HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY ORDINANCE NO. 17-34 TRESSPASS TOWING, IMMOBILIZATION AND RATES

ORDINANCE NO. 17- 34 Tresspass Towing, Immobilization and Rates Ordinance

AN ORDINANCE CREATING HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY CODE OF ORDINANCES AND LAWS CHAPTER 50, ARTICLE VII; PROVIDING FOR THE REGULATION OF TRESPASS TOWING AND IMMOBILIZATION SERVICES AND ESTABLISHMENT OF RATES; PROVIDING A TITLE; PROVIDING A PURPOSE; PROVIDING FOR DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR EXEMPTIONS; PROVIDING FOR THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE AGENCY UNDER THIS ORDINANCE; PROVIDING FOR THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT UNDER THIS ORDINANCE; PROVIDING FOR CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS; PROVIDING FOR VEHICLE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS; PROVIDING FOR PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS; REQUIRING COMPLIANCE WITH FLORIDA LAW FOR TRESPESS TOWING; PROVIDING FOR PREREQUISITES TO AND REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASS TOWING FROM OR IMMOBILIZATION OF VEHICLES OR VESSELS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY; PROVIDING FOR ADDITIONAL PREREQUISITES TO AND REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASS TOWS FROM OR IMMOBILIZATIONS OF VEHICLES WHICH TAKE PLACE AT ESTABLISHMENTS LICENSED TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES FOR CONSUMPTION; PROVIDING FOR NOTIFICATION AND SIGN REQUIREMENTS -FOR TRESPASS TOWS OR IMMOBILIZATION OF VEHICLES LOCATED ON REAL PROPERTY; PROVIDING FOR CERTIFICATE, PERMIT AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE RENEW AL REQUIREMENTS; PROVIDING FOR ADDITIONAL CERTIFICATE, PERMIT AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE RELATED REQUIREMENTS; PROVIDING FOR RA TES; PROVIDING GROUNDS FOR DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATES AND PERMITS; PROVIDING GROUNDS FOR DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSES; PROVIDING FOR DUE PROCESS IN THE EVENT OF DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATES, PERMITS AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSES; PROVIDING FOR PROHIBITED CONDUCT; PROVIDING FOR THE FILING OF COMPLAINTS; PROVIDING FOR ENFORCEMENT AND PENAL TIES FOR VIOLATIONS; PROVIDING FOR APPOINTMENT OF HEARING OFFICERS; PROVIDING FOR HEARINGS; PROVIDING FOR APPEALS; PROVIDING FOR SERVICE OF NOTICE; PROVIDING FOR OTHER RIGHTS AND REMEDIES;PROVIDING FOR APPLICABILITY; PROVIDING FOR ALLOCATION OF FEES; PROVIDING FOR REPEAL OF ORDINANCES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT OF LAWS; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THEHILLSBOROUGH COUNTY CODE; PROVIDING FOR FILING OF ORDINANCE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

WHEREAS, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners recognizes that towing and immobilization of motor vehicles is undertaken at all hours of the day and night and can leave motorists and their passengers stranded and vulnerable;

WHEREAS, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners also recognizes that towing and immobilization services frequently are provided without the prior consent of the vehicle owner, or under exigent circumstances that prevent negotiation of the charges, terms, and conditions for the towing or immobilization service, often resulting in disagreements and complaints between vehicle owners and towing and immobilization companies, encouraging the unilateral imposition of exorbitant rates for towing, immobilization and storage of vehicles, and other serious abuses and unfair business practices;

WHEREAS, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners recognizes that the need of private property owners for relief from unauthorized parking must be balanced with the need to provide appropriate protection to consumers;

WHEREAS, Chapter 125, Florida Statutes, authorizes the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to provide for the citizens of said County, standards which ensure their health, safety and welfare;

WHEREAS, Section 125.0103(c), Florida Statutes, requires that counties establish maximum fees which may be charged on the towing of vehicles from or immobilization of vehicles on private property, removal and storage of wrecked or disabled vehicles from an accident scene or for the removal and storage of vehicles, in the event the owner or operator is incapacitated, unavailable, leaves the procurement of the wrecker service to the law enforcement officer at the scene, or otherwise does not consent to the removal of the vehicle;

