Littering, while difficult to enforce, is a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. This is especially true in instances of commercial or residential dumping, which often describes unlawfully disposing of unwanted garbage or refuse in large quantities. Aside from future environmental issues posed by minor littering, such as cigarette butts and gum wrappers, some forms of littering present clear and present dangers to others immediately after the act. In fact, littering, whether accidental or on purpose, regularly blocks highways and streets, while also presenting sudden driving hazards that can cause accidents. Municipalities often issue citations, or for grievous acts, will criminal prosecute offenders, however, state littering laws take precedent over municipal laws according to past court precedents.
Littering, Illegal Dumping, and Commercial Environmental Law Violations
Illegal dumping and other littering offenses are often codified in state littering laws, which take consideration on the overall amount of damage an offense causes, as well as the intentions of the offender. For this reason, illegal dumping and other littering offenses done on a commercial scale, or as a byproduct of businesses, are often the most commonly fined and prosecuted. In these cases, large fines are often assessed as a means of recovering the costs of cleanup, as well as punitive measures taken in the forms of fines and fees against littering offenders. Additionally, injuries, loss, or other damages sustained by persons or property as the result of littering can result in criminally convicted parties being held liable for damage claims.
Geting Legal Help for Charges
For this reason, parties engaged in potentially illegal dumping or littering, as well as those already facing littering fines and arrests, should consult with an attorney. While the initial fallout from criminal charges may prove negligent, the scope of the damages is much wider, and in some cases, may result in fines and other actions taken by state and local governments, as well as the federal courts if jurisdictions permit.