California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill to give celebrities more power to fight back at paparazzi who assault them while in pursuit of photographs.

The new law will come into force on 1 January 2006, meaning dangerous snappers face huge fines if they are found guilty of assaulting a star and may have to hand over any income from photographs taken during an altercation with the celebrity in question.

In June (05), teen singer/actress LINDSAY LOHAN suffered cuts and bruises when her car was allegedly run off the road by paparazzo GALO RAMIREZ. The photographer was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Last month (SEP05), Reese Witherspoon allegedly witnessed snapper Todd Wallace assault two Disneyland, California, employees as they attempted to shield the actress from his "aggressive and frightening" behaviour.

The incident took place only a month after the LEGALLY BLONDE star discovered a group of paparazzi who allegedly "besieged" her outside her Los Angeles home in April (05) would not face criminal charges of false imprisonment.

In August (05), Scarlett Johansson claimed she was being chased by a photographer when she crashed her Mercedes car into another vehicle outside Disneyland. However, JFX Images snapper MARIO TORUNO denies her allegations, claiming his behaviour had nothing to do with the incident. No criminal charges were filed in that case.