Criminal Littering and Polluting Laws in Arizona


Littering may not seem like a serious offense, but in Arizona, it’s a charge that can lead to significant consequences. So litterbugs take note: there are several ways you can be accused of criminal littering or polluting in Arizona.

Definitions of Criminal Littering in Arizona

A.R.S. 13-1603 describes the definitions of littering and polluting in Arizona. They’re generally broad definitions and include:

  1. Placing litter or “destructive or injurious material” on public or private property that isn’t immediately removed.
  2. Releasing sewage or other harmful products into bodies of water or shorelines in Arizona (lakes, rivers, etc.)
  3. Dumping any sort of earth-material (land, soil, plant-material) on any land, public or private

In general, most criminal littering falls into the first category, but the second and third definitions are relevant to businesses and entities that deal with large amounts of waste product.

According to the Maricopa Association of Governments, most cases of littering are due to failure to understand the consequences of littering, or a lack of understanding of what constitutes littering and pollution. With these definitions, you should have a general idea of what constitutes littering in Arizona.

Penalties for Criminal Littering in Arizona

In most cases, criminal littering and pollution in the state is a misdemeanor. There are cases, however, that can result in felony charges because of littering. A.R.S. 13-1603 explains the punishments:

  1. If the litter or polluting material is greater than 300 pounds or 100 cubic feet: class 6 felony
  2. If the litter occurred within 50 feet of a highway or shoreline: class 1 misdemeanor
  3. In all other cases of criminal littering and pollution: class 2 misdemeanor

In this case, the class 6 felony, which is the most severe, doesn’t typically apply to the general public. Many cases of littering involve throwing a cigarette or food product from a vehicle, and in this case, the charge could be a class 1 misdemeanor if it occurred on a highway or shore, and a class 2 misdemeanor in all other cases.

Help With Your Littering Charge

The penalties for these charges varies by circumstance, and for first-time offenders, a conviction typically includes fines and other consequences. If you’d like to minimize the impact of your littering charge, contact us to discuss your case and our criminal defense attorney team will help you reach an optimal outcome. We’ll work to reduce your charges and limit your penalties so you can move forward with ease.

Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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