Do you sing in your car? So does Taoufik Moalla of Montreal. He was feeling happy and energetic on September 27th and heard his favourite song on the radio:
Who the hell wouldn’t want to jam out to that fantastic 90’s track on a sunny day?
But Taoufik got pulled over by police and fined for screaming in public; a $149 fine.
“I was thinking they wanted to pass, but they called on the speaker, ‘Please go to the right side,’” Moalla told CTV Montreal. “I stopped and four police came, two on each side, and checked the inside of the car. Then they asked me if I screamed. I said, ‘No, I was just singing.’”
According to a Montreal bylaw, “to cause disorder by screaming” violates “peace and tranquility” and can be punishable by a fine of $50 to $1,000 for a first offence and $100 to $2,000 for subsequent infractions.
“I don’t know if my voice was very bad and that’s why I got the ticket, but I was very shocked,” Moalla said. “I understand if they are doing their job, they are allowed to check if everything’s okay, if I kidnapped someone or if there’s danger inside but I would never expect they would give me a ticket for that.”
Moalla said his singing wasn’t particularly loud: “just if you are happy and you like this song.” And while he thought the situation was more than a little crazy, he said he managed to keep his calm. “I said, ‘Okay, thank you,’ because I know I can contest the ticket,” he said. “They were doing their job.”
Moalla says he has done just that and is now waiting for a court date, which could come in as much as a year. Once in front of a judge, Moalla simply plans to recount how he got the ticket.
“Imagine if the Canadiens won a game,” he said. “All the fans are going to scream out of their cars. They’re going to sing. Are you going to give them all tickets?”
Moalla’s wife, however, said she wasn’t surprised that her husband’s vocals netted him a fine. “She told me, if it was for singing, I’d have given you a ticket for $300,” he said.