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Federal Crimes: Environmental Crimes in Florida

Miami Defense Attorneys Explain the FL Litter Law

Environmental crimes are prosecuted both in state and federal court. State court cases are prosecuted under the "Litter Law" and are usually relegated to situations that involve illegal dumping of solid waste. Under Florida's "Litter Law", it is a crime for any person to dump litter in any manner or amount on any public highway, road, street or alley. Violations of the "Litter Law" will also apply to the illegal dumping of waste into freshwater lakes, rivers, canals, or other water ways. "Litter" is defined as any garbage, trash, rubbish or refuse, including, but not limited to building or construction materials, motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts, or other forms of commercial waste. Illegal dumping penalties can range from civil citations up to a third degree felony.

Litter Law
The potential penalties will be determined in large part on the size, amount and type of waste that was illegally dumped. The Miami criminal lawyers at DMT have represented dozens of defendants being investigated or prosecuted under Florida's "Litter Law". In general, the most serious types of "Litter Law" violation can be resolved by way of pre-trial intervention. However, our criminal attorneys also have extensive trial experience in this arena if pre-trial intervention is unacceptable to our client.


A federal prosecution for committing a federal crime has far more reaching consequences and potential penalties. Federal environmental crimes involve the willful, knowing, or negligent violation of environmental regulations. To combat pollution, the federal government created the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Criminal Enforcement in 1982. Since that time, the federal government has increasingly prosecuted environmental crimes. Federal prosecutors and judges take environmental crimes seriously with successful prosecutions sometimes leading to large fines and prison sentences. The federal criminal enforcement program was granted full law enforcement authority in 1988 and has the ability to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct that threatens the health and the environment.

The majority of federal cases are charged under violations of the following acts:
  • the Clean Water Act
  • the Clean Air Act
  • the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
A variety of environmental offenses can be prosecuted under these acts, such as, toxic dumping, hazardous material spills, soil, water and air pollution, water contamination, and air quality violations to name a few. Anyone charged for violations of this type or any other violation of the federal environmental laws faces extensive fines and could even result in incarceration for serious offenses. Our environmental criminal attorneys have experience in guiding clients through the investigative and criminal process in the most egregious of situations.


There are even environmental law enforcement agencies that act on an international level. International laws were created in an effort to ensure that global industries and foreign governments comply with the obligation established in foreign treaties. The international laws dictate how sovereign states manage their environmental issues. The Interpol enforces international environmental law violations. Of course, Interpol only has jurisdiction over participating countries. Interpol has been investigating and prosecuting international environmental crimes since 1992. Other international bodies such as the G8, EU, UN Environmental Programme and the UN Interregional Crimes and Justice Research Institute recognize and investigate crimes such as illegal wild life trade, smuggling of ozone depleting substances, illegal dumping of hazardous waste and illegal fishing and operation of fisheries.


To speak with an experienced defense lawyer at the criminal defense law firm of DMT about your state or federal environmental crimes case or any other matter relating to a federal criminal investigation, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can contact our office at (305) 444-0030 or reach us by completing our contact page or by sending an e-mail.
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