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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 379
FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
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F.S. 379.401
379.401 Penalties and violations; civil penalties for noncriminal infractions; criminal penalties; suspension and forfeiture of licenses and permits.
(1) LEVEL ONE VIOLATIONS.
(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 relating to the filing of reports or other documents required to be filed by persons who hold any recreational licenses and permits or any alligator licenses and permits issued by the commission.
2. Rules or orders of the commission relating to quota hunt permits, daily use permits, hunting zone assignments, camping, alcoholic beverages, vehicles, and check stations within wildlife management areas or other areas managed by the commission.
3. Rules or orders of the commission relating to daily use permits, alcoholic beverages, swimming, possession of firearms, operation of vehicles, and watercraft speed within fish management areas managed by the commission.
4. Rules or orders of the commission relating to vessel size or specifying motor restrictions on specified water bodies.
5. Rules or orders of the commission requiring the return of unused CITES tags issued under the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program or the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program.
6. Section 379.3003, prohibiting deer hunting unless required clothing is worn.
7. Section 379.354(1)-(15), providing for recreational licenses to hunt, fish, and trap.
8. Section 379.3581, providing hunter safety course requirements.
(b) A person who commits a Level One violation commits a noncriminal infraction and shall be cited to appear before the county court.
(c)1. The civil penalty for committing a Level One violation involving the license and permit requirements of s. 379.354 is $50 plus the cost of the license or permit, unless subparagraph 2. applies. Alternatively, except for a person who violates s. 379.354(6), (7), or (8)(f) or (h), a person who violates the license and permit requirements of s. 379.354 and is subject to the penalties of this subparagraph may purchase the license or permit, provide proof of such license or permit, and pay a civil penalty of $50.
2. The civil penalty for committing a Level One violation involving the license and permit requirements of s. 379.354 is $250 plus the cost of the license or permit if the person cited has previously committed the same Level One violation within the preceding 36 months. Alternatively, except for a person who violates s. 379.354(6), (7), or (8)(f) or (h), a person who violates the license and permit requirements of s. 379.354 and is subject to the penalties of this subparagraph may purchase the license or permit, provide proof of such license or permit, and pay a civil penalty of $250.
(d)1. The civil penalty for any other Level One violation is $50 unless subparagraph 2. applies.
2. The civil penalty for any other Level One violation is $250 if the person cited has previously committed the same Level One violation within the preceding 36 months.
(e) A person cited for a Level One violation shall sign and accept a citation to appear before the county court. The issuing officer may indicate on the citation the time and location of the scheduled hearing and shall indicate the applicable civil penalty.
(f) A person cited for a Level One violation may pay the civil penalty, and, if applicable, provide proof of the license or permit required under s. 379.354 by mail or in person within 30 days after receipt of the citation. If the civil penalty is paid, the person shall be deemed to have admitted committing the Level One violation and to have waived his or her right to a hearing before the county court. Such admission may not be used as evidence in any other proceedings except to determine the appropriate fine for any subsequent violations.
(g) A person who refuses to accept a citation, who fails to pay the civil penalty for a Level One violation, or who fails to appear before a county court as required commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(h) A person who elects to appear before the county court or who is required to appear before the county court shall be deemed to have waived the limitations on civil penalties provided under paragraphs (c) and (d). After a hearing, the county court shall determine if a Level One violation has been committed, and if so, may impose a civil penalty of not less than $50 for a first-time violation, and not more than $500 for subsequent violations. A person found guilty of committing a Level One violation may appeal that finding to the circuit court. The commission of a violation must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
(i) A person cited for violating the requirements of s. 379.354 relating to personal possession of a license or permit may not be convicted if, before or at the time of a county court hearing, the person produces the required license or permit for verification by the hearing officer or the court clerk. The license or permit must have been valid at the time the person was cited. The clerk or hearing officer may assess a $10 fee for costs under this paragraph.
(2) LEVEL TWO VIOLATIONS.
(a) A person commits a Level Two violation if he or she violates any of the following provisions:
1. Rules or orders of the commission relating to seasons or time periods for the taking of wildlife, freshwater fish, or saltwater fish.
