IN THE CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PASCO AND PINELLAS COUNTIES, FLORIDA

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2007-024 PI-CTY

 

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RE:     LOCAL ORDINANCE VIOLATIONS                                        

FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION VIOLATIONS

UNIFORM FINE SCHEDULE

 

            In order to provide for the orderly and uniform prosecution of county and municipal ordinance violations in Pinellas County, Florida; to consolidate various administrative orders regarding ordinance violations; and in accordance with the provisions of sections 34.01, 125.69, 370.021, and 372.07, Florida Statutes, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.125(j), and Florida Rules of Judicial Administration 2.215 and 2.265; it is

 

ORDERED:

 

            1.         Pinellas County and municipalities located within Pinellas County shall utilize the Pinellas County Ordinance Citation/Notice to Appear form that has been approved by the Pinellas Administrative Judge or his or her designee.  The approved Citation/Notice to Appear shall be the official complaint instrument for prosecution of all county and municipal ordinance violations within the jurisdiction of Pinellas County, except for

 

                        a.         An Indictment or Information

                                                                       

                        b.         Parking Tickets

 

            2.         The Citation/Notice to Appear shall be printed on NCR paper, which shall be coded and distributed to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, State Attorney, the issuing Agency, the County or Municipal Attorney and Defendant.

 

            3.         The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall issue citations on the required state forms issued to the agency.

 

            4.         With the exception of legislatively dictated fine amounts set by the legislative body of a municipality, the County, or the State, the Pinellas County Court Uniform Fine Schedule, including court costs, in Attachment A shall be the sole and exclusive schedule of penalties, including penalties for the uncontested disposition of local ordinance violations, and violations cited by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission without the necessity of court appearance.  The Court may authorize a greater or lesser penalty in any individual case.

 

            5.         Any person or entity cited for violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may:

 

a.         Elect not to contest the citation.  The defendant who elects not to contest the citation may pay the civil penalty, either by mail or in person at the Clerk within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of receiving the citation; or if he or she has posted a bond, forfeit bond by not appearing at the designated time or location.

 

b.         Elect to contest the citation.  The defendant electing to contest the citation shall either (1) enter a written plea of not guilty in writing in person or by mail; or (2) appear in Court for the purpose of entering a plea of not guilty and scheduling a trial on the merits of the alleged violation.

 

6.                  Any person or entity cited for violation of a local code or ordinance may:

 

a.                   Elect not to contest the citation.  The defendant who elects not to contest the citation may plead guilty or no contest by signing the plea waiver form on the citation, and paying the applicable fine in full to the Clerk of Court by mail or in person within thirty (30) calendar days after issuance of the citation, unless the violation requires a mandatory court appearance; or

 

b.                  Elect to contest the citation.  The defendant electing to contest the citation shall either (1) enter a written plea of not guilty in person or by mail; or (2) appear in Court for the purpose of entering a plea of not guilty and scheduling a trial on the merits of the alleged violation.

                       

            7.         If the defendant electing to contest the citation fails to enter a written plea of not guilty or fails to appear for the court appearance date, the presiding judge shall at that time issue a capias for the arrest of the defendant for noncompliance with instructions on the citation, dismiss the case, or take any other action that the court deems appropriate.  A capias will not be issued in those cases where the defendant has refused to sign the Notice to Appear acknowledging the receipt of a copy or when the Notice to Appear has been posted at the property of the defendant.  In such cases, if the defendant does not appear the Court will direct the Clerk to issue a Summons for a subsequent date and the Clerk shall arrange for service of the Summons on the defendant in accordance with law.  The Clerk may assess a fee for the issuance of the summons in accordance with section 28.24, Florida Statutes.  The fee for issuance by the Clerk and the cost of service assessed by the Sheriff shall be added to the costs assessed to the defendant.

