Littering Laws in California
Of all the illegal activities that most people file under “no big deal,” few can compete with littering. The temptation to dismiss a cigarette butt, soda bottle, or candy bar wrapper tossed from a car window or left on the ground as harmless is one to which most of us have at some point fallen victim.
However, across the nation, lawmakers are cracking down hard on this practice. Increasing social awareness through major, statewide public campaigns has gone hand in hand with increased punishments through fines, public service, and even jail time. In some California counties, for instance, a first-time offender might face eight hours of picking up trash and up to $1,000 in restitution.
Why it is a “Big Deal”
After the initial shock of being hit with a ticket wears off, the next reaction of a motorist or pedestrian charged with littering is likely to be anger and confusion. How could this aluminum can possibly be worth a $300 citation?
The fact is that most citations these days are simply deterrents. As is the case with so many seemingly inconsequential misdemeanors, the point is not that the punishment fit the crime, but that you remember that it really is a crime with actual, serious consequences instead of just a slap on the wrist.
Your old preschool lessons ring true on this point – if everyone littered just one item per day (in other words, if we all had just one “no big deal” moment), we would very soon find ourselves knee-deep in waste.
Despite some good intentions of the law, no self-respecting citizen should accept being made an example of. If you’ve been charged with littering and you feel your punishment is on the excessive side, contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney at the law offices of Daniel Jensen, P.C. today by calling (408) 296-4100.