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2011 Florida Statutes

F.S. 379.4015
379.4015 Nonnative and captive wildlife penalties.
(1) LEVEL ONE.Unless otherwise provided by law, the following classifications and penalties apply:
(a) A person commits a Level One violation if he or she violates any of the following provisions:
1. Rules or orders of the commission requiring free permits or other authorizations to possess captive wildlife.
2. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the filing of reports or other documents required of persons who are licensed to possess captive wildlife.
3. Rules or orders of the commission requiring permits to possess captive wildlife for which a fee is charged, when the person being charged was issued the permit and the permit has expired less than 1 year prior to the violation.
(b) Any person cited for committing any offense classified as a Level One violation commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in this section.
(c) Any person cited for committing a noncriminal infraction specified in paragraph (a) shall be cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for any noncriminal infraction is $50 if the person cited has not previously been found guilty of a Level One violation and $250 if the person cited has previously been found guilty of a Level One violation, except as otherwise provided in this subsection. Any person cited for failing to have a required permit or license shall pay an additional civil penalty in the amount of the license fee required.
(d) Any person cited for an infraction under this subsection may:
1. Post a bond, which shall be equal in amount to the applicable civil penalty; or
2. Sign and accept a citation indicating a promise to appear before the county court. The officer 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 this subsection may:
1. Pay the civil penalty, either by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of receiving the citation; or
2. If the person has posted bond, forfeit bond by not appearing at the designated time and location.
(f) If the person cited follows either of the procedures in subparagraph (e)1. or subparagraph (e)2., he or she shall be deemed to have admitted the infraction and to have waived his or her right to a hearing on the issue of commission of the infraction. Such admission shall not be used as evidence in any other proceedings except to determine the appropriate fine for any subsequent violations.
(g) Any person who willfully refuses to post bond or accept and sign a summons commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Any person who fails to pay the civil penalty specified in this subsection within 30 days after being cited for a noncriminal infraction or to appear before the court pursuant to this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(h) 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 less than those amounts in paragraph (c) and not to exceed $500.
(i) At a hearing under this chapter, the commission of a charged infraction must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
(j) If a person is found by the hearing official to have committed an infraction, she or he may appeal that finding to the circuit court.
(2) LEVEL TWO.Unless otherwise provided by law, the following classifications and penalties apply:
(a) A person commits a Level Two violation if he or she violates any of the following provisions:
1. Unless otherwise stated in subsection (1), rules or orders of the commission that require a person to pay a fee to obtain a permit to possess captive wildlife or that require the maintenance of records relating to captive wildlife.
2. Rules or orders of the commission relating to captive wildlife not specified in subsection (1) or subsection (3).
3. Rules or orders of the commission that require housing of wildlife in a safe manner when a violation results in an escape of wildlife other than Class I wildlife.
4. Rules or orders of the commission relating to wild animal life identified by commission rule as either conditional species or prohibited species.
5. Section 379.372, relating to capturing, keeping, possessing, transporting, or exhibiting venomous reptiles, reptiles of concern, conditional reptiles, or prohibited reptiles.
6. Section 379.373, relating to requiring a license or permit for the capturing, keeping, possessing, or exhibiting of venomous reptiles or reptiles of concern.
7. Section 379.374, relating to bonding requirements for public exhibits of venomous reptiles.
8. Section 379.305, relating to commission rules and regulations to prevent the escape of venomous reptiles or reptiles of concern.
9. Section 379.304, relating to exhibition or sale of wildlife.
10. Section 379.3761, relating to exhibition or sale of wildlife.
11. Section 379.3762, relating to personal possession of wildlife.
(b) A person who commits any offense classified as a Level Two violation and who has not been convicted of a Level Two or higher violation within the past 3 years commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) Unless otherwise stated in this subsection, a person who commits any offense classified as a Level Two violation within a 3-year period of any previous conviction of a Level Two or higher violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 with a minimum mandatory fine of $250.
(d) Unless otherwise stated in this subsection, a person who commits any offense classified as a Level Two violation within a 5-year period of any two previous convictions of Level Two or higher violations commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, with a minimum mandatory fine of $500 and a suspension of all licenses issued under this chapter related to captive wildlife for 1 year.
(e) A person who commits any offense classified as a Level Two violation within a 10-year period of any three previous convictions of Level Two or higher violations commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, with a minimum mandatory fine of $750 and a suspension of all licenses issued under this chapter related to captive wildlife for 3 years.
