SC Litter Laws

What are the state penalties for littering in South Carolina?

The minimum fine is $200 plus court assessments. *
The Maximum fine is $1,087 plus court assessments. *
Guilty convictions can lead to jail time between 30 days to one year. The court will also impose community service litter clean-up hours.

*$200 is the minimum fine in South Carolina for littering any amount less than 15 pounds, plus court costs and a minimum of 15 hours litter gathering labor.

For any amount of litter over 15 pounds and less than 500 pounds, there is a $200-$500 fine, mandatory community service, and a possible prison sentence not to exceed 90 days.

Penalties for ILLEGAL DUMPING or the deposit of a collection of litter or garbage in an area not intended for that use, there is a fine of $1,000, and a minimum of 15 hours litter-gathering labor.

*In South Carolina, there is a 100% assessment on all state litter tickets, plus court fees.

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SECTION 16-11-700. Dumping litter on private or public property prohibited; exceptions; responsibility for removal; penalties.

(A) A person, from a vehicle or otherwise, may not dump, throw, drop, deposit, discard, or otherwise dispose of litter or other solid waste, as defined by Section 44-96-40(46), upon public or private property or waters in the State including, but not limited to, a highway, park, beach, campground, forest land, recreational area, trailer park, road, street, or alley except:

(1) on property designated by the State for the disposal of litter and other solid waste and the person is authorized to use the property for that purpose; or

(2) into a litter receptacle in a manner that the litter is prevented from being carried away or deposited by the elements upon a part of the private or public property or waters.

(B) Responsibility for the removal of litter from property or receptacles is upon the person convicted pursuant to this section of littering the property or receptacles. If there is no conviction for littering, the responsibility is upon the owner of the property.

(C)(1) A person who violates the provisions of this section in an amount less than fifteen pounds in weight or twenty-seven cubic feet in volume is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days for a first or second conviction, or fined five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days for a third or subsequent conviction. In addition to the fine or term of imprisonment, the court also must impose eight hours of litter-gathering labor for a first conviction, sixteen hours of litter-gathering labor for a second conviction, and twenty-four hours of litter-gathering labor for a third or subsequent conviction, or other form of public service, under the supervision of the court, as the court may order because of physical or other incapacities.

(2) The fine for a deposit of a collection of litter or garbage in an area or facility not intended for public deposit of litter or garbage is one thousand dollars. The provisions of this item apply to a deposit of litter or garbage, as defined in Section 44-67-30(4), in an area or facility not intended for public deposit of litter or garbage. This item does not prohibit a private property owner from depositing litter or garbage as a property enhancement if the depositing does not violate applicable local or state health and safety regulations. In addition to a fine and for each offense pursuant to the provisions of this item, the court also shall impose a minimum of five hours of litter-gathering labor or other form of public service, under the supervision of the court, as the court may order because of physical or other incapacities.

(3) The court, instead of payment of the monetary fine imposed for a violation of this section, may direct the substitution of additional litter-gathering labor or other form of public service, under the supervision of the court, as it may order because of physical or other incapacities not to exceed one hour for each five dollars of fine imposed.

(4) In addition to other punishment authorized by this section, in the discretion of the court in which conviction is obtained, the person may be directed by the judge to pick up and remove from any public place or any private property, with prior permission of the legal owner of the property upon which it is established by competent evidence that the person has deposited litter, all litter deposited on the place or property by any person before the date of execution of sentence.

(D) A person who violates the provisions of this section in an amount exceeding fifteen pounds in weight or twenty-seven cubic feet in volume, but not exceeding five hundred pounds or one hundred cubic feet, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than ninety days. In addition, the court shall require the violator to pick up litter or perform other community service commensurate with the offense committed, up to one hundred hours.

(E)(1) A person who violates the provisions of this section in an amount exceeding five hundred pounds in weight or one hundred cubic feet in volume is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. In addition, the court may order the violator to:

(a) remove or render harmless the litter that he dumped in violation of this subsection;

(b) repair or restore property damaged by, or pay damages for damage arising out of, his dumping of litter in violation of this subsection; or

(c) perform community public service relating to the removal of litter dumped in violation of this subsection or relating to the restoration of an area polluted by litter dumped in violation of this subsection.

(2) A court may enjoin a violation of this subsection.

(3) A motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, container, crane, winch, or machine involved in the disposal of more than five hundred pounds in weight or more than one hundred cubic feet in volume of litter in violation of this subsection is declared contraband and is subject to seizure and summary forfeiture to the State.

(4) If a person sustains damages in connection with a violation of this subsection that gives rise to a felony against the person or his property, a court, in a civil action for those damages, shall order the wrongdoer to pay the injured party threefold the actual damages or two hundred dollars, whichever amount is greater. In addition, the court shall order the wrongdoer to pay the injured party’s court costs and attorney’s fees.

(5) A fine imposed pursuant to this subsection must not be suspended, in whole or in part.

(F)(1) When the penalty for a violation of this section includes litter-gathering labor in addition to a fine or imprisonment, the litter-gathering portion of the penalty is mandatory and must not be suspended; however, the court, upon the request of a person convicted of violating this section, may direct that the person pay an additional monetary penalty instead of the litter-gathering portion of the penalty that must be equal to the amount of five dollars an hour of litter-gathering labor. Probation must not be granted instead of the litter-gathering requirement, except for a person’s physical or other incapacities.

(2) Funds collected pursuant to this subsection instead of the mandatory litter-gathering labor must be remitted to the county or municipality where the littering violation took place. The money collected may be used for the litter-gathering supervision.

(G) For purposes of the offenses established by this section, litter includes cigarettes and cigarette filters.

(H) A prior violation within the meaning of this section means only a violation of this section which occurred within a period of five years including and immediately preceding the date of the last violation.

(I) Magistrates and municipal courts have jurisdiction to try violations of subsections (A), (B), (C), and (D) of this section.

SECTION 16-11-710. Acceptance of cash bond in lieu of immediate court appearance in litter control prosecutions.

When any person is charged with a violation of 16-11-700 or any county ordinance relating to litter control, any officer authorized to enforce such law or ordinance may accept a cash bond in lieu of requiring an immediate court appearance. Such bond shall not exceed the maximum fine provided for a conviction of the offense charged and may be forfeited to the court by the enforcement officer if the person charged fails to appear in court.

SECTION 16-11-720. Dumping trash in or along shoreline of Lake Greenwood; penalties.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to dump, leave or throw any rubbish, trash, garbage, cans, bottles, containers, paper, oil, grease or other similar substances or dead animals into the waters or along the shoreline of Lake Greenwood.

(2) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days.