WHEREAS, Section 715.07(2)(a)(9)(b), Florida Statutes, has expressly recognized the power of counties to enact additional regulations including those relating to the rates which may be charged for towing of vehicles from private property; and

WHEREAS, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners had previously adopted Ordinance No. 00-2, as amended by Ordinance No. 07-15, to provide for maximum rates which may be charged for non-consensual towing and prohibit property owners or lessees of property licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises from causing vehicles parked on the property to be towed from 9:00 p.m. until noon, unless the property owner has signed an order authorizing such removal;

WHEREAS, Chapter 2001-299, Laws of Florida, as amended, created the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission ("PTC") and expressly authorize it to regulate the operation of wreckers, contracted for use by, through, or for any unit of local, county or state government or any person regularly engaged in towing or storing vehicles in Hillsborough County pursuant to Section 715.07, Florida Statutes, and which has been recently been repealed; and

WHEREAS, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners finds that establishing a uniform set of regulations for business entities and other persons who engage in or intend to engage in the practice of recovering, towing, immobilizing, removing or storing vehicles and/or vessels in relation to trespass tows from private property, to include qualifications of towing and/or immobilization services and the manner in which towing and immobilization services are rendered in relation to trespass tows, and establishing maximum rates that may be charged for both non-consensual and trespass tows, are in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of Hillsborough County residents and its visitors.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA:

There is hereby created Chapter 50, Article VII of the Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws, which shall be included as follows:

SECTION 1.     TITLE.

This Ordinance shall be known and may be cited as the "Trespass Towing, Immobilization and Rates Ordinance."

SECTION 2.     PURPOSE.

The purpose and intent of this Ordinance is to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Hillsborough County through the regulation of trespass towing and immobilization services and establishment of maximum rates that can be charged for non-consensual and trespass tows.

SECTION 3.     DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this Ordinance, the following terms shall have the meanings given to them below. No attempt is made to define any words which are used in accordance with their established dictionary meaning, except when necessary to avoid misunderstanding. When not consistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular number, words in the singular number include words in the plural number, and the use of any gender shall be applicable to all genders. The words "shall", "will" and "must" are mandatory and the word "may" is permissive.

(A) AGENT - shall mean the person legally authorized to be in control of a vehicle or vessel or to act on behalf of a registered owner or lessee, including the registered owner or lessee, contract lessee, operator, lienholder or person authorized by any of the foregoing to act on behalf of the same. An agent may only be established by an original writing notarized by a notary public or other person empowered by law to administer oaths.

(B) AGENCY -shall mean the Hillsborough County Tax Collector or any successive agency or department designated by the Board of County Commissioners to administer the application processes required by this Ordinance.

(C) BOCC -shall mean the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

(D) CERTIFICATE - shall mean the written authority granted by the Agency under
this Ordinance, to an applicant, to operate a towing and/or immobilization business in Hillsborough County.

(E) CERTIFICATE HOLDER - shall mean the person issued a certificate by the Agency to operate a towing and/or immobilization service in Hillsborough County.

(F) CITATION - shall mean a written notice issued to a person by an investigator indicating that the investigator has reasonable cause to believe that the person has committed a civil infraction in violation of this Ordinance.

(G) COMPLAINANT shall mean any person who witnesses or who is subjected to conduct that is an alleged violation of this Ordinance and who files a written complaint with the Department stating the information required by Section 21 of this Ordinance.

(H) COUNTY -shall mean Hillsborough County, Florida.

(I) COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE-shall mean the Office of the County Attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida.

(J) DAYS -shall mean calendar day(s).

(K) DEPARTMENT - shall mean the Department designated by the County Administrator to enforce the mandates of this Ordinance.

(L) DRIVER-shall mean a person who drives or operates a tow truck in Hillsborough County.

(M) HEARING OFFICER shall mean the person or persons appointed pursuant to Resolution to fulfill the duties of Hearing Officer under this Ordinance.

(N) HEARING PROCEDURES - shall mean the procedures adopted by the County Administrator governing noticing, scheduling and conducting hearings before a Hearing Officer regarding denials of applications for and suspensions and revocations of certificates, permits and public vehicle driver's licenses under this Ordinance.

