As of this morning, the infraction is not in the court’s computer system, but it appears I have a Notice to Appear at the criminal court for littering. The only way to contest the charge is, amazingly enough, by trial (since this is not a Vehicle Code charge), which will involve submitting a bail amount and obtaining an attorney. But I haven’t been able to confirm this with anyone at the Criminal Court. I had wanted to try a Trial by Written Declaration, but it seems that this is reserved only for Vehicle Code citations. The specific offense is San Francisco Municipal Police Code 33:
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to put, place, sweep, throw, brush or in any other manner deposit any rubbish, paper, cards, newspapers, wrapping or wrapping paper, container of any kind, string, cord, rope or other binding or fastening material, sweepings, dirt or debris or discarded material of any kind or character upon any sidewalk, street, alley, gutterway or other public place in the City and County of San Francisco. It shall also be unlawful for any person or persons to throw, sweep or brush any rubbish, paper sweepings or dirt from any residence, flat, apartment house, store or office building into any sidewalk, street or alley. (Amended by Ord. 1994, Series of 1939, App. 3/8/43)
I’m going to be very careful in how I describe this process. And some of these posts may be removed in the not so distant future. But I will keep you folks posted.
[UPDATE: I spoke with a very nice clerk at the Traffic Division, who apparently had to hunt for the bail amount through a few musty papers. (“Littering? We don’t get too many of those,” she told me.) Thankfully, I will not need an attorney, assuming that the charge is strictly littering. I will need to post a bail amount for $350. The two sides will then present their respective accounts over the course of a few hours. And the judge will then reduce or dismiss the amount. So this comes as some relief. The only gray area is the second checkbox on my Notice to Appear for some unspecified charge, and whether or not I have been cited for what they threw me into the holding cell for. Hopefully, a more formal notice will appear in the mail spelling out exactly what I am charged with and why I need to appear in court. I do plan to obtain a copy of the police report to determine what the police officers’ side of the story is.]
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.