2019 Florida Statutes
(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 because marks are no longer visible, or, in the case of underwater facilities, are inadequately documented.
4. Section 556.105(12), relating to the need to cease excavation or demolition activities because of contact or damage to an underground facility.
5. Section 556.105(5)(a) and (b), 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.
6. Section 556.109(2), relating to falsely notifying the system of an emergency situation or condition.
7. Section 556.114(1), (2), (3), and (4), relating to a failure to follow low-impact marking practices, as defined therein.
(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 pay a civil penalty for each infraction, which is $500 plus court costs. If a citation is issued by a state law enforcement officer, 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 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. Any person who fails to properly respond to a citation issued pursuant to paragraph (b) shall, in addition to the citation, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to the 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 must be provided at the time any citation is issued pursuant to paragraph (b).
(d) Any person cited for an infraction under paragraph (a) may post a bond, which shall be equal in amount to the applicable civil penalty plus court costs.
(e) A person charged with a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) may pay the civil penalty plus court costs, by mail or in person, within 30 days after the date of receiving the citation. If the person cited pays the civil penalty, 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 may elect to appear before the county court and if so electing is 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 court 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 a judge or 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 judge 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) REPORT OF INFRACTIONS.—By March 31 of each year, each clerk of court shall submit a report to Sunshine State One-Call of Florida, Inc., listing each violation notice written under paragraph (1)(a) which has been filed in that county during the preceding calendar year. The report must state the name and address of the member or excavator who committed each infraction and indicate whether or not the civil penalty for the infraction was paid.
(3) 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)(a) and (b) 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)(a).
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; s. 5, ch. 2010-100; s. 3, ch. 2017-102.