While I certainly object to the stereotype that New Jersey is a dump, I will concede that this state has had a major problem with illegal dumping, which is the illegal, improper disposal of waste. Oftentimes, people will improperly dispose of their waste in order to avoid the inconvenience and expense of proper waste disposal. To combat this growing problem, New Jersey has enacted stringent legislation to deter illegal dumpers.
Littering v. Illegal Dumping in New Jersey
First thing first, one should be aware that New Jersey, like most states, legally differentiates between littering and illegal dumping. While both offenses deal with the illegal disposal of trash and refuse, the offenses can be differentiated by what is being dumped and how much is being dumped. Illegal dumping is the dumping of large amounts of waste (for example, medical waste, automobile parts, electronic waste, construction debris, etc.). This illegal dumping of large amounts of waste is often seen dumped in less travelled areas of the state such as in the wetlands or the woods, but also in the cities. This illegal dumping threatens our local environment and the public’s enjoyment thereof, takes away from the natural beauty of New Jersey’s public lands, decreases property values for people who own homes and business in areas where illegal dumping is rampant, hurts animals both domestic and wild, and increases New Jersey taxes since the state has to levy money from taxpayers to clean up the mess.
Penalties for Littering in New Jersey
The penalties for littering in New Jersey are significantly less than the penalties for illegal dumping. Pursuant to the New Jersey laws that govern littering in state parks and recreation areas, “A person who throws, drops, discards or otherwise places any litter of any nature upon public or private property other than in a litter receptacle commits a petty disorderly person’s offense … for every such offense shall be fined not less than $100 or more than $500.” In addition to those fines, the court may direct the person to perform community service, including litter pickup and removal from any public property, or any private property with permission of the owner, upon which the person deposited litter, for a term of not less than 20 hours nor more than 40 hours.”
If a person is convicted of littering for a second time within six months of their first conviction for littering, the convicted person “shall be sentenced to pay a fine not less than $250 or more than $1,000, may be sentenced to imprisonment for a definite term not to exceed 60 days, and may be directed to perform community service, including litter pickup and removal from any public property or from any private property if permission of the owner has been granted, for a term of not less than 40 nor more than 80 hours.”
Illegal Dumping in New Jersey: A Statewide Crackdown with Increased Enforcement and Heightened Legal Penalties
When it comes to illegal dumping cases in New Jersey, law enforcement most definitely does not turn a blind eye. Rather, State Park Police & Conservation Officers are out in full force, as are other state and local police agencies. Perpetrators face minimum fines of $2,500 and up to $50,000 and mandatory driver’s license suspension. Vehicles used to illegally dump waste may also be confiscated and forfeited to the State of New Jersey. In addition, perpetrators may also be targeted by staff from the Department’s Compliance and Enforcement division which could lead to an additional $50,000 per violation in penalties.
What’s more, under this new anti-illegal dumping initiative, the police department has invested significant time, money, and resources in advanced technology such as concealed wildlife cameras and other advanced intelligence systems set up across the state of New Jersey to help catching perpetrators. These advanced technology systems are intended to provide video evidence in a court of law that will be able to provide the requisite evidence needed to penalize guilty offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
The new cameras will help law enforcement watch parts of New Jersey that are known to be popular illegal dumping sites, but the state’s legal enforcement team can’t be everywhere and see everything all the time. That’s why New Jersey law enforcement officials are calling on the public to help them find violators of illegal dumping laws. On the state’s website for illegal dumping( www.stopdumping.nj.gov ), “residents will be able to view images of illegal dumping activities and help identify the offenders.” As reported in NJ.com, officials said, “Once investigators uncover illegal dumping activities, they typically search the materials for evidence leading to the responsible parties, such as receipts or magazine subscription information. By posting the names and faces of convicted offender on the website, the goal is to deter others from illegally dumping.”
In addition to legal consequences for illegal dumping, New Jersey has tried to curtail this behavior through community cleanups and stewardship and there have been many organized community cleanups in the past five years throughout various New Jersey locations.
Have you been charged with illegal dumping in New Jersey?
If so, you must take these charges seriously as the state of New Jersey certainly does and a conviction can possibly mean significant financial penalties, jail time, confiscation and forfeiture of equipment and vehicles used to carry out the illegal dumping, and your picture and name posted on the New Jersey stop dumping website for everyone to see, and a criminal conviction. There’s just too much at stake to fight your illegal dumping charge without an attorney.
You need aggressive legal representation for the best shot at protecting your record, your reputation, and your future. While we cannot guarantee any results (and you should be extremely wary of any lawyer who guarantees results or makes promises regarding the outcome of your case), it is to your advantage to have the assistance of a Newark, NJ criminal defense attorney or a Jersey City, NJ criminal defense attorney who will personally work with you during all stages of your legal case. The seasoned criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark are experienced with defending clients charged with illegal dumping in New Jersey. Our lawyers will help guide you through this complex legal process and advocate tirelessly on your behalf to the petition the court for the best possible outcome.
To schedule your free consultation with a skilled New Jersey criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Eric M. Mark, contact us online here or you can reach us at:
Law Office of Eric M. Mark NEWARK OFFICE
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Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 453-2009
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Jersey City, NJ 07302
Phone: (201) 713-2227
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Cranford, NJ 07016
Phone: (908) 224-0442