Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan announced today that he opened up an investigation against the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline threatening to charge the company and its employees with violent crimes such as causing or risking catastrophe. Opening up an investigation is not the same as bringing charges against an actual defendant. terroristic threats In this case, Mr. Hogan is simply announcing that he is exploring whether the Sunoco committed crimes while installing the pipeline. The elements for violent crimes such as causing or risking catastrophe can be found under title 18 of the Pennsylvania crimes code in section 3302. In order to be found guilty of this crime, the government must prove the following criminal elements beyond a reasonable doubt: First, that a person caused a catastrophe. Second, that he or she caused the catastrophe by either explosion, fire, collapse of building or other harmful substance, or by any other means of causing potentially widespread injury or damage. If the government cannot prove these charges then a defendant would be found not guilty of the crime.
Either corporations or individuals can be charged with Violent crimes such as causing or risking catastrophe. domestic abuse Additionally, this crime is extremely serious in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The crime is graded as a felony of the first degree if the defendant risked or caused the catastrophe either intentionally or knowingly. In this circumstance the crime is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The crime is graded as a felony of the second degree if the defendant acted recklessly as opposed to intentionally or knowingly. In this circumstance the crime is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. Finally, this crime is graded as a felony of the third degree if the defendant recklessly created a risk of catastrophe while using fire or explosives. Make sure to contact the experienced Chester County Criminal Lawyers at Kelly & Conte if you are being investigated for committing the crime of risking catastrophe.