(0) IMMOBILIZATION, IMMOBILIZE, or IMMOBILIZING - shall mean the act of placing, on a parked vehicle, any device that prohibits the vehicle's usual manner of movement. It is commonly referred to as "boot" or "booting."

(P) IMMOBILIZATION SERVICE- shall mean any person, company, corporation or other entity, whether certificated or not, who engages in or operates a business that engages in, in whole or in part, the immobilization or booting of vehicles for compensation, but does not include immobilization or booting at the direction of a governmental entity.

(Q) INVESTIGATOR - shall mean the person performing services m an official capacity for the Department whose duty it is to enforce this Ordinance.

(R) NON-CONSENSUAL TOWING- shall mean the removal and storage of wrecked or disabled vehicles from an accident scene or the removal and storage of vehicles in the event the owner or operator is incapacitated, unavailable, leaves the procurement of towing service to the law enforcement officer at the scene, or the removal or storage is done upon the instruction from any law enforcement agency, or otherwise does not consent to removal of the vehicle, excepting, however, all incidents of "trespass towing" defined herein.

(S) ORDINANCE - shall mean this Trespass Towing, Immobilization and Rates Ordinance, as such may be amended.

(T) OPERATE OR OPERATING - shall mean causing a vehicle to function on the roads, streets, or highways of Hillsborough County.

(U) PERMIT - shall mean the written authority granted by the Agency authorizing a particular motor vehicle to operate as a tow truck in Hillsborough County.

(V) PERSON OR PERSONS - shall mean any individual, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, corporation, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other legal entity or business unit and every officer, agent or employee thereof.

(W) PROPERTY OWNER - shall mean any person who exercises dominion and control over real property, including a legal title holder; lessee; resident manager; or a property manager or agent with legal authority to bind the owner.

(X) PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE - shall mean the written authority granted by the Agency which authorizes a person to drive or operate a tow truck in Hillsborough County.

(Y) RATES - shall mean the maximum available compensation which may be charged for the provision for towing or immobilization services.

(Z) REASONABLE CAUSE - shall mean, if given the same set of facts or actions, a reasonable person would conclude that a violation of this Ordinance has occurred.

(AA) RESPONDENT - shall mean any person the Department reasonably believes upon investigation to have violated this Ordinance.

(BB) STORAGE SITE - shall mean any site to which vehicles or vessels towed from Hillsborough County are towed or stored.

(CC) TOW - shall mean hauling, carrying, pulling along, or otherwise transporting or removing a vehicle or vessel by means of another vehicle.

(DD) TOWING SERVICE(S) - shall mean any person, company, corporation or other entity, whether certificated or not, who engages in or operates a business that engages in, in whole or in part, the towing or removal of vehicles or vessels for compensation, unless otherwise specified herein.

(EE) TOW TRUCK - shall mean any vehicle used to tow, haul, or carry a vehicle or vessel upon any street or highway in Hillsborough County.

(FF)TRESPASS TOW shall mean towing or removing a vehicle or vessel from private property without the consent of the vehicle's or vessel's owner or agent, excepting, however, all incidents of "nonconsensual towing" as defined herein.

(GG) VEHICLE - shall mean any motor driven device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway or other place.

(HH) VESSEL - is synonymous with boat referenced in Section l(b), A11. VII of the State Constitution and includes every description of watercraft, barge, and airboat used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, other than a seaplane or a "documented vessel" as defined in Section 327.02, Florida Statutes, as may be amended.

SECTION 4.     EXEMPTIONS.

(A) This Ordinance shall not apply to the towing or immobilization of a vehicle or vessel which occurs:

(1) With the consent of the vehicle's or vessel's owner or operator;
(2) If the vehicle or vessel is a law enforcement, firefighting, rescue squad, ambulance or other emergency vehicle which is marked as such; or
(3) At property owned by a governmental entity.

(B) This Ordinance shall not apply to any vessel located in Hillsborough County's or the City of Tampa's navigable waters.


(C) With the exception of Section 16 as it relates to rates, this Ordinance shall not apply to non-consensual tows as defined in Section 3(R) above.

(D) Emergency vehicles or vessels described above may not be towed or immobilized except as directed by law enforcement or the Department or at the request of the owner or operator of the emergency vehicle or vessel.

