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Criminal Justice

LAist Inbox: $200 Ticket for Smoking on a Burbank Sidewalk?

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Photo by marcbenton via Flickr

On LAist's "Contribute" page, there are three ways you can participate: submit a link, join the LAist Featured Photos group on Flickr or leave us an anonymous tip. And one reader did more just leave a tip, he submitted an entire rant. It's a good rant and it raises good questions regarding policing for sidewalk smokers, local economies and police resources:

Last month I was in downtown Burbank for an evening out with family, after dinner I stepped outside the restaurant and lit up a cigarette. Moments later my Girlfriend and I were approached by two police officers on bicycles, and cited for smoking a cigarette in a public area. When the cops rode up on us, they said "Did you know you can't smoke here in downtown Burbank?" we politely said "No" and extinguished our lit cigarettes. Allow me to add, I am nearly 30 years old, I pay my taxes, I obey speed limits and I can't remember the last time I intentionally vandalized private property. I am an adult, as an adult I take certain liberties, one of which is enjoying a post dinner cigarette instead of simple warning, we issued tickets that cost us $200 each. While awaiting my arraignment, two people plead guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession, and received a $280 fine. So, I could smoke an illegal substance, or a legal product, and receive roughly the same punishment.