top of page

Back to:

Home        Incidents  

In Tucson, Arizona, noisy parties bring £380 fines and 'red tags'

University of Arizona students​​ who hold noisy parties risk fines and a 180-day 'red tag' notice on the outside of their house that warns of bigger penalties to come for repeat disturbances.

Under the City of Tucson's "Unruly Gathering" law, tags must be "posted in a location that is highly visible to the public".

An unruly gathering is defined as any meet-up of five or more people on private property that causes "disturbance of the quiet enjoyment of private or public property" by other people.

My thanks to a Noise Pages subscriber for sending me the Tucson leaflet. She spends part of each year in the city, home to the state university.

Disturbances include excessive noise, drinking in public and disturbing the peace. People found to be responsible for an unruly gathering incur a fine of $500 (about £380) each. (The brochure illustrating this article says $100, but that seems to have gone up, according to the Tucson police website.)

The penalty rises to $750, $1000 and $1500 for successive violations. Crucially, fines can be imposed on anyone in attendance who causes the gathering to be unruly—or, for example, on owners (in some circumstances) or party sponsors. If residents are being disturbed by a gathering, they call the police.

Under the city's Unruly Gatherings Ordinance, police officers (or "peace" officers, as the law appropriately calls them) are left to use "their sound discretion and the consideration of the totality of the circumstances" in deciding what qualifies as a disturbance.

Tucson's rules contrast with those of the University of Bristol, which imposes fines only on the student tenants of the house, even if there were 100 people present. The fine for a first-time party is £100, rising to £250 for a repeat occurrence—both amounts are far below the Tucson penalties.

Under UK law, landlords and sponsors mostly do not incur penalties for noisy parties.

(Updated 31/03/2019 to remove name in fourth paragraph at contributor's request.)


Free Newsletter

Want to stay up to date? It's easy—just take a few seconds to sign up to my email list.  I send out a periodic e-bulletin summarising recent news. I may also send brief alerts if there's an important development.


There are about 370 subscribers as of October 2023. Join them—and encourage me to keep going!  

Comments? Questions? Want to report noise?

Let me know what you think!. Please email

I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you'd like to send me a comment for publication, make it clear you'd like me to post it.

bottom of page