Environmental Crimes

Environmental crimes in Miami are prosecuted at the state as well as the federal level. If you are charged with a violation of environmental law in Florida, there is the possibility of facing charges brought not only by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) investigative bureau but also by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice from a firm experienced with environmental law that will help maximize your chances of achieving the best outcome for your case.

There are a number of different types of Environmental Crimes. Typically, they include a violation of one of the many state and/or federal environmental laws. Examples include a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Air Act, and/or Clean Water Act. The penalties for these offenses can be extraordinary.

For example, Florida's "Litter Law," makes dumping litter in any way or amount on virtually any type of roadway or alley a criminal offense for any person. Violations of this law may also refer to the illegal disposal of waste into rivers, lakes, canals or other bodies of water. "Litter" means any refuse, trash, rubbish, or garbage including, but not limited to, materials used for construction purposes, parts of motor vehicles or motor vehicles, or other types of commercial waste. Illegal penalties for dumping may include receiving civil citations or being charged with a third-degree felony.

Compliance with federal and state environmental laws is highly important to public and environmental health. Violations are vigorously examined and aggressively punished. These violations may include harming humans, animals, or the environment through a mixture of activities:

  • Dumping toxic waste or noxious chemicals illegally
  • Violations involving fish and game
  • Improperly storing unsafe chemicals
  • Federal Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act violations
  • Illegal developments in wetland areas

A criminal conviction for committing a state crime has much greater implications and future penalties. Federal environmental crimes include the willful, knowledgeable, or negligent breach of environmental legislation. In 1982 the federal government established the Criminal Enforcement Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tackle pollution. Since then, environmental crimes have been increasingly prosecuted by the Federal government. Federal prosecutors and judges take on environmental crimes vigorously, often with successful cases leading to substantial fines and jail sentences.

Just like individuals, businesses have to abide by a host of federal and state environmental legislation. These regulations regulate a broad spectrum of actions, including the safe disposal of toxic or hazardous waste and materials. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in serious civil penalties and even criminal ones. Furthermore, negative media coverage of environmental violations can cause untold damage to the reputation of a company.

As law enforcement officers investigate environmental crimes they can seek to pit a corporation's workers against their directors and officers. The government will effectively try to use leverage against an individual accused of misconduct to involve others in the company. Our law firm handles such claims and can represent individuals or companies involved in such cases.

The Florida DEP aims for a swift and effective resolution of violations. It also seeks enforcement compliance with environmental laws as a means of dissuading another violation from happening in the future. If you haven't been able to obtain correct environmental permits for a building site due to reasons such as not knowing they were needed, or unwittingly released materials you didn't know were harmful to a water body, the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh are here to help.

The general information provided above about environmental crimes in Fort Lauderdale is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case. Please call 954-500-0003 in Broward or 305-674-0003 in Miami to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh.

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