Chapter 157 of the PAVC. It gives all of the test specifications if you want to see them for yourself. (I think I have them all commited to memory by now. lol)

http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/06...hap157toc.html

A lot of the dB measurements taken from exhausts that are out there were taken at the tailpipe. This GREATLY changes the results.

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Old 02-27-2009, 12:25 PM   #19
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If you do try and track down a meter, this is the list of places I called or visited trying to find one. These places didn't have one nor knew anywhere that I could find one:

1.Skippack State Police (610) 584-0814
2.King of Prussia State Police (610)-279-1605
3.Limerick Township Police (610) 495-7909‎
4.Phoenixville Police (610) 933-1180
5.Pottstown Police (610) 970-6572
6.Royersford Police (610) 948-3305
7.Welsh Subaru of Limerick‎ (610) 489-3122‎
8.ICY / Phoenix Racing (610) 482-0141
9.STS Tire & Auto Center (610) 792-5315
10.Monro Muffler Brake & Service (610) 454-7775
11.Western Center for Technical Studies ‎ (610) 489-7272
12.Access Audio‎ (610) 792-9668‎
13.Valley Forge Harley Davidson‎ (610) 666-5122‎
14.Wes Jackson Automotive Center (610) 489-6888
15.Uba Tim Automotive (610) 495-1022‎

Radio Shack sells them, though. Unfortunately, aside from measuring your exhaust, I couldn't justify buying one since I couldn't imagine using it again. I considered buying one and then trying to return it, but had that person offer to lend me thiers before I looked into Radio Shack's return policy.

Last edited by Vez; 02-27-2009 at 12:26 PM. Reason: can't spell to save my life
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:49 PM   #20
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For anyone interested in doing dB tests on their car, my friend told me to hold onto the meter until our schedules line up better. Sooo...I have it a little while longer. Send me a PM if you want to try and get together...my best days to do the tests are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday...all after 4PM, but Sunday can probably work, too. Sunday will also have the least amount of traffic on the road if we do it around noonish... The only other thing to take into consideration is wind. The wind was a pain in the butt.

While exhaust noise levels and the tint of your front 3 windows can cause you to be in violation of law, these things aren't normally checked during inspection. From what I've been told it's mostly because inspection stations don't want to pay for light and noise meters. So, it's almost never checked.

Last edited by Vez; 02-28-2010 at 01:42 PM.
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