New panhandling laws to take effect in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A new law that deals with panhandling is now in full effect.

Panhandlers are allowed to be on sidewalks or on the side of the roadways. Once they decide to cross into the roadway it's a different story.

The law looks to curb some of the solicitation of money and food donations many people make to others on the metro area's off-ramps.

“Generally there is not any sidewalks there so it's an active roadway,” said Sergeant Todd Royce with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Panhandlers, who are in the middle of the road collecting cash, usually get hurt when the light turns green.

“We look at it more as a safety issue. As people are stepping out into traffic to receive money or goods or whatever it maybe, with traffic that is moving or is about to move it's a safety issue,” said the sergeant.

Firefighters looking to “fill the boot” for charities, can continue to do so. The only set back is to file for a permit if they are collecting money near highways.

“That is something that the local jurisdiction will have to deal with, the local city or county,” said Sgt. Royce.

For everyone else you are breaking the law.

If you get caught panhandling in the road ways, it's a misdemeanor charge that can cost you $100 or more depending on how many times you get caught.

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