Will you get in trouble for littering if...

… you pick up someone else’s litter, drop it again - and the appropriate authority figure sees it?

To make a bit more sense: I sometimes see things laying on the ground (litter) that looks interesting, like someone accidently dropped something important. Hoping it’s something good I pick it up and see that it’s just a crappy pamplet or 1996 day timer or some other uselesss trinket, so I drop it again (since there’s almost never a garbage can nearby when you need one).

The thing I’m wondering is can you be charged for littering if you throw crap onto the ground that was already there in the first place? Or are you obliged to make the 100-yard march to the nearest dumpster every time you make physical contact with garbage that was just laying around?

Common sense tells me no, but I doubt some litter-patrole dude would beleive you if you said “no way man, it was lying there when I got here”. Not a huge national problem I know, but just something I was curious about.


Paper on the ground, litter.

You pick it up, no more litter.

You are seen dropping it, you are littering.

Explain it to the judge.

what reeder sez. also, I would stop picking stuff up if your gonna just drop it.