In nearly every aspect of our lives, our actions are shaped by the law. The way we drive, deal with our anger, and even break up with spouses are molded by the law. The same is true when it comes to disposing of waste. With growing concern about global warming and planetary pollution, the federal government has stepped up its efforts to criminally punish Californians they believe are causing harm to the Earth.
This led to the creation of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department. This section works collaboratively with other agencies to find and prosecutor pollution violators under various federal statutes. To obtain a conviction, the federal prosecutors must show that actual pollution occurred, and that the polluting occurred with intent. With regard to intent, the government must typically show that an individual knowingly polluted or caused the polluting to happen.
These types of criminal charges often arise in the business context. A business may be accused of leaking toxins into waterways or releasing airborne pollutants. Regardless of the allegations, those in charge of the business and its waste disposal may wind up facing criminal charges. Though they may seem relatively minor, no federal crime is minor, and accused individuals should act accordingly.
Facing allegations, like these, and the potential penalties associated with them, can be stressful and overwhelming. With that in mind, an accused individual may find the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney beneficial.
After all, the federal government, with its eye on protecting the environment, will aggressively prosecute the matter. This means that a zealous defense will likely be needed to stand a chance of winning.
Source: Justice.gov, “Prosecution of Federal Pollution Crimes,” accessed on March 18, 2016