2. Rules or orders of the commission establishing bag, possession, or size limits or restricting methods of taking wildlife, freshwater fish, or saltwater fish.
3. Rules or orders of the commission prohibiting access or otherwise relating to access to wildlife management areas or other areas managed by the commission.
4. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the feeding of saltwater fish.
5. Rules or orders of the commission relating to landing requirements for freshwater fish or saltwater fish.
6. Rules or orders of the commission relating to restricted hunting areas, critical wildlife areas, or bird sanctuaries.
7. Rules or orders of the commission relating to tagging requirements for wildlife and fur-bearing animals.
8. Rules or orders of the commission relating to the use of dogs for the taking of wildlife.
9. Rules or orders of the commission which are not otherwise classified.
10. Rules or orders of the commission prohibiting the unlawful use of traps, unless otherwise provided by law.
11. Rules or orders of the commission requiring the maintenance of records relating to alligators.
12. Rules or orders of the commission requiring the return of unused CITES tags issued under an alligator program other than the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program or the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program.
13. All requirements or prohibitions under this chapter which are not otherwise classified.
14. Section 379.105, prohibiting the intentional harassment of hunters, fishers, or trappers.
15. Section 379.2421, relating to fishers and equipment.
16. Section 379.2425, relating to spearfishing.
17. Section 379.29, prohibiting the contamination of fresh waters.
18. Section 379.295, prohibiting the use of explosives and other substances or force in fresh waters.
19. Section 379.3502, prohibiting the loan or transfer of a license or permit and the use of a borrowed or transferred license or permit.
20. Section 379.3503, prohibiting false statements in an application for a license or permit.
21. Section 379.3504, prohibiting entering false information on licenses or permits.
22. Section 379.3511, relating to the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and permits by subagents.
23. Section 379.357(3), prohibiting the taking, killing, or possession of tarpon without purchasing a tarpon tag.
24. Section 379.363, relating to freshwater fish dealer licenses.
25. Section 379.364, relating to fur and hide dealer licenses.
26. Section 379.365(2)(b), prohibiting the theft of stone crab trap contents or trap gear.
27. Section 379.366(4)(b), prohibiting the theft of blue crab trap contents or trap gear.
28. Section 379.3671(2)(c), except s. 379.3671(2)(c)5., prohibiting the theft of spiny lobster trap contents or trap gear.
29. Section 379.3751, relating to licenses for the taking and possession of alligators.
30. Section 379.3752, relating to tagging requirements for alligators and hides.
31. Section 379.413, prohibiting the unlawful taking of bonefish.
(b)1. A person who commits a Level Two violation but 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.
2. Unless the stricter penalties in subparagraph 3. or subparagraph 4. apply, a person who commits a Level Two violation within 3 years after a previous conviction for 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.
3. Unless the stricter penalties in subparagraph 4. apply, a person who commits a Level Two violation within 5 years after two previous convictions for 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 $500 and a suspension of any recreational license or permit issued under s. 379.354 for 1 year. Such suspension shall include the suspension of the privilege to obtain such license or permit and the suspension of the ability to exercise any privilege granted under any exemption in s. 379.353.
4. A person who commits a Level Two violation within 10 years after three previous convictions for 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 $750 and a suspension of any recreational license or permit issued under s. 379.354 for 3 years. Such suspension shall include the suspension of the privilege to obtain such license or permit and the suspension of the ability to exercise any privilege granted under s. 379.353. If the recreational license or permit being suspended was an annual license or permit, any privileges under ss. 379.353 and 379.354 may not be acquired for a 3-year period following the date of the violation.
(3) LEVEL THREE VIOLATIONS.
(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 prohibiting the sale of saltwater fish.
2. Rules or orders of the commission prohibiting the illegal importation or possession of exotic marine plants or animals.
3. Section 379.28, prohibiting the importation of freshwater fish.
4. Section 379.3014, prohibiting the illegal sale or possession of alligators.
5. Section 379.354(17), prohibiting the taking of game, freshwater fish, or saltwater fish while a required license is suspended or revoked.
