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Littering, dumping can result in fines, even jail time
by Gary Kent
Feb 25, 2012 | 1481 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Every-one knows littering is against the law.

Still, some folks seem unable to resist the temptation to throw a gum wrapper or a beer bottle out on the street, into a gutter or into someone’s yard.

Police Chief Joe Treviño reminds all residents that if they get caught littering they can face stiff fines.

“It’s common for us to write tickets for that,” the chief said about littering.

“If an officer sees someone throwing trash on the street, he will usually write the offender a citation.”

That means the offender is being charged with a Class C misdemeanor, an offense punishable by a fine of as much as $500.

But it gets worse, Treviño said. “The offense rises depending on the amount.”

Dumping wastes that weigh less than five pounds is considered a Class C misdemeanor.

Stiffer penalties come with more trash. Dumping whole bags of trash, furniture, car doors and such can mean being charged with a Class B or Class A misdemeanor.

A Class A misdemeanor can result in a $4,000 fine and a year in the county jail.

Littering also is an offense that can result in arrest. “If it’s oil or hazardous material, then it could be a felony,” the chief said.

And that not only pertains to dumping those objects, it includes accepting litter, trash and hazardous materials (like old tires) on property that is not legally designated for dumping wastes.

Officers in the field have ways of tracing illegally dumped materials.

Once they can trace the source of those materials, the offender can expect to receive a court summons in the mail.

The chief said that, not long ago, city authorities removed more than 30 signs from utility poles in Beeville. Somebody had stapled the signs which said, “We buy junked cars.”

Treviño said it is against state law to post any sign, garage sale notices, political signs and others, on utility poles.

With any kind of littering that takes place in view of a police officer, “they’re definitely going to get a ticket.”

Ronald “Buddy” Hardy, the city’s assistant code compliance official, said residents who live inside and outside the city need to know that is a violation of the city’s ordinance, No. 1992, to put trash in someone else’s dumpster, to leave it beside the road or to leave it, unattended, on the violator’s own property.

Hardy said police officers have been a significant help to stopping littering.

“Yes sir,” Hardy said, “It’s been helpful.”

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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