It’s always illegal to throw a piece of trash out of your car while driving. But this month, Montgomery County Police officers are focusing in on that and other types of littering as part of a region-wide initiative.
April is Litter Enforcement Month, and Montgomery County is taking part. The program, promoted by the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, is meant to put the spotlight keeping trash out of the Potomac River watershed.
On Tuesday, police put out a press release saying officers will be looking to hand out citations — criminal, traffic or civil — throughout the month.
The release pointed to three specific laws covering a range of littering:
- Maryland State law CR 10-110 provides the stipulations against disposing or dumping of items under 100 pounds, over 100 pounds, and over 500 pounds. Littering or dumping of items under 100 pounds is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and/or up to a $1,500 fine. Items weighing 100 to 500 pounds carry a penalty of up to one year and/or up to a $12,500 fine. Items over 500 pounds carry a penalty of up to five years and/or up to a $30,000 fine.
- Maryland Motor Vehicle Law 21-1111 states that it is illegal to drop or place an injurious substance on a roadway. It is also illegal to throw, deposit, or discharge refuse from a vehicle onto the roadway. A citation for throwing any type of trash can result in a fine of up to $140 and two points. If the littered substance contributes to a traffic collision, it may result in a fine of up to $180 and three points.
- Montgomery County Code, Chapter 48, Section 11 provides both criminal and civil violations against dumping or littering on property and roadways. A criminal violation carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A civil violation carries a fine up to $500 and a fine up to $750 for a repeat offense.
The Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative of the Alice Ferguson Foundation also identified hoarding, graffiti and illegal tire hauling or piling citations as ones that would be included in a comprehensive report for the month.