Once a complaint is received alleging a violation a case is opened and assigned and under Chapter 162 of the Florida Statutes states that an officer must have reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a civil infraction in violation of a code of ordinance, and that reasonable cause must be due to the officer’s personal investigation. The officer assigned to the case must, through his or her own personal investigation, first verify that a violation exists at the property.
~ If the officer is unable to verify a violation exists, the case is closed as unfounded.
After verifying that a violation does exist, the officer must make the determination as to how best to bring the property into compliance with the Ordinance.
~ Keep in mind the City’s desire to obtain voluntary compliance via education if at all possible. Each violation must be looked at on a case by case basis to determine which avenue would be the best to gain voluntary compliance in the least amount of time.
Since voluntary compliance is not always possible, each case must be worked with the understanding that it may end up in court before a County Judge or in front of the City’s Special Magistrate.
If after notifying the person in charge of the property that there is a violation on the property, how to correct the violation and is given a reasonable amount of time to make the corrections, and the property is still in violation the officer has a number of options to bring about compliance several actions can be taken by the officer: these actions can be a parking ticket, citation (goes to county court), notice of hearing (goes before special magistrate) and or an abatement (city hires contractor to clean the property, cut the grass or tow a vehicle).
- Special Magistrate:
- Special Magistrate is a quasi-judicial body whose creation is enabled by Chapter 162, Florida Statutes, which was enacted into law by the Florida Legislature in 1980.
- The Special Magistrate hears the facts and determines under the law whether or not the alleged violator committed the alleged violation.
- The City of Deltona Special Magistrate is an attorney under contract with the City and is authorized to impose administrative fines and other noncriminal penalties to provide an equitable, expeditious, effective and inexpensive method of enforcing any codes and ordinances in force within the city. The maximum fine the Special Magistrate can apply is $250.00 per day and $500.00 per day for a repeat violation.
- A repeat violation is the same violator, the same violation. Not necessarily the same address.
- Officers are authorized to issue citations under Chapter 162, Florida Statutes.
- A judge in county civil court hears the facts and determines under the law whether or not the alleged violator committed the alleged violation.
- A violation of a code of ordinance is a civil infraction with a maximum civil penalty not to exceed $500.00
- Abatements are authorized under Chapter 38 of City Ordinance.
- Normally used for vacant properties and undeveloped lots with nuisance weeds, accumulation of waste, yard trash, rubble, and debris.
- Officer provides property owner notice and allows time to clean property. If the owner does not correct the violation the city contracts a contractor to abate/clean nuisance property.