December 14, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 556
UNDERGROUND FACILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION AND SAFETY
View Entire Chapter
Section 556.107, Florida Statutes 2009

556.107  Violations.--

(1)  NONCRIMINAL INFRACTIONS.--

(a)  Violations of the following provisions are noncriminal infractions:

1.  Section 556.105(1), relating to providing required information.

2.  Section 556.105(6), relating to the avoidance of excavation.

3.  Section 556.105(11), relating to the need to stop excavation or demolition.

4.  Section 556.105(12), relating to the need to cease excavation or demolition activities.

5.  Section 556.105(5)(b) and (c) relating to identification of underground facilities, if a member operator does not mark an underground facility, but not if a member operator marks an underground facility incorrectly.

(b)  Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) may be issued a citation by any local or state law enforcement officer, government code inspector, or code enforcement officer, and the issuer of a citation may require an excavator to cease work on any excavation or not start a proposed excavation until there has been compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Citations shall be hand delivered to any employee of the excavator or member operator who is involved in the noncriminal infraction. The citation shall be issued in the name of the excavator or member operator, whichever is applicable.

(c)  Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) may be required to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for any such infraction is $250 plus court costs, except as otherwise provided in this section. If a citation is issued by a local law enforcement officer, a local government code inspector, or a code enforcement officer, 80 percent of the civil penalty collected by the clerk of the court shall be distributed to the local governmental entity whose employee issued the citation and 20 percent of the penalty shall be retained by the clerk to cover administrative costs, in addition to other court costs. If a citation is issued by a state law enforcement officer, the civil penalty collected by the clerk shall be retained by the clerk for deposit into the fine and forfeiture fund established pursuant to s. 142.01. Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly respond to a citation issued pursuant to paragraph (d) shall, in addition to the citation, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such citation and, upon conviction, commits 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 any citation is issued pursuant to paragraph (b).

(d)  Any person cited for an infraction under paragraph (a), unless required to appear before the county court, may:

1.  Post a bond, which shall be equal in amount to the applicable civil penalty plus court costs; or

2.  Sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear before the county court.

The person issuing the citation may indicate on the citation the time and location of the scheduled hearing and shall indicate the applicable civil penalty.

(e)  Any person charged with a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a), unless required to appear before the county court, may:

1.  Pay the civil penalty plus court costs, in lieu of appearance, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of receiving the citation; or

2.  Forfeit bond, if a bond has been posted, by not appearing at the designated time and location.

If the person cited follows either of the above procedures, she or he is deemed to have admitted to committing the infraction and to have waived the right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. The admission may be used as evidence in any other proceeding under this chapter.

(f)  Any person electing to appear before the county court or who is required to appear shall be deemed to have waived the limitations on the civil penalty specified in paragraph (c). 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 $5,000 plus court costs. In determining the amount of the civil penalty, the court may consider previous noncriminal infractions committed.

(g)  At a hearing under this chapter, the commission of a charged infraction must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

(h)  If a person is found by the hearing official to have committed an infraction, the person may appeal that finding to the circuit court.

(i)  Sunshine State One-Call of Florida, Inc., may, at its own cost, retain an attorney to assist in the presentation of relevant facts and law in the county court proceeding pertaining to the citation issued under this section. The corporation may also appear in any case appealed to the circuit court if a county court finds that an infraction of the chapter was committed. An appellant in the circuit court proceeding shall timely notify the corporation of any appeal under this section.

(2)  MISDEMEANORS.--Any person who knowingly and willfully removes or otherwise destroys the valid stakes or other valid physical markings described in s. 556.105(5)(b) and (c) used to mark the horizontal route of an underground facility commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. For purposes of this subsection, stakes or other nonpermanent physical markings are considered valid for 30 calendar days after information is provided to the system under s. 556.105(1)(c).

History.--s. 7, ch. 93-240; s. 2, ch. 96-172; s. 1177, ch. 97-103; s. 6, ch. 2002-234; s. 7, ch. 2006-138.

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