(E) Commercial vehicles which reasonably appear to be of the kind routinely used for the delivery of mail, packages, supplies, or other products may not be towed or immobilized if it reasonably appears that the vehicle is parked at the location for purposes of making a routine delivery or other service for the property owner or its lessees, unless the Department or a law enforcement officer orders the removal or immobilization or the prope1iy owner, agent, lessee or authorized employee thereof has signed an order, prior to removal or immobilization, authorizing said removal or immobilization of a particular vehicle. Such an order issued by the property owner, agent, lessee or authorized employee must contain the same information as specified in Section 12 (C) of this Ordinance.

SECTION 5.     POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE AGENCY UNDER THIS ORDINANCE.

(A) The Agency shall review all applications for certificates, permits and public vehicle driver's licenses and may issue certificates, permits and public vehicle driver's licenses to each applicant meeting the requirements of this Ordinance. The Agency shall maintain a list of certificate holders, permits and drivers authorized to provide towing and/or immobilization services in the County accessible to the general public.

(B) The Agency shall provide written notice, with proof of delivery, of the denial of the application for certificates, permits and public vehicles driver's licenses specifying the grounds for the denial.

SECTION 6.      POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT UNDER THIS ORDINANCE.

(A) The Department shall receive and review all complaints of violations of this Ordinance.

(B) The Department may request additional information from the complainant for purposes of processing the complaint. For each complaint of violation(s) of this Ordinance the Department receives, it shall evaluate and investigate the complaint and take such action it deems appropriate as provided for by this Ordinance.

(C) The Department may, on its own initiative, investigate potential violations of which it becomes aware, regardless of the absence of a written or verbal complaint.

(D) The Department shall make periodic physical inspections of tow trucks to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance.

(E) The Department shall inspect the records, as specified in Section 7(F), of certificate holders and/or owners of tow trucks at their respective place of business during regular business hours.(F) The Department shall enforce the provisions of this Ordinance.

(G) The Department shall provide written notice, with proof of delivery, of the suspension or revocation of certificates, permits and public vehicle driver's licenses, specifying the grounds for the suspension or revocation.

(H) The Department may issue citations and notices to appear for violations of this Ordinance.

SECTION 7.     CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS.

(A) No person shall engage in the business of providing towing and/or immobilization services in the County unless such person first obtains a valid certificate from the Agency. An application for a certificate must be submitted to the Agency in the format prescribed by the Agency. Persons who are currently in the business of providing towing and/or immobilization services in the County must submit an application for certificate to the Agency no more than ninety (90) days after the effective date of the Ordinance and may continue operating during the application process. Any person currently in the business of providing towing and/or immobilization in the County that is denied a certificate by the Agency may continue providing such services after its application for a certificate is denied and while such person pursues any available appellate rights contained in Section 19 of this Ordinance.

(B) Each applicant shall, at a minimum, provide the following information as pmi of the application process:

(1) The physical address from which the business will be operated and any additional addresses required for administration or ownership, if different from where the business operates;

(2) The business owner's name, local address, telephone number and email address;

(3) The manager's name, local address, telephone number and email address;

( 4) Mailing address at which notice of any information pertinent to the business shall be considered received and binding upon the applicant or certificate holder;

(5) Proof of insurance as specified in Section 8(F) of this Ordinance;

(6) Payment of an initial, non-refundable application fee, which shall be established by Resolution adopted by the BOCC, as may be amended;

(7) Identify and list all tow trucks utilized by the business. The list shall include the year, make, model and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All tow trucks must obtain a permit as specified in Section 8 of this Ordinance. Such listing must be maintained and updated on a regular basis and must be current at any given time;

(8) Identify and list all drivers utilized by the business. The list shall include the name, address, date of birth and phone number for each driver. All drivers must be issued a public vehicle driver's license as specified in Section 9 of this Ordinance. Such listing must be maintained and updated on a regular basis and must be current at any given time; and

(9) Additional information as the Agency, Department or designee may require.

(C) A towing and/or immobilization service must comply with all city, county, state and federal laws and ordinances at all times.

(D) Within ninety (90) days after enactment of this Ordinance, a towing and/or immobilization service must accept all of the following: cash and debit cards as a form of payment made by vehicle owners or agents to be able to retrieve vehicles that are the subject of a tow or immobilization. In addition, if a towing and/or immobilization service does not accept credit cards, it must also accept cashier's checks and money orders.

