Navigating Mexico: Noise and Building the Case

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Mexico is a noisy place. Every weekend it is someone’s birthday, baptism, anniversary or wedding.

In small towns, there are annual patron saint day celebrations that involve peregrinations, street celebrations and fireworks.

Noise. It’s what makes Mexico Mexico.

Then there is the other side of the noise factor.

We have all been there. Sharing spaces on a bus or waiting room where others may not have learned the social cues of listening to music or watching a video without using headphones. It is annoying, but temporary.

But what if that scenario was transferred to noise coming from the house or apartment next to you for most of the night? What if it was affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep?

There is a legal provision in Mexico that not many people know about.

Yes, you can call 911 and police will arrive, ask that the music be turned down, but as soon as they leave, the noise will usually continue, and the neighbors will be mad at you the next day.

Mexico has a level of court for concerns among neighbors: noise, trash, minor theft, abandoned cars and all of the other things that impact daily life.

They also have jurisdiction over businesses that could make daily life a challenge for the neighbors.

Imagine living above a restaurant that decided to put a sound system out on the sidewalk?

The remedy are civic courts, or juzgados cívicos, in Spanish.

They are free and do not require an attorney.

The more hard data, photos, written description of the issue, dates, times and names of those involved, the easier it will be to have your issue resolved.

If the case is brought before the judge, it is resolved in one session with both parties present, with a goal of mediation.

The judge has the judicial means to require the offending party to be


These courts also have their own detention cells.

If mediation cannot be reached, the judge can impose a warning, a fine, community service or up to 48 hours of detention on the guilty party.

So, the next time you are fed up with a neighbor or business, rather than taking matters into your own hands, maybe help from a third party might be needed to get the noise or other concern under control.

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