6. Section 379.357(4), prohibiting the sale, transfer, or purchase of tarpon.
7. Section 379.404(1), (3), and (6), prohibiting the illegal taking and possession of deer and wild turkey.
8. Section 379.406, prohibiting the possession and transportation of commercial quantities of freshwater game fish.
9. Section 379.407(2), establishing major violations.
10. Section 379.407(4), prohibiting the possession of certain finfish in excess of recreational daily bag limits.
(b)1. A person who commits a Level Three violation but 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 a Level Three violation within 10 years after a previous conviction for 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 a suspension of any recreational license or permit issued under s. 379.354 for the remainder of the period for which the license or permit was issued up to 3 years. Such suspension shall include the suspension of the privilege to obtain such license or permit and the ability to exercise any privilege granted under s. 379.353. If the recreational license or permit being suspended was an annual license or permit, any privileges under ss. 379.353 and 379.354 may not be acquired for a 3-year period following the date of the violation.
3. A person who commits a violation of s. 379.354(17) shall receive a mandatory fine of $1,000. Any privileges under ss. 379.353 and 379.354 may not be acquired for a 5-year period following the date of the violation.
(4) LEVEL FOUR VIOLATIONS.
(a) A person commits a Level Four violation if he or she violates any of the following provisions:
1. Section 379.354(16), prohibiting the making, forging, counterfeiting, or reproduction of a recreational license or the possession of same without authorization from the commission.
2. Section 379.365(2)(c), prohibiting criminal activities relating to the taking of stone crabs.
3. Section 379.366(4)(c), prohibiting criminal activities relating to the taking and harvesting of blue crabs.
4. Section 379.367(4), prohibiting the willful molestation of spiny lobster gear.
5. Section 379.3671(2)(c)5., prohibiting the unlawful reproduction, possession, sale, trade, or barter of spiny lobster trap tags or certificates.
6. Section 379.404(5), prohibiting the sale of illegally-taken deer or wild turkey.
7. Section 379.405, prohibiting the molestation or theft of freshwater fishing gear.
8. Section 379.409, prohibiting the unlawful killing, injuring, possessing, or capturing of alligators or other crocodilia or their eggs.
9. Section 379.411, prohibiting the intentional killing or wounding of any species designated as endangered, threatened, or of special concern.
10. Section 379.4115, prohibiting the killing of any Florida or wild panther.
(b) A person who commits a Level Four violation commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(5) ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES WHILE COMMITTING TRESPASS.In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person who violates the criminal provisions of this chapter or rules or orders of the commission by illegally killing, taking, possessing, or selling fish and wildlife in or out of season while violating chapter 810 shall pay a fine of $500 for each such violation, plus court costs and any restitution ordered by the court. All fines collected under this subsection shall be remitted by the clerk of the court to the Department of Revenue to be deposited into the State Game Trust Fund.
(6) SUSPENSION OR FORFEITURE OF LICENSE.The court may order the suspension or forfeiture of any license or permit issued under this chapter to a person who is found guilty of committing a violation of this chapter.
(7) CONVICTION DEFINED.As used in this section, the term “conviction” means any judicial disposition other than acquittal or dismissal.
History.s. 6, ch. 21945, 1943; s. 1, ch. 23750, 1947; s. 11, ch. 25035, 1949; s. 9, ch. 26766, 1951; s. 7, ch. 69-216; s. 316, ch. 71-136; s. 3, ch. 91-134; s. 586, ch. 95-148; s. 40, ch. 2000-362; s. 32, ch. 2002-46; s. 20, ch. 2006-304; s. 22, ch. 2007-223; s. 37, ch. 2008-111; s. 168, ch. 2008-247; s. 41, ch. 2009-86; s. 5, ch. 2010-185; s. 2, ch. 2014-107; s. 14, ch. 2014-136; s. 11, ch. 2015-161; s. 20, ch. 2016-107.
Note.Former s. 372.83.