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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 556
UNDERGROUND FACILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION AND SAFETY
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F.S. 556.107
556.107 Violations.
(1) NONCRIMINAL INFRACTIONS.
(a)1. Violations of the following provisions are noncriminal infractions:
a. Section 556.105(1), relating to providing required information.
b. Section 556.105(5)(c), relating to excavation practices in tolerance zones.
c. Section 556.105(6), relating to the avoidance of excavation.
d. 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.
e. Section 556.105(12), relating to the need to cease excavation or demolition activities because of contact or damage to an underground facility.
f. 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.
g. Section 556.109(2), relating to falsely notifying the system of an emergency situation or condition.
h. Section 556.114(1), (2), (3), and (4), relating to a failure to follow low-impact marking practices, as defined therein.
2. Violations of the following provisions involving an underground facility transporting hazardous materials that are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States Department of Transportation are noncriminal infractions, subject to enhanced civil penalties under paragraph (c):
a. Section 556.105(1), relating to providing required information.
b. Section 556.105(5)(c), relating to excavation practices in tolerance zones.
c. Section 556.105(6), relating to the avoidance of certain excavation.
d. Section 556.105(11), relating to the need to stop excavation or demolition because certain marks are removed, no longer visible, or inadequately documented.
e. Section 556.105(12), relating to the need to cease excavation or demolition activities because of contact or damage to an underground facility.
(b) Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) may be issued a citation by the State Fire Marshal or his or her agents as provided in ss. 633.114 and 633.116; the fire chief of the special district, municipality, or county; or 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)1. Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under subparagraph (a)1. may be required to pay a civil penalty of $500 plus court costs for each infraction. If a citation is issued, 80 percent of the civil penalty collected by the clerk of the court must be distributed to the governmental entity whose employee issued the citation and 20 percent of the penalty must be retained by the clerk, in addition to any court costs.
2. Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under subparagraph (a)2. may be required to pay an enhanced civil penalty of $2,500 plus court costs for each infraction. If a citation is issued, 80 percent of the civil penalty collected by the clerk of the court must be distributed to the governmental entity whose employee issued the citation and 20 percent must be retained by the clerk in addition to any court costs.
3. Any person who willfully fails to properly respond to a citation issued under 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 a citation is issued under paragraph (b).
(d) Any person cited for an infraction under paragraph (a) or s. 556.116(2)(c) may post a bond, which must be equal in amount to the applicable civil penalty plus any additional court costs.
(e) A person charged with a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (a) or s. 556.116(2)(c) may pay the applicable civil penalty plus the additional 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 have a hearing on the commission of the infraction before the county court. A person who elects to have a hearing waives the limitations on the civil penalties 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 penalty not to exceed the applicable civil penalty plus court costs for each infraction. 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 the court finds that a person committed an infraction, the person may appeal that finding or the amount of the civil penalties imposed 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 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 the State Fire Marshal and Sunshine State One-Call of Florida, Inc., listing each citation issued for a violation under paragraph (1)(a) and s. 556.116(2)(c) 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, the enforcement authority, the specific statutory infraction, and the type of underground facility related to the infraction and must indicate whether or not the civil penalty for the infraction was paid.
(3) MISDEMEANORS.
(a) 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).
(b) Any person who knowingly and willfully removes or damages a permanent marker placed to identify the approximate location of an underground facility commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
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; s. 3, ch. 2020-137.