Drivers not exempt from fines, under city panhandling ordinance

Drivers not exempt from fines, under city panhandling ordinance

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - What many consider a good deed, could soon come at a price in the city of Charleston.

Tuesday, council members passed first reading on an ordinance to ban panhandling along city streets, or any exchange from a vehicle, prohibiting the free and safe flow of traffic.

City police chief, Greg Mullen, proposed the ordinance citing safety concerns.  If passed, the ordinance would include all public roads within the city, excluding law enforcement and emergency officials in the scope of their official duty.

"You pay can online.  You can go to the charity itself.  There are many other ways than sticking your hand out of a window," said Christine Davy, who recently moved to Charleston.

As part of the ordinance, drivers could also face penalties, which include up to 30 days in jail or a $1, 092 fine.

A Savannah man, who moved to Charleston after hearing panhandling was legal, expressed safety concerns for himself, but would rather see stricter rules, over an absolute ban.

"I'm scared," he said.  "This is my livelihood."

The city fire department has already put an end to roadside collections, also citing safety concerns.

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