 

            8.         Consistent with applicable state statutes and rules, which shall prevail in the event of a conflict, the attached Instructions for Prosecuting Local Ordinance Violations and Flow Chart (Attachment B) shall govern the issuance and prosecution of local ordinance violations in the Pinellas County Court.  In addition, Pinellas County and each municipality therein:

 

a.                   May elect to establish by appropriate ordinance, resolution or rule its own internal policies and procedures governing the issuance and processing of violation citations insofar as the same do not conflict with the provisions of this order; and

 

b.                  Shall authorize and designate an official prosecutor who shall be a member of The Florida Bar in good standing and file the name and signature of such person or persons with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Pinellas County who shall maintain a register for such purpose.  The right to prosecute ordinance violations on behalf of Pinellas County or such various municipalities shall be limited to such official designated and registered prosecutor when the same is required.  When the State Attorney’s Office has contracted to provide prosecutorial services, any Assistant State Attorney designated by that office may prosecute local ordinance violations.

 

c.                   Pursuant to the provisions of Article V, sections 17 and 20 of the Florida Constitution and section 34.13, Florida Statutes, the registered prosecutor shall be responsible for the prosecution of local ordinance violations of the governmental entity that he or she represents from on and after the date upon which he or she has been notified that the case has been placed on the Court’s calendar for disposition.  The prosecutor shall respond to requests for discovery, summon necessary witnesses for trial, present the case before the Court and perform any other duties necessary for prosecution of the case. 

 

            9.         The Clerk shall be responsible for calendaring all local ordinance violations.  The Clerk shall:

 

a.                   Cause municipal ordinance violations to be placed on the Court’s calendar for arraignment and trial, and effective May 3, 2007, calendar such matters on Thursdays.

 

b.                  Cause county ordinance violations to be placed on the Court’s calendar for arraignment and trial on Fridays. 

 

 

c.                   Provide notification of the trial date to the designated prosecutor.

 

If circumstances require it, the Clerk may set an individual county ordinance case on Thursday or an individual municipal ordinance case on Friday.

 

            10.       All summons and notices of trial shall be issued not less than twenty-one (21) days prior to such trial date.

 

            11.       Pinellas County and the participating municipalities shall:

 

a.                   Reproduce and distribute in booklet form the Instructions for prosecuting Local Ordinance Violations and Uniform Fine Schedule for Pinellas County; and

 

b.         Print the Citation. 

 

The court costs and fines schedule in this Administrative Order are effective as of the date this Administrative Order.  The provision in the “Instructions for Prosecuting Local Ordinance Violations in Pinellas County” requiring court dates for municipal ordinance violations to be set on the calendar five Thursdays in the future, shall take effect March 29, 2007.  The provision in the Instructions requiring county ordinance violations to be set on the calendar five Fridays in the future shall take effect as soon as possible, but in no event not more than 30 days after the date of this order.

 

Administrative Orders 2005-022 PI-CTY and 2005-056 PI-CTY are hereby rescinded.

 

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this _____ day of March 2007.

 

 

                                                                        ORIGINAL SIGNED March 27, 2007

                                                                        BY DAVID A. DEMERS, CHIEF JUDGE

                                                                                                                       

 

 

 

cc:        All Pinellas Judges

            The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney

            The Honorable Bob Dillinger, Public Defender

            The Honorable Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Pinellas County

            Carol Heath, Executive Director, Pinellas County Clerk’s Office

            Susan Churuti, Pinellas County Attorney

            James V. Antista, General Counsel, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Pinellas County Municipalities

            Gay Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator

            Tim Burns, Justice and Consumer Services, Pinellas County

            Bar Associations, Pinellas County

            Law Library, Pinellas County            


 

ATTACHMENT B

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROSECUTING LOCAL ORDINANCE

VIOLATIONS IN PINELLAS COUNTY

 

CITATION/NOTICE TO APPEAR                                

 

Although the Citation/Notice to Appear serves many purposes, these instructions address only the usage of the form for non-criminal violations.  These include ordinance violations and misdemeanors where there is no arrest and the Notice to Appear section is used to cite the civil penalty owed or notify the alleged offender of a required court date and time.   