(f) In addition to being subject to the penalties under paragraphs (b)-(e), a person who commits a Level Two violation that is a violation of s. 379.372 or rules or orders relating to wild animal life identified as conditional or prohibited shall receive a minimum mandatory fine of $100 and immediately surrender the wildlife for which the violation was issued unless such person lawfully obtains a permit for possession.
(3) LEVEL THREE.Unless otherwise provided by law, the following classifications and penalties apply:
(a) A person commits a Level Three violation if he or she violates any of the following provisions:
1. Rules or orders of the commission that require housing of wildlife in a safe manner when a violation results in an escape of Class I wildlife.
2. Rules or orders of the commission related to captive wildlife when the violation results in serious bodily injury to another person by captive wildlife that consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
3. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the use of gasoline or other chemical or gaseous substances on wildlife.
4. Rules or orders of the commission prohibiting the release of wildlife for which only conditional possession is allowed.
5. Rules or orders of the commission prohibiting knowingly entering false information on an application for a license or permit when the license or permit is to possess wildlife in captivity.
6. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the illegal importation and possession of nonnative marine plants and animals.
7. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the importation, possession, or release of fish and wildlife for which possession is prohibited.
8. Section 379.231, relating to illegal importation or release of nonnative wildlife.
9. Section 379.305, relating to release or escape of nonnative venomous reptiles or reptiles of concern.
(b)1. A person who commits any offense classified as a Level Three violation and who has not been convicted of a Level Three or higher violation within the past 10 years commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. A person who commits any offense classified as a Level Three violation within a 10-year period of any previous conviction of a Level Three or higher violation commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, with a minimum mandatory fine of $750 and permanent revocation of all licenses or permits to possess captive wildlife issued under this chapter.
(4) LEVEL FOUR.Unless otherwise provided by law, the following classifications and penalties apply:
(a) A person commits a Level Four violation if he or she violates any Level Three provision after the permanent revocation of a license or permit.
(b) A person who commits any offense classified as a Level Four violation commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF LICENSE.The court may order the suspension or revocation of any license or permit issued to a person to possess captive wildlife pursuant to this chapter if that person commits a criminal offense or a noncriminal infraction as specified under this section.
(6) CIVIL PENALTY.
(a) In addition to other applicable penalties, the commission may impose against any person, party, firm, association, or corporation convicted of a criminal violation of any provision of s. 379.231, s. 379.372, s. 379.3761, or s. 379.3762 a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each animal, unless otherwise authorized pursuant to subparagraphs 1.-5. For all related violations attributable to a specific violator, the total civil penalty may not exceed $10,000 for each assessment for each animal.
1. The history of noncompliance of the violator for any previous violation of this chapter or rules or orders of the commission shall be considered in determining the amount of the civil penalty.
2. The direct economic benefit gained by the violator from the violation may be added to the scheduled civil penalty.
3. The costs incurred by the commission related to the escape, recovery, and care of the wildlife for which the violation was issued shall be added to the civil penalty.
4. The civil penalty assessed for a violation may not exceed $5,000 for each animal unless:
a. The violator has a history of noncompliance;
b. The economic benefit of the violation exceeds $5,000; or
c. The costs incurred by the commission related to the escape, recovery, and care of the wildlife for which the violation was issued exceeds $5,000.
5. The civil penalty assessed pursuant to this subsection may be reduced by the commission for mitigating circumstances, including good faith efforts to comply before or after discovery of the violations by the commission.
(b) The proceeds of all civil penalties collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the State Game Trust Fund and shall be used for management, administration, auditing, and research purposes.
(7) CONVICTION DEFINED.For purposes of this section, the term “conviction” means any judicial disposition other than acquittal or dismissal.
(8) COMMISSION LIMITATIONS.Nothing in this section shall limit the commission from suspending or revoking any license to possess wildlife in captivity by administrative action in accordance with chapter 120. For purposes of administrative action, a conviction of a criminal offense shall mean any judicial disposition other than acquittal or dismissal.
(9) ANNUAL REPORT.By January 1 of each year, the commission shall submit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report listing each species identified by the commission as a conditional or prohibited species or a reptile of concern.
History.s. 21, ch. 2006-304; s. 7, ch. 2007-239; s. 169, ch. 2008-247; s. 42, ch. 2009-86; s. 6, ch. 2010-185.
Note.Former s. 372.935.