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Unlawful dumping of waste matter – California Penal Code PC 274.3

Posted by Raoul Severo | Nov 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

PC 374.3

California Penal Code PC 347.3 is the general law regarding the unlawful dumping of waste matters. In this statute, the act is criminalized by the criminal justice system to regulate the state's illegal waste disposal problems.

Public properties: sections a and b

A person violating sections (a) and (b) is guilty of infraction

(a) It is unlawful to dump or cause to be dumped waste matter in or upon a public or private highway or road, including any portion of the right-of-way thereof, or in or upon private property into or upon which the public is admitted by easement or license, or upon private property without the consent of the owner, or in or upon a public park or other public property other than property designated or set aside for that purpose by the governing board or body having charge of that property.

(b) It is unlawful to place, deposit, or dump, or cause to be placed, deposited, or dumped, rocks, concrete, asphalt, or dirt in or upon a private highway or road, including any portion of the right-of-way of the private highway or road, or private property, without the consent of the owner or a contractor under contract with the owner for the materials, or in or upon a public park or other public property, without the consent of the state or local agency having jurisdiction over the highway, road, or property.

Private properties: sections d and e

(d) This section does not restrict a private owner in the use of his or her own private property, unless the placing, depositing, or dumping of the waste matter on the property creates a public health and safety hazard, a public nuisance, or a fire hazard, as determined by a local health department, local fire department or district providing fire protection services, or the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in which case this section applies.

(e) A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) upon a first conviction, by a mandatory fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) upon a second conviction, and by a mandatory fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) nor more than three thousand dollars ($3,000) upon a third or subsequent conviction. If the court finds that the waste matter placed, deposited, or dumped was used tires, the fine prescribed in this subdivision shall be doubled.

Commercial quantities: section h

“Commercial quantities” means an amount of waste matter generated in the course of a trade, business, profession, or occupation, or an amount equal to or in excess of one cubic yard. This subdivision does not apply to the dumping of household waste at a person's residence.

For purposes of this section, “person” means an individual, trust, firm, partnership, joint stock company, joint venture, or corporation.

Legal Defenses

When facing allegations of unlawful dumping of waste matter under PC 274.3, the defendant, together with his/her attorney, can use the following conditions to challenge the claims of the plaintiff and prove his/her innocence:

  • The act was done with consent,
  • The act was done under duress, or
  • The act was done out of necessity.

Consented – This condition is a valid defense when the defendant is under the impression that he/she has the consent of the property's owner and/or manager (for private properties) or the local government's (for public properties).

Duress – This condition is a valid defense when the defendant is forced to dump waste matters unlawfully through the use of threats. The use of force or coercion is the most critical determining factor for this defense.

Necessity – This condition is a valid defense when the defendant only acted out of sheer necessity. The utter lack of other options is the most critical determining factor for this defense.

Legal conflicts regarding unlawful dumping of waste matter under PC 274.3 is a hassle. It risks the defendant being subjected to incarceration, plus the expensive monetary penalties can surely leave a dent on someone's financial savings. To avoid all the troubles altogether, the moment one is accused of doing such illegal acts, it would be their best decision to seek the aid of legal professionals immediately. By doing so, the charges can be settled in the soonest time possible. Our team of first-class California based attorneys can help you get out of legal conflicts.

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