 

n  BEFORE BEGINNING PROSECUTION:

            Once a Citation/Notice to Appear is issued, it may not be dismissed simply because the cited party complies with the applicable ordinance or corrects a violation.  Therefore, if you would be satisfied with compliance or correction, use all proper means short of issuance of a Citation/Notice to Appear to accomplish your purpose.

n  COMPLETING THE CITATION/NOTICE TO APPEAR:

            The Citation/Notice to Appear is on NCR paper.  However, in filling in the blanks you must type or print firmly enough to show on all copies.

            Fill in every blank on the form.  If it is not applicable to the particular charge, write “N/A” in the blank.

            An officer issuing a Citation/Notice to Appear shall inform the defendant that he or she may plead guilty or no contest by signing the plea and waiver on the back of his or her copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear and forwarding it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court at the address indicated, with a check or money order in the amount of the fine.  Otherwise, he or she must either file a written plea of not guilty in person or by mail or appear in court on the day and time specified.   If a defendant is charged with a violation that requires a mandatory court appearance, the officer shall explain that the defendant must appear in court on the day and time specified.

In the event the defendant refuses to accept a copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear or to acknowledge it by signing where defendant's signature is specified, the issuing officer shall note such occurrence on the face of the Citation/Notice to Appear and leave the defendant's copy in his/her presence or post it in a conspicuous location on the premises.  The issuing officer shall also note on the face that a copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear was left with the defendant.

When the issuing officer returns an unsigned Citation/Notice to Appear to the appropriate agency, the officer shall sign a certification that he or she left a copy with the defendant or conspicuously posted it. The leaving/posting of the Citation/Notice to Appear constitutes sufficient notice to a defendant and the defendant is required to comply.  However, failure to comply will result in the issuance of a summons rather than a capias.

 

n  FILING THE CITATION/NOTICE TO APPEAR (PLEASE REFER TO FLOW CHART):

Within 48 hours after a copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear is given to the defendant, copies of the Notice to Appear for the Clerk and the State Attorney must be sent to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Criminal Court Records, 14250 49th St. N., Clearwater, FL 33762, or placed in your agency’s pick-up location for the Clerk’s courier.

If the citation has not been issued by a police officer, the County or Municipal Prosecutor may decline to endorse it.  In such a situation, he or she must write “void” across the original Citation/Notice to Appear; and if a copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear has been provided to the defendant, the Clerk of the Circuit Court must be advised that the charge has been voided.  This can be accomplished by forwarding a copy of the voided Citation/Notice to Appear to the Clerk. 

Note, however, that if the citation has been issued by a police officer, then it may not be voided by the County or Municipal Prosecutor but is instead forwarded to the State Attorney for prosecution.

The additional copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear may be retained by the agency.  It is recommended that the issuing officer’s department and the authorized prosecutor keep a copy of the Citation/Notice to Appear.

n  PROSECUTING WHERE CITATION/NOTICE TO APPEAR HAS NOT BEEN ISSUED BY A POLICE OFFICER (PLEASE REFER TO FLOW CHART):

            When the Citation/Notice to Appear is received in the Clerk's office, it is entered in the computer and assigned a case number.  If it is not voided by the County or Municipal Prosecutor, the Clerk then calendars the case for appearance on the date you have listed on the Notice.  If the defendant has not paid the fine prior to the hearing date and does not appear in Court or enter a written plea of not guilty, a capias may be issued for the arrest of the defendant.  However, a capias will not be issued in those cases where the defendant has refused to sign the Notice to Appear acknowledging the receipt of a copy or when the Notice to Appear has been posted at the property of the defendant.  In such cases, if the defendant does not appear the Court will direct the Clerk to issue a Summons for a subsequent date and the Clerk shall arrange for service of the Summons on the defendant in accordance with law.  The Clerk may assess a fee for the issuance of the summons in accordance with section 28.24, Florida Statutes.  The fee for issuance by the Clerk and the cost of service assessed by the Sheriff shall be added to the costs assessed to the defendant.

The County or Municipal Prosecutor is responsible for adequately preparing any case that is set for trial, including issuing witness subpoenas and responding to all demands for discovery.

