SC Litter Laws
What are the state penalties for littering in South Carolina?
The South Carolina General Assembly recently enacted Act 214 of 2018, amending Section 16-11-700 of the state litter laws. This action by the Legislature was done in an effort to give magistrates and municipal courts greater flexibility in the prosecution of litter cases. The new law makes it easier to achieve court-ordered community service/litter pick up by removing the requirement for supervision. Act 214 also “makes the penalties fit the crime” by classifying violations into distinct categories as shown below and providing for a definition of litter.
- Up to 15 lbs – Persons convicted of placing litter, as defined, on public or private property must remove that litter and shall be fined not less than $25 and not more than $100, or up to 30 days in jail, and the court must impose eight hours of “litter gathering or other form of community service.”
- Between 15 lbs and 500 lbs (illegal dumping) – Persons convicted must be fined not less than $200 nor more than and and $500, or up to 30 days in jail, and the court shall require 16 hours of litter gathering or other community service. Community service increases to 24 hours upon a second conviction, and 32 hours for a third conviction within five years.
- More than 500 lbs (illegal dumping) – Persons convicted must be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and up to a year in jail. The violator also may be ordered to remove the dumped litter, pay damages, and perform community service. Fines for dumping more than 500 lbs of litter may not be suspended.
- Other provisions – This act defines litter and illegal dumping as separate offenses which caused confusion when enforcing violations on both public and private owned properties. The new law makes it easier to achieve court-ordered community service/litter pick up by removing the requirement for supervision. The litter gathering community service portion of the penalty may not be suspended, except the court may, upon request, accept an additional monetary penalty equal to $15 per hour in lieu of the community service. Probation may be granted only due to physical or other incapacities.
*the law has not been updated at scstatehouse.gov.
Unsecured Loads in South Carolina
Section 56-5-4100. Preventing escape of materials loaded on vehicles; cleaning the highways of escaped substances or cargo.
(A) No vehicle may be driven or moved on any public highway unless the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle, except that sand, salt, or other chemicals may be dropped for the purpose of securing traction, and water or other substance may be sprinkled on a roadway in the cleaning or maintaining of the roadway by the public authority having jurisdiction.
(B) Trucks, trailers, or other vehicles when loaded with rock, gravel, stone, or other similar substances which could blow, leak, sift, or drop must not be driven or moved on any highway unless the height of the load against all four walls does not extend above a horizontal line six inches below their tops when loaded at the loading point; or, if the load is not level, unless the height of the sides of the load against all four walls does not extend above a horizontal line six inches below their tops, and the highest point of the load does not extend above their tops, when loaded at the loading point; or, if not so loaded, unless the load is securely covered by tarpaulin or some other suitable covering; or unless it is otherwise constructed so as to prevent any of its load from dropping, sifting, leaking, blowing, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle. This subsection also includes the transportation of garbage or waste materials to locations for refuse in this State.
(C) The loader of the vehicle and the driver of the vehicle, in addition to complying with the other provisions of this section, shall sweep or otherwise remove any loose gravel or similar material from the running boards, fenders, bumpers, or other similar exterior portions of the vehicle before it is moved on a public highway.
(D) Any person operating a vehicle from which any substances or cargo, excluding water, have fallen or escaped, which would constitute an obstruction or injure a vehicle or otherwise endanger travel upon the public highway, shall make every reasonable effort to immediately cause the public highway to be cleaned of all substances and shall pay any costs for the cleaning.
If the person does not make every reasonable effort to clean the public highway promptly, the Department of Transportation or any law enforcement officer may, without the consent of the owner or carrier of the substance or cargo, remove or have removed the substance from the public highway if the substance or cargo is blocking the public highway or endangering public safety. The State, its political subdivisions, and their officers and employees are not liable for any damages to the substance or cargo that may result from the removal or the disposal of the substance or cargo unless the removal or disposal was carried out recklessly or in a grossly negligent manner. The State, its political subdivisions, and their officers and employees are not liable for any damages or claims of damages that may result from the failure to exercise any authority granted under this section. The owner, driver of the vehicle, or motor carrier of the substance or cargo removed under this subsection shall bear all reasonable costs of its removal and subsequent storage or disposition.
Nothing in this section bars a claim for damages.
(E) Any person who violates the provisions of subsections (B), (C), or (D), is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined one hundred dollars.
(F) The provisions contained in subsections (A), (B), and (C) are not applicable to and do not restrict the transportation of seed cotton, soybeans, tobacco, poultry, livestock or silage, or other feed grain used in the feeding of poultry or livestock or of paper, wastepaper utilized for the manufacture of industrial products, paper products, forest products, or textile products.
History: 1962 Code Section 46-660; 1952 Code Section 46-660; 1949 (46) 466; 1978 Act No. 496 Section 18; 1988 Act No. 532, Section 10; 2004 Act No. 286, Section 3.
Section 56-5-4110. Loads and covers must be firmly attached.
No person shall operate on any highway any vehicle with any load unless such load and any covering thereon is securely fastened so as to prevent such covering or load from becoming loose, detached or in any manner a hazard to other users of the highway.
History: 1962 Code Section 46-661; 1952 Code Section 46-661; 1949 (46) 466.