(E) A towing and/or immobilization service must maintain regular business hours to serve the public between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The towing and/or immobilization service must have personnel on duty between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to serve the public. On Saturdays, the towing and/or immobilization service must ensure that personnel are available to answer and respond to calls within one hour in order to serve the public, but do not need to have personnel physically present at the office. Regular business hours are not required on holidays observed by state government offices.

(F) A towing and/or immobilization service shall maintain records of all tow trucks utilized by the business; all tow truck inspections, including those required by Section 8(D) of this

Ordinance; proof of insurance for all vehicles as required by Section 8(F) of this Ordinance; and all drivers utilized by the towing and/or immobilization service, for at least five (5) years. All records required to be maintained and/or provided under this Ordinance may be maintained and/or provided in electronic or paper form.

(G) A towing and/or immobilization service shall cooperate with the Agency and/or the Department to permit audits of the towing and/or immobilization service records to verify compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance.

SECTION 8.     VEHICLE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS.

(A) No person shall operate or cause to allow the operation of a tow truck without first obtaining a valid permit for that vehicle from the Agency.

(B) Every towing and/or immobilization service shall obtain and/or ensure that each tow truck it utilizes to provide towing and/or immobilization services in the County obtains a permit from the Agency.

(C) Each applicant for permits shall pay an initial non-refundable application fee, which shall be established by Resolution adopted by the BOCC, as may be amended.

(D) Prior to obtaining a permit, each tow truck must be inspected and certified by an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified mechanic or commercial auto repair facility licensed by the State of Florida. The tow truck must pass a safety and mechanical inspection. All tow trucks must pass the inspection on an annual basis and each year thereafter. The certificate holder must provide proof of evidence of such inspection at the time of initial application for the permits and annually thereafter upon renewal of the permits. The inspection shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Foot brakes and parking brake;
(2) Condition of tires, including tread depth;
(3) Windshield;
(4) Windshield wipers;
(5) Headlights;
(6) Taillights;
(7) Brake lights;
(8) Turn indicator lights;
(9) Door and lock operation;
(10) Horn;
(11) Speedometer;
(12) Interior and exterior rearview and side view mirrors;
(13) Safety belts;
(14) Suspension and steering;
(15) Front seat adjustment mechanism;
(16) Bumper;
(17) Muffler and exhaust system; and
(18) Oil or other fluid leaks.

(E) All tow trucks shall be equipped with the following:

(1) A cradle or tow plate to pick up vehicles. The cradle or tow plate shall be equipped with safety chains and constructed in such a manner that it will not damage the vehicle towed;

(2) Dual rear wheels;

(3) Clearance and marker lights and all other equipment as required by Chapter 316, Florida Statutes, as may be amended;

( 4) A rotor beam or strobe-type light, amber in color, mounted on the tow truck in such a manner that it can be seen from the front, rear and both sides;

(5) The name, address and telephone number of the trade name of the certificate holder permanently affixed in a conspicuous place on both sides of the truck. A unit number shall be permanently affixed on both sides of the cab of each truck. The same unit number on tow trucks under the same certificate holder's certificate is prohibited. The name must be in letters at least three (3) inches in height. The address and telephone number must be in letters at least one ( 1) inch in height;

( 6) One flashlight; and

(7) At least one five (5) pound or larger fire extinguisher.

(F) A towing and/or immobilization service shall at all times maintain commercial motor vehicle liability insurance for each tow truck that meets or exceeds the requirements of Florida Statutes, as may be amended. In addition, a towing and/or immobilization service must maintain the following coverages:

(1) Garage liability insurance. A garage liability insurance policy covering the towing and/or immobilization service operations, including, but not limited to, the towing and/or immobilization service business, equipment and vehicles, which covers all locations within Hillsborough County. The limits ofliability of this policy shall be no less than $300,000.00 for bodily injury, personal injury and property damage liability combined single limit each occurance and aggregate. This aggregate limit shall apply separately for each location to be used by the towing and/or immobilization service.