All pre-trial motions shall be heard on the day of trial unless the defendant and the Prosecutor stipulate to the contrary.

 

The original court files will be kept in the Clerk's office in the County Criminal Court Records at the Criminal Justice Center, 2nd floor.

Pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.111, this Administrative Order shall serve as a written order of no incarceration for all cases governed by it.  However, if the Prosecutor requests incarceration as a possible penalty and the court grants this request, such grant must be stated in the record and the court must appoint counsel for the defendant.

Each city or other governmental unit must advise the Clerk’s office in County Criminal Court Records of the name of its current authorized prosecutor or prosecutors.

FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION CASES:

All minor violations Class (V) 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will issue citations on the required state form issued to the agency. Upon issuance, the form must be completed and defendant's signature must be obtained. In addition, the Instructions to Violator Form (sample below) must be completed and a copy attached to the citation given to the defendant if the information is not available on the reverse side of the defendant's copy. The original is to be forwarded to the Clerk of Court, County Criminal Court Records. Insert amount of fine (See approved Uniform Fine Schedule) on the Instructions to Violator Form and on upper right corner of Court copy of citation.

 

Any person cited for a violation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may elect to enter a written plea of guilty or no contest and pay a civil penalty, to satisfy a Class V offense without the necessity of a court appearance.

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SAMPLE INSTRUCTIONS TO VIOLATOR FORM—FISH AND WILDLIFE

___________________________________         ____________________
 VIOLATOR’S NAME                                              DATE

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO VIOLATOR
YOU MUST, WITHIN THIRTY (30) CALENDAR DAYS OF TODAY'S DATE, DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

 

1.     If you desire to plead guilty or no contest and not appear in Court, you must pay a fine of $_______ including court costs, either in person or by mail at the address listed below. If you pay the fine you will be deemed to have admitted the civil infraction and you will be adjudicated guilty of the violation. If you desire to pay the fine by mail, you must sign the Plea & Waiver below and enclose it with your citation and payment.  Checks or money orders are to be made payable to Clerk of Circuit Court.

 

Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center

County Criminal Court Records

14250 49th St. N.

Clearwater, FL  33762

 

 

2.     If you wish to plead not guilty and appear in court, you must enter a written plea of not guilty either in person or by mail at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, County Criminal Court Records, 2nd floor, 14250 49th St. N., Clearwater, FL 33762.  Forms for Not Guilty Pleas may be obtained there. FAILURE TO PAY THE FINE IN THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE WITHIN THIRTY (30) CALENDAR DAYS OR FAILURE TO APPEAR FOR COURT MAY RESULT IN A WARRANT BEING ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST. ADDITIONAL COSTS MAY ALSO BE ASSESSED.

 

3.     Violations of law under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may be considered misdemeanors.  All convictions will be on record.

 

I HEREBY CERTIFY that I received a copy of these instructions on the above listed date.

 

                                                                                   

VIOLATOR/DEFENDANT’S SIGNATURE

 

 

PLEA & WAIVER

I understand the nature of the charge against me; I understand I am waiving my rights to be represented by an attorney, to request a continuance of my hearing and my right to a trial before a judge or a jury.

I plead                 ______ Guilty                       ______ No Contest

Defendant______________________________________________________________

Date                                                                                                                                    

Address                                                                                                                               

 

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***MOST IMPORTANT--DATE FOR COURT APPEARANCE***

At the time a municipal ordinance Citation/Notice to Appear is written, count five Thursdays forward, and in accordance with the calendar, set the court appearance date for Thursday returnable to the 3rd floor, Courtroom 15, of the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, 14250 49th St., Clearwater, Florida.

At the time a county ordinance Citation/Notice to Appear is written, count five Fridays forward, and in accordance with the calendar, set the court appearance date for Friday returnable to the 3rd  floor, Courtroom 15, of the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center, 14250 49th St., Clearwater, Florida.

All Thursdays are available for municipal ordinance violations and all Fridays are available for county ordinance violations unless advised to the contrary or the Thursday or Friday coincides with a court holiday.

 

Ordinance Violations