Leaving Your Keys In the Ignition In Your Car In San Bernardino: It’s Against the Law (and you’ll be fined $2 before P&As).

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I never once saw this section enforced, with its circa 1964 $2 fine:

10.16.140 Removal of ignition key.
A. It is unlawful for any person having charge or control of a motor vehicle to allow
such vehicle to stand upon any street, alley or parking lot upon which there is
no attendant, when such motor vehicle is unattended, without first locking the
ignition of the vehicle and removing the ignition key from such vehicle.
B. Any person convicted under this section shall be punished by a fine of not less
nor more than two dollars; and such person shall not be granted probation by
the court, nor shall the court suspend the execution of the sentence imposed
upon such person.
(Ord. MC-460, 5-13-85; Ord.3880 §2 (part), 1980; Ord.2613,1964; Ord. 1652 Art. 4 §14, 1941.)

What’s the background on this law?

First, the 1941 ordinance, Ordinance 1652 is available online.  The ordinance repeals a variety of ordinances and adopts an overarching scheme for regulating traffic in the City of San Bernardino. Difficulty?  Article 4 has no section 14.  Another added difficulty, is that I didn’t see any similar language anywhere in the text of the ordinance. However, the language (especially the two dollars) sounds archaic.

The Municipal Code annotation is incorrect, because the section does not come from Ordinance 1652 as originally adopted.  Ordinance 2613 from 1964 amended Ordinance 1652 by adding section 14.  There is no legislative history or findings in the ordinance itself (and there are no minutes online), which reads in pertinent part:

 SECTION FOURTEEN: No person having charge or control of a
motor vehicle shall allow such vehicle to stand upon any street,
alley or parking lot upon which there is no attendant, when such
motor vehicle is unattended, without first locking the ignition
of said vehicle and removing the ignition key from such vehicle.
Any person convicted under this Section shall be punished
by a fine of not less nor more than Two Dollars ($ 2. 00); and such
person shall not be granted probation by the Court, nor shall the
Court suspend the execution of the sentence imposed upon such
person.

Ordinance 3880 (November 20, 1979) (not 1980 as shown in the annotations), Section 2 amended Section 14 to be titled SECTION FOURTEEN: Removal of Ignition Key.

The ordinance was codified in 1980, I believe, but I have not seen that ordinance.  It divided it into section (a) and (b), capitalization was changed, as was the reference to ($2.00) in section (b).

MC-460, Section 120, enacted May 15, 1985, amended the codified version, 10.16.140(a) to read:

A. It is unlawful for any person having charge or control of a motor vehicle to allow
such vehicle to stand upon any street, alley or parking lot upon which there is
no attendant, when such motor vehicle is unattended, without first locking the
ignition of the vehicle and removing the ignition key from such vehicle.

The backup from the City Attorney’s Office included removing archaic laws, but apparently, section B remained.

Item 7i on the July 2, 2012 agenda included a re-adoption of this section as part of a cleanup regarding reorganized departments, however, upon watching the video of that meeting (there does not appear to be minutes available online), it was tabled on a 7-0 motion by Council Member Wendy J. McCammack because of the need for further reorganization by the City Manager.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

W: http://michaelreiterlaw.com

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About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Personal Injury Law, Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 708-6055, or by electronic mail at michael@michaelreiterlaw.com. 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

One Response to Leaving Your Keys In the Ignition In Your Car In San Bernardino: It’s Against the Law (and you’ll be fined $2 before P&As).

  1. Pingback: Leaving Your Keys In the Ignition In Your Car In San Bernardino: It’s Against the Law Part Two | Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law Blog

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