2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
933.40 Agriculture warrants.—
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Agriculture warrant” means an order in writing, in the name of the people, signed by a person competent to issue search warrants pursuant to s. 933.01, authorizing department employees to exercise any duty or power granted by chapter 581 or chapter 585 with respect to any plant pest or animal pest identified in the warrant, including, but not limited to, conducting inspections, setting traps, examining records, testing, dipping, disinfecting, treating, identifying, quarantining, taking samples and measurements, and seizing or destroying property.
(b) “Animal pest” means any biological or chemical residue as defined in s. 585.01(4), pathogenic organism or virulent organism as defined in s. 585.01(15), or any transmissible, communicable, contagious, or infectious disease as described in s. 585.01(18).
(c) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(d) “Electronic signature” means any letters, characters, symbols, or process manifested by electronic or similar means and attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.
(e) “Parcel number” means the distinct parcel identification number assigned to a parcel of property by the property appraiser for the county in which the property is located.
(f) “Plant pest” means any plant pest, noxious weed, or arthropod declared a nuisance by the department pursuant to s. 581.031(6).
(g) When capitalized, “Section” has the meaning ascribed in 43 U.S.C. s. 751.
(2) An agriculture warrant shall be issued only upon application supported by affidavit and shall describe the street address and city or the parcel number and county of each property to be subject to the warrant and each type of plant pest or animal pest which will be the subject of the warrant.
(3) An agriculture warrant shall be issued only upon probable cause. In determining the existence of probable cause for the issuance of one or more agriculture warrants, one or more of the following findings may be sufficient to support a determination of probable cause:
(a) The property to be subject to the agriculture warrant is located within an area subject to a quarantine which has been established by the department with respect to the plant pest or animal pest that is the subject of the warrant; or
(b) Under all of the circumstances set forth in the affidavit, there is a fair probability the property subject to the agriculture warrant:
1. Contains a plant pest;
2. Is located in an area that may reasonably be suspected of being infested or infected with a plant pest due to its proximity to a known infestation, or if it is reasonably exposed to infestation;
3. Contains animals affected with any animal pest or which have been exposed to and are liable to spread the animal pest; or
4. Contains any other property that is liable to convey an animal pest.
(4) A single warrant application shall be sufficient for the issuance of multiple agriculture warrants if the application for the warrants describes the street address and city or the parcel number and county of each property subject to an agriculture warrant and all such properties are located within the same county.
(5) Agriculture warrants may be signed by any person competent to issue search warrants under s. 933.01, either manually, by signature stamp, or by electronic signature. The trial court judge, upon examination of the application and proofs submitted, if satisfied that probable cause exists for the issuing of one or more agriculture warrants, shall issue such agriculture warrants with his or her signature and office affixed thereto. Such agriculture warrants may be served and executed by employees of the department, with the assistance of third parties supervised by department employees, and shall authorize department employees with such assistance to undertake all actions authorized by the warrant.
(6) Prior notice to the owner or occupant of the property to be subject to the agriculture warrant, or to any other person, of the application for agriculture warrants shall not be required as a condition for the issuance of warrants under this section. At the time of execution of the agriculture warrant, a copy, including any applicable renewal or extension thereof under subsection (8), shall be delivered to a person 18 years of age or older who is occupying or living on the property subject to the warrant or shall be attached to a conspicuous place on that property.
(7) The department shall be entitled to an ex parte hearing forthwith on an application for an agriculture warrant.
(8) An agriculture warrant shall be effective for 60 days and shall authorize multiple executions of the warrant prior to its expiration. An agriculture warrant may be extended or renewed by the trial court judge who signed and issued the original warrant upon his or her satisfaction that probable cause continues to exist for the reissuance of the warrant. Such warrant must be returned to the issuing official prior to the expiration date specified in the warrant or within the extended or renewed time.
(9) An agriculture warrant shall not:
(a) Be executed between 7 p.m. of any day and 7 a.m. of the succeeding day, or on any legal holiday;
(b) Authorize the entry into or inspection of the interior of any occupied dwelling or any automobile; or
(c) Be issued in blank.
(10) Any person who willfully refuses to permit execution of any agriculture warrant commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(11) A person executing an agriculture warrant pursuant to this section shall not give information as a confidential informer, testify as a witness, or execute an affidavit as a predicate for the issuance of a criminal search warrant or for probable cause to search any dwelling or other building without a criminal search warrant.
(12) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the powers granted by general law to an agency of the state, or to a unit of local government acting on behalf of such agency pursuant to a contract with the agency, to conduct inspections with or without warrant as authorized by general law.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2004-52; s. 8, ch. 2006-45; s. 29, ch. 2010-117.