Environmental Crimes – Penal Code 14309

Risk of Prosecution for Environmental Crimes in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Early resolution of the problem can help you avoid the consequences of criminal liability.

Contact San Francisco Bay Area environmental crime defense lawyer, Ginny Harjot Walia to discuss your options and discuss your case involving environmental crimes.

Environmental Crimes include:

  • Illegal dumping
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Unauthorized development

In 1998, the California District Attorneys Association in partnership with state and federal environmental protection officials unveiled a program to put additional prosecutors in the field to help fight environmental crime in rural California. CDAA’s Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project increases prosecution of environmental offenders in 32 rural counties under the direction of local District Attorneys.

PENAL CODE SECTION 14309

14309. (a) The Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project, a cooperative project of the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California District Attorneys Association, is hereby established.

(b) The Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project shall have the following purposes:

(1) Discourage the commission of violations of environmental laws by demonstrating the effective response of the criminal justice system to these violations, including, but not limited to, assisting district attorneys, particularly in rural counties, in the prosecution of criminal violations of environmental laws and regulations, where a district attorney has requested assistance.

(2) Establish model environmental crime prevention, enforcement, and prosecution techniques with statewide application for fair, uniform, and effective application.

(3) Increase the awareness and effectiveness of efforts to enforce environmental laws and to better integrate environmental prosecution into California’s established criminal justice system by providing on the job education and training to local peace officers and prosecutors and to local and state environmental regulators.

(4) Promote, through uniform and effective prosecution and local assistance, the effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

(c) (1) The secretary shall award project grants and administer funding from the account to the California District Attorneys Association for the purpose of providing for the day-to-day operations of the project.

(2) The award may only be used to fund the costs of prosecutors, investigators, and research attorney staff, including salary, benefits, and expenses.

(3) Circuit prosecutor project employees may be either employees of the California District Attorneys Association or employees on loan from local, state, or federal governmental agencies.

(d) (1) A district attorney may request the assistance of a circuit prosecutor from the Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project for any of the following purposes:

(A) Assistance with the investigation and development of environmental cases.

(B) Consultation concerning whether an environmental case merits filing.

(C) Litigation support, including, but not limited to, the actual prosecution of the case. A district attorney shall, as appropriate, deputize a circuit prosecutor to prosecute cases within his or her jurisdiction.

(2) The authority of a deputized circuit prosecutor shall be consistent with and shall not exceed the authority of the elected district attorney or his or her deputies.

(3) Violations of city or county ordinances may be prosecuted by circuit prosecutors when there is an environmental nexus between the ordinance and a violation of state law, federal law, or both state and federal law.

(4) Participating district attorney offices shall provide matching funds or in-kind contributions equivalent to, but not less than, 20 percent of the expense of the deputized environmental circuit
prosecutor.