What Does the Law Say?


The sit/lie law makes it a crime to sit or lie down on any sidewalk or on top of any object (blanket, lawn chair, milk crate, etc.) on any sidewalk in San Francisco between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

And Punishment

  • First Offense: $50–100
  • Subsequent Offense within 24 Hours of Citation (with or without conviction): $300–500, 10 days in jail, or both
  • Subsequent Offense within 120 Days of Conviction: $400–500, up to 30 days in jail, or both


  • Medical emergencies
  • Resting if you use an assisted walking device
  • Commercial use with a permit
  • Participating in a permitted public event
  • Fixed benches
  • Waiting in line for services
  • Being a child in a stroller
  • Pavement to Parks projects

What Doesn’t the Law Say?

Sit/lie does not address sidewalk obstruction, as that’s addressed by Municipal Police Code Sections 22–24 and California Penal Code Section 647c. Its content does not in any way address aggressive behaviors. This law only addresses non-obstructive sitting and lying down: no other activities.

The law has no exceptions for, and therefore makes criminals of:

  • Senior citizens or people with disabilities who don’t use a walker or wheelchair who are just tired and need to sit down
  • People who want to sit on a lawn chair or anything else in front of their apartment or house
  • People who want to sit on the sidewalk while waiting for MUNI
  • Kids selling lemonade or Girl Scout cookies or anything else while sitting on a fold-out chair on the sidewalk unless that rugrat’s got a permit from the City
  • Day laborers who need to take a rest while waiting for work
  • Homeless people who want to sit down anywhere other than a park