Individuals and businesses can face criminal penalties, administrative sanctions and civil lawsuits for monetary damages as the result of violations of federal and state environmental laws in Texas. Grand jury investigations into allegations of environmental crimes will frequently result in subpoenas compelling a person to appear and testify. Contacting an experienced environmental crimes attorney is essential to knowing your rights and what to expect when at the grand jury.
State and federal environmental agencies aggressively investigate and prosecute environmental crimes. Individuals or businesses can be targeted by investigators by engaging in any of the following activities:
Violators of state or federal environmental laws are subject to an array of criminal and administrative penalties. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality shares jurisdiction over the investigation of violations of state environmental laws with local district attorneys. Violations of federal environmental laws are under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Environmental crimes under Texas law may result in criminal sentences including:
In addition to criminal penalties, a violator of state or federal environmental laws is subject to administrative penalties from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality or from the federal EPA. The environmental laws also allow criminal court judges or the environmental agencies to order violators to pay the costs associated with cleaning or remedying the violation. Depending on the extent of the pollution, the cleanup costs could be substantial.
Environmental crimes frequently involve violations of both state and federal laws. A single violation can expose an individual or business to multiple investigations including a vast array of criminal statutes that can overlap. If a business or individual becomes aware of a possible violation of the environmental laws, a skilled and knowledgeable environmental crimes attorney might be able to mitigate possible criminal consequences by recommending corrective action.
Agencies investigating environmental crimes will frequently target a company’s employees in an effort to obtain statements incriminating their employer. A criminal defense attorney might be able to challenge the admissibility of such statements at an environmental crimes trial.
If you or your company becomes the target of a criminal investigation by the EPA or local Texas prosecutors, consult with Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law to receive expert legal advice from a skilled environmental crimes lawyer. To schedule a free consultation, call 713-862-8880.