Federal law prohibits negligent, intentional or willful actions that harm the environment. For example, knowingly and deliberately disposing of hazardous materials by dumping them in the Monongahela River would be a federal environmental crime. Both individuals and corporations can be charged with environmental crimes.
If you are charged with an environmental crime, you may also be charged with other crimes too, such as fraud or conspiracy. If you are under investigation for an environmental crime, it is essential that you retain an experienced federal attorney as soon as possible.
Learn more in a free legal consultation with one of our federal defense lawyers today. We are available 24/7 to take your call at (412) 281-2146.
Prosecution of Environmental Crimes
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, created in 1982, leads the way in prosecuting federal environment crimes. While the EPA oversees investigations, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Sections or the U.S. Attorney’s Office files charges.
Federal environmental crimes are prosecuted under the criminal provisions of federal statutes that Congress passed into law to protect the environment. These include the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, if you are found guilty of a federal environmental crime you can be sent to a federal prison for up to 20 years. You may also have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
Types of Federal Environmental Crimes
Dumping raw sewage into a waterway is just one type of environmental crime that we have seen over the years, but there are several more. You can also be charged at the federal level for killing, maiming, or interfering with a nationally protected species, such as a bald eagle. In recent years, we have even seen federal convictions for harvesting plants that are protected under U.S. law.
Hiring Your Federal Defense
If you think that federal law enforcement is investigating you for environmental crimes or you have been formally indicted, it is critical to hire a defense attorney with experience in federal court as soon as possible. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, our federal defense lawyers are ready to answer questions, begin reviewing the evidence against you, and build your defense. We make ourselves personally available to you so that you understand what you’re facing, how the federal criminal process works, and much more.