Smart Car Tipping: A New Trend in San Francisco? - Legal Grounds
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Smart Car Tipping: A New Trend in San Francisco?

Smart Car owners beware, there's a terrible new trend hitting the streets: Smart Car tipping.

Move over rural cow tippers, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that at least four Smart Cars were tipped over in San Francisco as of Monday. Were no-good kids to blame?

And what can our legal system do to prevent future Smart Car tippings?

Making Smart Cars Look Dumb

As San Francisco's KRON-TV reports, a group of "eight hooded vandals" were seen turning Smart Cars on their ends and rolling them onto their sides. The normally fuel-efficient cars were rendered very impractical to drive, with one looking more like it would blast off:

One witness told KRON he saw the hooded vandals huddle up around the car and "lift it up and set it on its hind legs." Smart Cars weigh just under 2,000 pounds and apparently made for easy targets.

As FindLaw's Injured has reported in the past, "mini" and "micro" cars are fairly easy to damage, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say these Smart Car tippings will probably cost the cars' owners thousands of dollars.

But who's going to pay for it?

Vandalism, Property Damage

Vandalism laws cover a wide variety of mischievous yet destructive acts, which almost always involve destroying or devaluing property. In California, defacing, damaging or destroying property can lead to fines of up to $50,000 and up to a year in jail. In addition, if minors were responsible for the damage, their parents can be held responsible for the fines.

Although that may seem harsh, judges also have a fair amount of discretion in vandalism cases to allow the guilty parties to serve their time by cleaning up their messes. However, the Chronicle reports that at least three of the cars sustained "body damage and broken windows."

Since the geniuses who perpetrated the Smart Car tippings probably don't work at a Smart Car body shop, they'll likely be paying restitution to make up for the damage -- that is, if they can even find the hooded hoodlums. It is San Francisco, after all. Who doesn't wear a hoodie?

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