Section 327.73, Florida Statutes 2003
327.73 Noncriminal infractions.--
(1) Violations of the following provisions of the vessel laws of this state are noncriminal infractions:
(a) Section 328.46, relating to operation of unregistered and unnumbered vessels.
(b) Section 328.48(4), relating to display of number and possession of registration certificate.
(c) Section 328.48(5), relating to display of decal.
(d) Section 328.52(2), relating to display of number.
(e) Section 328.54, relating to spacing of digits and letters of identification number.
(f) Section 328.60, relating to military personnel and registration of vessels.
(g) Section 328.72(13), relating to operation with an expired registration.
(h) Section 327.33(2), relating to careless operation.
(i) Section 327.37, relating to water skiing, aquaplaning, parasailing, and similar activities.
(j) Section 327.44, relating to interference with navigation.
(k) Violations relating to restricted areas and speed limits:
1. Established by the commission pursuant to s. 327.46.
2. Established by local governmental authorities pursuant to s. 327.22 or s. 327.60.
3. Speed limits established pursuant to s. 370.12(2).
(l) Section 327.48, relating to regattas and races.
(m) Section 327.50(1) and (2), relating to required safety equipment, lights, and shapes.
(n) Section 327.65, relating to muffling devices.
(o) Section 327.33(3)(b), relating to navigation rules.
(p) Section 327.39(1), (2), (3), and (5), relating to personal watercraft.
(q) Section 327.53(1), (2), and (3), relating to marine sanitation.
(r) Section 327.53(4), (5), and (7), relating to marine sanitation, for which the civil penalty is $250.
(s) Section 327.395, relating to boater safety education.
(t) Section 327.52(3), relating to operation of overloaded or overpowered vessels.
(u) Section 327.331, relating to divers-down flags, except for violations meeting the requirements of s. 327.33.
Any person cited for a violation of any such provision shall be deemed to be charged with a noncriminal infraction, shall be cited for such an infraction, and shall be cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for any such infraction is $50, except as otherwise provided in this section. Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly respond to a uniform boating citation shall, in addition to the charge relating to the violation of the boating laws of this state, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A written warning to this effect shall be provided at the time such uniform boating citation is issued.
(2) Any person cited for an infraction under this section may:
(a) Post a bond, which shall be equal in amount to the applicable civil penalty; or
(b) Sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear.
The officer may indicate on the citation the time and location of the scheduled hearing and shall indicate the applicable civil penalty.
(3) Any person who willfully refuses to post a bond or accept and sign a summons is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.
(4) Any person charged with a noncriminal infraction under this section may:
(a) Pay the civil penalty, either by mail or in person, within 30 days of the date of receiving the citation; or,
(b) If he or she has posted bond, forfeit bond by not appearing at the designated time and location.
If the person cited follows either of the above procedures, he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the noncriminal infraction and to have waived the right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceedings. If a person who is cited for a violation of s. 327.395 can show a boating safety identification card issued to that person and valid at the time of the citation, the clerk of the court may dismiss the case and may assess a $5 dismissal fee. If a person who is cited for a violation of s. 328.72(13) can show proof of having a registration for that vessel which was valid at the time of the citation, the clerk may dismiss the case and may assess a $5 dismissal fee.
(5) Any person electing to appear before the county court or who is required so to appear shall be deemed to have waived the limitations on the civil penalty specified in subsection (1). The court, after a hearing, shall make a determination as to whether an infraction has been committed. If the commission of an infraction has been proven, the court may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $500.
(6) At a hearing under this chapter the commission of a charged infraction must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
(7) If a person is found by the hearing official to have committed an infraction, he or she may appeal that finding to the circuit court.
(8) All fees and civil penalties assessed and collected pursuant to this section shall be remitted by the clerk of the court to the Department of Revenue to be deposited into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund for boating safety education purposes.
(9)1(a) Any person who fails to comply with the court's requirements or who fails to pay the civil penalties specified in this section within the 30-day period provided for in s. 327.72 must pay an additional court cost of $12, which shall be used by the clerks of the courts to defray the costs of tracking unpaid uniform boating citations.
(b) Any person who fails to comply with the court's requirements as to civil penalties specified in this section due to demonstrated financial hardship shall be authorized to satisfy such civil penalties by public works or community service. Each hour of such service shall be applied, at the rate of the minimum wage, toward payment of the person's civil penalties; provided, however, that if the person has a trade or profession for which there is a community service need and application, the rate for each hour of such service shall be the average standard wage for such trade or profession. Any person who fails to comply with the court's requirements as to such civil penalties who does not demonstrate financial hardship may also, at the discretion of the court, be authorized to satisfy such civil penalties by public works or community service in the same manner.
(c) If the noncriminal infraction has caused or resulted in the death of another, the court may require the person who committed the infraction to perform 120 community service hours in addition to any other penalties.
(10) Any person cited for any noncriminal infraction which results in an accident that causes the death of another, or which results in an accident that causes "serious bodily injury" of another as defined in s. 327.353(1), shall not have the provisions of subsection (4) available to him or her but must appear before the designated official at the time and location of the scheduled hearing.
(11)(a) Court costs that are to be in addition to the stated civil penalty shall be imposed by the court in an amount not less than the following:
1. For swimming or diving infractions, $3.
2. For nonmoving boating infractions, $6.
3. For boating infractions listed in s. 327.731(1), $10.
(b) In addition to the court cost assessed under paragraph (a), the court shall impose a $3 court cost for each noncriminal infraction, to be distributed as provided in s. 938.01, and a $2 court cost as provided in s. 938.15 when assessed by a municipality or county.
Court costs imposed under this subsection may not exceed $30. A criminal justice selection center or both local criminal justice access and assessment centers may be funded from these court costs.
History.--s. 3, ch. 86-35; s. 7, ch. 87-392; s. 6, ch. 88-133; s. 4, ch. 88-144; s. 5, ch. 89-136; s. 32, ch. 91-221; s. 2, ch. 93-83; s. 2, ch. 93-254; s. 7, ch. 94-241; s. 955, ch. 95-148; s. 3, ch. 96-187; s. 60, ch. 96-413; s. 3, ch. 97-16; s. 2, ch. 99-162; s. 31, ch. 99-289; s. 48, ch. 2000-152; ss. 22, 23, ch. 2000-362; s. 13, ch. 2001-122; s. 3, ch. 2002-46; s. 13, ch. 2003-143; s. 103, ch. 2003-402.
1Note.--Section 103, ch. 2003-402, amended paragraph (9)(a), effective July 1, 2004, to read:
(9)(a) Any person who fails to comply with the court's requirements or who fails to pay the civil penalties specified in this section within the 30-day period provided for in s. 327.72 must pay an additional court cost of up to $18, which shall be used by the clerks of the courts to defray the costs of tracking unpaid uniform boating citations.