Open Air Preaching Laws in Charlotte

charlotte-skylineHere are relevant ordinances in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (as of March 14, 2018) impacting an evangelist’s ability to hand out tracts and conduct open air preaching on public streets.

CODE OF ORDINANCES CITY OF CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Chapter 15 – Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions

Sec. 15-1. – Distribution of handbills, advertisements, letters, pamphlets or other materials.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, deposit, place or distribute any handbills, advertisements, cards, circulars, leaflets, folders, banners, letters, magazines or pamphlets in or upon private property, except by: (i) handing the material to the occupant; (ii) placing or depositing such material behind the outer door; (iii) securely attaching the material to the doorknob or door handle; or (iv) placing the material on the porch or stoop, provided that it shall be wrapped, bound or lock-folded in such a manner so as to prevent the material from being blown or scattered. This subsection shall not apply to the distribution of the United States mail or to newspapers.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit in, paste on, or attach to any motor vehicle any handbills, advertisements, cards, circulars, leaflets, folders, banners, letters or pamphlets or to cause such materials to be deposited in, pasted on or attached to any motor vehicle, without the consent of the owner. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prohibit the attachment to a motor vehicle of a citation or public safety information issued or published by or on behalf of the city.

Sec. 15-64. – Amplified sound.

(a) It shall be unlawful to:

(3) Operate or allow the operation of any sound amplification equipment in the public right-of-way, including streets or sidewalks, or in the public city controlled parks: (i) without having actual on-site possession of a permit issued by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; (ii) so as to produce sounds registering more than 75 db(A) ten feet or more from any electromechanical speaker between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Friday or Saturday; or (iii) at times other than those specified in (ii). Sound amplification equipment operated pursuant to this subsection may not be located more than ten feet off the ground. In addition to the person operating or allowing the operation of sound amplification equipment in violation of this subsection, the person to whom the permit was issued must be present at the location and during the times permitted and shall be liable for any and all violations.

An application for a permit pursuant to this subsection shall: (i) be submitted to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at least one full business day but no more than seven calendar days before the permit time requested; and (ii) specify the proposed location of the sound amplification equipment and the date and time that the sound amplification will begin and end. Permits shall be issued on a first come, first served basis. A permit shall not be issued for a location that is within 100 feet of another location for which a permit has been issued for the same time or in or within 100 feet of the area permitted for a public assembly pursuant to article XI of this chapter unless issued to the holder of the public assembly permit.

The use of mobile sound amplification equipment (e.g., a car radio, unless the vehicle is parked) shall be exempt from the permitting requirement of this subsection and the prohibition of (iii) in the first paragraph of this subpart, however sounds produced during the times otherwise prohibited in (iii) in the first paragraph of this subpart may not register more than 60 db(A) ten feet or more from the equipment. Sound amplification produced in conjunction with public assembly permit shall be exempt from this entire subsection.

For more information on the free speech rights of street evangelists, please visit the School of Biblical Evangelism.

3 thoughts on “Open Air Preaching Laws in Charlotte

  1. The queen city wants LESS religious fanaticism, not more. Thank you for respecting the citizens who spend a LOT of money to live in such a clean, beautiful city without getting harassed in the street.

    • So, on the one hand, you speak of protecting the rights of girls and women, but then attempt to dissuade me from exercising my right of free speech in Charlotte. Are you saying that the only activities and ideas that should be protected are those you agree with?

      • I dont think I said free speech, I think what I said was harassment.

        What I’m saying is that spiritual and religious ideology has no place in secular law and that the United States will NEVER be “prolife”.
        There is no justification for legally mandated or otherwise forced birth, period.

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