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LITTERING PENALTIES

Under state law, penalties for littering depend on the nature and amount of the trash.

ACCIDENTAL:

* Individuals who accidentally drop 15 pounds or less of litter face a fine up to $100 for the first offense, plus possible community service of four to 12 hours -- usually picking up litter. Subsequent offenses within three years can draw fines up to $200, plus community service of eight to 24 hours.

* If the accidental litter weighs between 15 and 500 pounds, the fine can go up to $200, and community service can range from eight to 24 hours. More than 500 pounds and the fine can rise to $300, and community service can range from 16 to 50 hours.

INTENTIONAL OR RECKLESS:

* Individuals who intentionally or recklessly drop 15 pounds or less of litter, and who do not do it for commercial purpose, face a fine of $250 to $1,000 for the first offense, plus possible community service of eight to 24 hours. Further offenses within three years draw fines of $500 to $2,000, plus possible community service of 16 to 50 hours.

* If the intentional or reckless litter weighs 15 to 500 pounds, the fine ranges from $500 to $2,000, and the community service ranges from 24 to 100 hours.

* Dumping more than 500 pounds, or any amount for commercial purposes, or any hazardous waste, is a Class I felony drawing tougher criminal penalties.

IN A CAR:

Littering from a car or truck gets the driver one violation point on his state driver license, but no insurance penalty.

CASES IN 2005:

State and local law enforcement agencies filed 5,473 littering charges last year, and won convictions in 3,145 cases, or 57 percent.

N.C. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, N.C. GENERAL ASSEMBLY, N.C. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS

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