Alabama Imposes Harsher Littering Penalties


Craig Stephenson, Writer

Alabama recently restricted its laws on littering. A new law took effect in September that increases penalties for criminal littering. Just what even is criminal littering, anyway?

As reported by Gore for, the state of Alabama says that someone has committed criminal littering if he or she “‘knowingly deposits in any manner litter on any public or private property or in any public or private waters without permission to do so; negligently deposits, in any manner glass or other dangerously pointed or edged objects on or adjacent to water to which the public has lawful access for bathing, swimming, or fishing or on a public highway or within the right-of-way.’” Basically, if you leave something where it isn’t supposed to be, and that place is not on your property, you have committed criminal littering.

What has changed from before? Prior to this law, criminal littering was a class C misdemeanor. Now, it is a class B misdemeanor. Because of this change, penalties can go up to 6 months of jail time and a $3,000 fine. In addition, the minimum fine for first-time offenders is up to $500, compared to the previous $250. The punishment for repeat offenders, which used to be a $500 fine, is now either a fine of $1,000 and 100 hours of community service or a fine between $2,000 and $3,000. An additional fine of $500 can be added for improper disposal of cigarettes, cigars, containers of urine, or food containers. 

Huntsville Police Sergeant Grady Thigpen stated on WHNT, “It [criminal littering] actually can be an arrestable offense on the very first time.” Hadley Rosengrant, a Bob Jones senior, said, “It’s a little harsh, but we really need to know where we put our trash. Random people littering isn’t okay because we need to take care of our planet!” 

Because of this, you obviously shouldn’t litter, but you should also do some more research to see what constitutes criminal littering. You or someone you know could be committing a crime without even knowing it.