The state of California regulates the disposal of waste products. Individuals may end up facing criminal charges for illegal waste dumping. The court uses Penal Code 374.3 to prosecute the illegal disposal of waste. Note that PC 374.3 is an infraction in California and can lead to high fines.
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Defining Waste Matter in the State of California
It is illegal to dump “waste matter” in certain areas in California. According to the court system, waste matter is any substance used, leftover, or discarded. This may include:
- Garbage, refuse, and trash
- Construction material
- Paper containers or packaging
- Dead animal carcasses
- Matches, cigars, or cigarettes
It is also a crime to dispose of asphalt, dirt, rocks, or concrete improperly. Note this is not a comprehensive list of all the refuse that may be considered waste matter in the state of California.
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Locations for Illegal Waste Dumping in California
There are legal options to dispose of waste matter in California. Individuals only face PC 374.3 charges if they are accused of disposing of waste improperly. This generally means leaving the waste in an improper place. It is against the law to leave waste:
- On someone’s private property without their consent
- On public property, unless it is set aside for waste disposal
- On a private or public road
Additionally, individuals are not allowed to dump waste material on private property if the property is accessible to the public. This applies if the public can access the property through license or easement. Dumping waste material in these locations for any reason is against the law.
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Penalties Associated with Illegal Waste Dumping
Illegal waste dumping is considered an infraction in California. Infractions are generally treated as relatively minor offenses. A conviction for an infraction does not lead to jail or prison time. However, individuals may face fines for a conviction.
Additionally, the penalties for a PC 374.3 conviction are not always the same. Individuals face higher fines each time they are convicted. A PC 374.3 conviction may lead to:
- Up to $1,000 in fines for a first conviction
- Up to $1,500 in fines for a second conviction
- Up to $3,000 in fines for a third conviction
Generally, the court system will charge an individual separately for each day that they illegally dump waste material. That means an individual could face three violations if they dump waste for three consecutive days.
Furthermore, dumping tires is considered more serious than dumping other illegal waste. Individuals who dump tires may have their fines doubled by the court. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can provide more information about PC 374.3 charges. Find out how by calling (310) 896-2723.
Defenses for PC 374.3 Violations in California
Illegal waste dumping could lead to high fines in California. Fortunately, a property crimes lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle these charges. Your lawyer can try to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. He or she can argue that:
You Had Consent to Dump the Waste
You may not dump waste on private property without the consent of the owner. You can only legally dispose of the waste if you have permission. A lawyer can show that you had an agreement in place with the property’s owner before you dumped the waste.
You Dumped the Waste Under Duress
Sometimes individuals carry out a criminal act because they are forced into it. You may dump illegal waste because you are threatened by someone else to do so. If someone threatens to harm or kill you, it may allow you to avoid a conviction under PC 374.3. Tell a lawyer if you dumped illegal waste against your will.
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Get Help with Illegal Waste Dumping Charges
Penal Code 374.3 is used to prosecute illegal waste dumping in California. The Simmrin Law Group can help if you face this criminal charge. Just contact us by calling (310) 896-2723. You may also complete our online contact form. Begin working on your case today with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.
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