Charleston's anti-panhandling law takes effect

Posted at 2:01 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 17:01:07-04

It is now against the law for anyone to beg for money on streets and near freeways, or to hand over money to a panhandler, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The city's anti-panhandling ordinance was approved earlier this year, and in August, Charleston police began issuing warnings to panhandlers and drivers that the new law was coming.

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The law does not apply if the exchange takes place in a parking lot.

The city of Charleston released the following statement regarding the new law:

"As a reminder to the citizens of the City of Charleston: On September 18, 2015, officers will begin enforcement of City of Charleston ordinance 19-12 that is intended to promote the free flow of vehicle traffic as well as promote the safety of pedestrians near roadways. The ordinance prohibits the passing/receiving of any item from any occupant of a vehicle that is located in a lane of travel on the roadway.

This means that it is illegal for any occupant of a vehicle to hand out or take an item from someone outside their vehicle if their vehicle is located in the roadway. The vehicle driver can be cited, as well as the pedestrian who receives/passes the item.

Violations of the ordinance include a fine of up to $1092.00 or 30 days in jail. The city conducted a 30 day education period that began August 18, 2015. Officers distributed cards to the public during the education period that detailed the intent, violation information and start date of the ordinance.

This ordinance is not applicable if the motor vehicle is located on private property in a permitted parking area, if the vehicle in the roadway is assisting a disabled/accident motorist or where a motorist is experiencing a medical emergency."

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