Texas Health and Safety Code - HEALTH & SAFETY § 365.012. Illegal Dumping;  Discarding Lighted Materials;  Criminal Penalties

(a) A person commits an offense if the person disposes or allows or permits the disposal of litter or other solid waste at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, including a place on or within 300 feet of a public highway, on a right-of-way, on other public or private property, or into inland or coastal water of the state.

(a-1) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person discards lighted litter, including a match, cigarette, or cigar, onto open-space land, a private road or the right-of-way of a private road, a public highway or other public road or the right-of-way of a public highway or other public road, or a railroad right-of-way;  and

(2) a fire is ignited as a result of the conduct described by Subdivision (1).

(b) A person commits an offense if the person receives litter or other solid waste for disposal at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, regardless of whether the litter or other solid waste or the land on which the litter or other solid waste is disposed is owned or controlled by the person.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person transports litter or other solid waste to a place that is not an approved solid waste site for disposal at the site.

(d) An offense under Subsection (a), (b), or (c) is a Class C misdemeanor if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs five pounds or less or has a volume of five gallons or less.

(d-1) An offense under Subsection (a-1) is a misdemeanor under this subsection if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs less than 500 pounds or has a volume of less than 100 cubic feet and is punishable by:

(1) a fine not to exceed $500;

(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 30 days;  or

(3) both such fine and confinement.

(e) An offense under Subsection (a), (b), or (c) is a Class B misdemeanor if the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs more than five pounds but less than 500 pounds or has a volume of more than five gallons but less than 100 cubic feet.

(f) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor if:

(1) the litter or other solid waste to which the offense applies weighs 500 pounds or more but less than 1,000 pounds or has a volume of 100 cubic feet or more but less than 200 cubic feet;  or

(2) the litter or other solid waste is disposed for a commercial purpose and weighs more than five pounds but less than 200 pounds or has a volume of more than five gallons but less than 200 cubic feet.

(g) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the litter or solid waste to which the offense applies:

(1) weighs 1,000 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more;

(2) is disposed of for a commercial purpose and weighs 200 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more;  or

(3) is contained in a closed barrel or drum.

(h) If it is shown on the trial of the defendant for an offense under this section that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense under this section, the punishment for the offense is increased to the punishment for the next highest category.

(i) On conviction for an offense under this section, the court shall provide to the defendant written notice that a subsequent conviction for an offense under this section may result in the forfeiture under Chapter 59, Code of Criminal Procedure, of the vehicle used by the defendant in committing the offense.

(j) The offenses prescribed by this section include the unauthorized disposal of litter or other solid waste in a dumpster or similar receptacle.

(k) This section does not apply to the temporary storage for future disposal of litter or other solid waste by a person on land owned by that person, or by that person's agent.  The commission by rule shall regulate temporary storage for future disposal of litter or other solid waste by a person on land owned by the person or the person's agent.

(l) This section does not apply to an individual's disposal of litter or other solid waste if:

(1) the litter or waste is generated on land the individual owns;

(2) the litter or waste is not generated as a result of an activity related to a commercial purpose;

(3) the disposal occurs on land the individual owns;  and

(4) the disposal is not for a commercial purpose.

(m) A municipality or county may offer a reward of $50 for reporting a violation of this section that results in a prosecution under this section.

(n) An offense under this section may be prosecuted without alleging or proving any culpable mental state, unless the offense is a state jail felony.

(o) For purposes of a prosecution under Subsection (g), a generator creates a rebuttable presumption of lack of culpable mental state if the generator of the solid waste to be disposed of secures, prior to the hauler's receipt of the solid waste, a signed statement from the hauler that the solid waste will be disposed of legally.  The statement shall include the hauler's valid Texas driver's license number.

(p) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a-1) that the person discarded the lighted litter in connection with controlled burning the person was conducting in the area into which the lighted litter was discarded.

(q) The operator of a public conveyance in which smoking tobacco is allowed shall post a sign stating the substance of Subsections (a-1) and (d-1) in a conspicuous place within any portion of the public conveyance in which smoking is allowed.

(r) If conduct that constitutes an offense under Subsection (a-1) also constitutes an offense under Subsection (a), the actor may be prosecuted only under Subsection (a-1).  If conduct that constitutes an offense under Subsection (a-1) also constitutes an offense under Chapter 28, Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under Subsection (a-1) or Chapter 28, Penal Code, but not both.

(s) On conviction of an offense under this section, the court shall require the defendant, in addition to any fine or other penalty, to perform community service as provided by Article 42A.304(e), Code of Criminal Procedure .


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