MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A bill pre-filed for Alabama’s upcoming legislative session could increase criminal penalties for people caught loitering on public roadways.

Under current law, loitering is a violation and is punishable by a fine of up to $200 or a maximum of 30 days in jail. 

If signed into law, HB 24, pre-filed by Rep. Reed Ingram (R- Elmore, Montgomery Counties), would raise the punishment to a class C misdemeanor for second or subsequent offenders of loitering.

If found in violation, the person would have to pay a fine of up to $500 or serve a maximum of three months in jail. But, under the bill, a law enforcement officer would first have to order a person to leave the area before they are able to make an arrest.

Current state law states that “a pedestrian soliciting employment, business, or contributions or distributing articles on a highway is a violation.”

Ingram’s bill would remove that wording and ban loitering in any capacity on all public roadways and rights-of-way.

However, current law also states that if a person is “going to or from or staying at a masquerade party, participating in a public parade or presentation of an educational, religious, or historical character or in an event,” they are not committing a crime. This will remain in effect under Ingram’s bill.

To read the full pre-filed bill, click here.