Environmental Criminal Law

Environmental Criminal Law

Lawyer for Environmental Criminal Law

Environmental criminal law has become increasingly important in recent years and has coined the term "Green Collar Crime". In a time when the protection of our environment is of crucial importance, offences against environmental regulations are being punished more severely than ever before. Attorney Dr. Elias Schönborn offers you nationwide competent Criminal Defense in environmental criminal law.
Als Anwalt für Umweltstrafrecht unterstützt Sie Dr. Elias Schönborn kompetent im Umweltstrafrecht und verteidigt Sie gegen umweltstrafrechtliche Vorwürfe

Special features of this area

Environmental criminal law primarily affects companies in certain sectors, such as industry, construction, agriculture and waste management. Environmental offences are mostly so-called endangerment offences and are often linked to a large number of administrative regulations. For criminal liability, it is often sufficient if there is an abstract environmental danger that exceeds a certain threshold of significance. This is because in the environmental field, actual damage and the question of causality are often difficult to prove.

Typical cases in practice

In practice, the following issues are frequently encountered in the area of environmental criminal law:

  • Environmental pollution: The release of harmful substances into the soil, water or air can lead to severe penalties.
  • Illegal waste disposal: The improper disposal of waste, especially hazardous waste, can be penalised with heavy fines and imprisonment.
  • Damage to animal or plant populations: Protected wild animal species are listed in the EU Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, for example. Violations can lead to judicial penalties if they exceed a certain threshold of significance.

Criminal Defense in Environmental Criminal Law

If you or your company are the subject of a preliminary investigation or main proceedings in the area of environmental criminal law, we provide professional Criminal Defense support. We have access to a network of proven specialists (experts and administrative lawyers) who can provide us with the best possible support in our defense work if required. We also prepare individual Risk Analyses and Legal Opinions and support companies discreetly in the Internal Investigation of possible violations.

If you need an experienced lawyer in this special area, please do not hesitate to contact us.


  • 1. What does environmental criminal law mean?

    Environmental criminal law is a cross-sectional legal matter that pertains to those areas of criminal law in which regulations for the protection of the environment are subject to judicial punishment. The objective of environmental criminal law is to impose sanctions on those who engage particularly serious environmentally damaging acts. In doing so, it serves to protect the environment by creating incentives for companies and private individuals to comply with environmental regulations. The environmental offenses in the Austrian Criminal Code (StGB) are frequently linked to various administrative regulations. The primary subjects of environmental offenses are commercial facility operators.
  • 2. When should a lawyer or a law firm for environmental criminal law be consulted?

    If you are accused of having committed an environmental crime, it is advisable to contact a lawyer specializing in environmental law as soon as possible. The accusations may take various forms, including the following charges: intentionally or negligently causing damage to the environment (Sec 180 StGB, Sec 181 StGB), intentional or negligent treatment or disposal of waste in a manner that is hazardous to the environment (Sec 181b StGB, Sec 181c StGB) and grossly negligent operation of a plant in a manner that is hazardous to the environment (Sec 181e StGB).
    A lawyer can efficiently protect the interests and rights of the client throughout the criminal proceedings. They can also work to ensure that important exculpatory arguments are included in the proceedings, with the aim of achieving the best possible outcome for the accused.
  • 3. What are the special features of criminal defense in environmental criminal law?

    One of the greatest distinctions between environmental criminal law and other areas of criminal law is the extraordinary complexity of the evidence. Environmental crimes often require a detailed investigation of the circumstances and proving causality can be a challenging endeavor. As a criminal defense lawyer for environmental criminal law, it is therefore essential to possess a profound comprehension of the environmental law context and a vast network in order to be able to promptly access the requisite experts (expert witnesses and colleagues) when necessary.

Are you facing allegations of environmental offences?

Contact us.