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Environmental

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Environmental Law in Brazil

If you are planning on starting a business in Brazil or simply looking to stay for a while, it is important that you understand the environmental law system. Especially if you are hiring contractors to start building on a new plot of land, you could get yourself into a lot of legal trouble without fully understanding the implications of Brazilian environmental law. While the goals and objectives of environmental law are essentially the same as in other countries, there are certain intricacies that you may have never thought of. Of course, the purpose of any environmental law is to protect the natural environment by resisting pollution and safeguarding the habitats of animals that contribute to the ecosystem. They are also meant to protect the resources of the land for future generations. While an overview is helpful, you should seriously consider attaining guidance from a professional before embarking on any land alterations.

The Environment in the Brazilian Constitution

Over the past few decades, the Brazilian Constitution has drastically changed how it addresses the environment. The way it is currently addressed implies that the environment is legally defined as all physical, biological, and chemical conditions that facilitate shelter and govern life in all forms. Unlike the environmental guidelines in the constitution of the past, the environment is now considered a single entity, and many laws come together to dictate how it should be treated. In prior iteration, the environment was separated into “forest law” and a “water law.” While infractions on either of these facets of the environment are still considered a crime, they will both be judged under the overarching laws of the environment as a whole.

Environmental Crimes

If you are building or renovating in Brazil for the first time, you could accidentally commit an environmental crime. For example, if you were to spill any hazardous materials in one of the many rivers, you could easily be charged. It is imperative that you fully understand all of the environmental laws in Brazil before making any alterations to the land. If you are found guilty of an environmental crime, your penalty will depend on your crime. You could get up to four years in prison, even if it is your first offense. When deciding on the penalty, authorities will look at:

  • How serious the violation was, which includes the reason and the consequences to the environment and to public health
  • The violator’s past history with environmental crimes
  • The financial situation of the person who committed the crime
  • Whether or not the crime was committed with malice
  • The background, personality, and social behavior of the person who committed the crime

When your penalty has been determined, it could range from any of the following:

  • Community service commitment
  • A temporary suspension of your rights
  • Total suspension of activities, which would include your building process
  • Fines
  • House Arrest
  • Imprisonment

Clearly, being convicted of any type of crime against the environment would not only give your business or company a bad name, but it would also present you with an inconvenient, if not life-altering penalty. Taking the proper steps, such as hiring an attorney with experience in environmental law, will help to ensure that you won’t accidentally harm the environment in your business venture. Moreover, it would save you time and money in the long run.

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