Smart Car Tipping in San Francisco (CA Penal Code 594)

Last Modified: October 13, 2020
April 7, 2014 | Rabin Nabizadeh | Vandalism

Many folks know by now that the practice of cow tipping is the result of a misguided attempt to make fun of ‘country bumpkins.’  The story depicts gangs of teenagers sneaking up on unsuspecting cows and, well, tipping them over.  Though cow tipping has been proven an urban legend.  However, some San Francisco citizens have become the victim of a crime that does not fall into the category of urban legend, ‘Smart car tipping.’  It’s not an unusual crime, believe it or not.  Smart car tipping has been reported in other cities across the nation and in at least 2 other countries.

On the 200 block of Anderson Street, near Bowdoin and Sweeny, and then again close to Prospect and Coso, several Smart micro cars have been purposefully tipped over onto their sides.  Is this some kind of protest, local law enforcement officials wonder, or is this just a matter of some kids having fun?  According to California law, however, these are acts of vandalism.

According to witnesses, there are at least 7 suspects, who are allegedly responsible for tipping the cars.  (CA Penal Code 594) vandalism and graffiti says that damaging another person’s property is cause for arrest.  If you are convicted of a California vandalism charge, then you may be looking at hefty fines and some even some time in jail.  In fact, fines go up to $10,000 (or more, depending on the amount of the damage) and up to 3 years in jail if the crime is prosecuted as a felony.  If prosecuted as a misdemeanor ($400 or less in damages), then you may be looking at a $1,000 fine and 1 year in county jail.


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