Tossing a butt could break several laws | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tossing a butt could break several laws

Elaine Goodman
Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune /
ALL |

Smokers who toss their butts out of a car window could be cited under a variety of laws, said South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Marty Hale.

Sections of California’s penal code, health and safety code, vehicle code, and South Lake Tahoe’s city code pertaining to either littering or fire hazards would be applicable in such a circumstance, Hale said. Fines for a first offense can range from $100 to $1,000 and the offender might also be ordered to spend eight or more hours picking up litter.

But South Lake Tahoe officers don’t write tickets for tossed cigarette butts very often. “I don’t think it’s frequent,” Hale said. “You see it once in a while.”

An officer is more likely to ticket a driver committing multiple offenses — such as tossing a cigarette butt and speeding.

“Sometimes it’s just a package deal,” he said.

And an officer might take a tougher stance at times when wildfire danger is high, Hale added.

In fact, fire danger in the Lake Tahoe Basin remains high despite recent cooler temperatures, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck.

“While the warmer weather has given way to crisper fall temperatures, we need everyone to remember that fire risk is still high and that restrictions meant to prevent wildfires on National Forest System lands remain in place,” Heck said.

California Health & Safety Code

13002(a): Throwing or discharging cigarettes.

Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who throws or discharges any lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing substance, or any substance or thing which may cause a fire upon any highway, including any portion of the right-of-way of any highway, upon any sidewalk, or upon any public or private property.

California Vehicle Code

23111: Throwing or discharging flaming material.

No person in any vehicle and no pedestrian shall throw or discharge from or upon any road or highway or adjoining area, public or private, any lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing substance.

California Penal Code

374.4: It is unlawful to litter or cause to be littered in or upon any public or private property. Any person, firm, or corporation violating this section is guilty of an infraction.

South Lake Tahoe city code

17-63: Pedestrians and motorists.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, dump, scatter, discard, place or deposit litter in any manner or amount on any highway, road, right-of-way, or public or private property within the corporate limits of the city, except in containers or areas lawfully provided for that use.

South Lake Tahoe city code

23-26: Littering public or private property.

No person shall throw, place, scatter, dump or otherwise deposit any refuse or other waste in or upon the private property of another. No person shall throw, place, scatter, dump or otherwise deposit any refuse or other waste in or upon any public property.


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