LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Lake Charles residents will now pay double the fines and face harsher penalties if caught littering.
The American Press reports City Council members voted 6-0 Wednesday to change simple littering from a civil infraction to a criminal violation.
Fines are now $200 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. Initially, the fines were $100, $150 and $250 respectively.
The City Court can also assign litter pick-up hours and suspend a resident's driver's license for a third littering offense.
The city also cut the time from 10 days to 24-hours business and property owners have to remove litter once notified.
Mayor Nic Hunter says reducing litter has been one of his administration's top priorities.