(2) Garagekeeper's legal liability insurance. A garagekeeper's legal liability insurance policy insuring its legal liability for loss of or damage to vehicles of others towed or stored by a towing and/or immobilization service which covers fire, theft, collision, and other insurable perils. The deductible for these coverages shall not exceed $1,000.00 per vehicle. The limits of coverage shall not be less than $50,000 for each occurrence, at each location, including towing, for property damage liability. If separate on­hook liability insurance is obtained, the minimum coverage will also be$50,000 as with prope1iy damage liability.

(G) Tow trucks shall be structurally sound and be maintained in proper operating condition at all times. The interior of tow trucks shall also be kept clean, sanitary, and free from damage.


(H) All permitted tow trucks are required to display two permit stickers issued by the Agency. One sticker shall be placed on the bottom corner of the rear window located on the driver's side of the vehicle. The other sticker shall be placed on the bottom corner of the front windshield glass on the passenger side of the vehicle. Stickers shall only be placed on the vehicle for which the permit is issued and shall not be transferred to any other vehicle.

(I) Once an initial certificate holder is approved for its certificate and permits by the Agency, at any point thereafter, it may submit an application for additional permits.

(J) All tow trucks are subject to inspection by the Agency and/or Department at any time to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance.

(K) A towing and/or immobilization service shall ensure that documentation demonstrating that the driver's tow truck has been inspected as provided for by Section 8(D) of this Ordinance is placed within the tow truck in an easily accessible location so that the tow truck driver can provide it to the Agency or the Department upon request.


(L) A towing and/or immobilization service shall not permit a person to drive or operate tow truck unless such person has been issued a public vehicle driver's license as specified in Section 9 of this Ordinance.

SECTION 9.    PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS.

(A) No Person shall operate a tow truck without first obtaining a public vehicle driver's
license ("PVDL") fom the Agency. An application for a PVDL must be submitted to the Agency in the format prescribed by the Agency. Persons who obtained a PVDL, prior to and which is valid as of the effective date of this Ordinance, do not need to apply for a new PDVL from the Agency. However, such person is subject to the renewal provisions of Section 14 of this Ordinance upon expiration of his/her current PVDL, and, at that time, will also be required to provide a set of fingerprints and sufficient information as described in Section 9(8) below to enable the Agency to obtain a Level II criminal background screening.

(B) Each applicant shall, at a minimum, provide the following information as part of the application process:

(1) Payment of an initial, non-refundable application fee, which shall be established by Resolution adopted by the BOCC, as may be amended.

(2) Pursuant to the County's authority under Section 125.5801, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, a set of fingerprints and sufficient information in the manner prescribed by the Agency to enable the Agency to obtain a Level II criminal background screening on the applicant. The fingerprints shall be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a state criminal background history record check and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check. Prior to submitting a request for a criminal history record check pursuant to this Section, the Agency shall notify each applicant to be fingerprinted that his or her fingerprints will be sent to the Florida Depaiiment of Law Enforcement for a state criminal history record check and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history record check.

(C) Each applicant must possess a valid driver's license in said driver's name issued by the State of Florida. Such driver's license must be valid for at least twelve (12) months prior to being issued a PVDL. If the State of Florida driver's license is less than twelve (12) months old, the applicant may provide proof of a previous valid driver's license issued at least twelve (12) months prior by another state immediately prior to obtaining the State of Florida driver's license. In order to be granted a PVDL, the applicant must not have had any suspensions, cancellations or revocations of the driver's license due to activities associated with operating a motor vehicle within the past five (5) years, and cannot have more than nine (9) points assessed against his or her driver's license at the time of application for the PVDL.

(D) All applicants for PVDL's must undergo a Level II criminal background screening.

(E) Any applicant/driver must not have been found guilty or been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any disqualifying offense as specified below:

(1) Driving under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs within the past eight (8) years;

(2) Reckless Driving within the past three (3) years;

(3) Any violent crime felony or attempted violent crime felony, including, but not limited to: murder; attempted murder; attempted felony murder; manslaughter; armed robbery; robbery; assault with a deadly weapon; aggravated battery; aggravated assault; kidnapping; attempted kidnapping; false imprisonment; armed burglary; aggravated stalking; home invasion; carjacking; and, attempted home invasion;

(4) Any property crime felony within the past five ( 5) years, including, but not limited to: grand theft; burglary; fraud; and, felony criminal mischief;

(5) Any felony crime involving the sale or possession of a controlled substance, as defined by Section 893.03, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, within the past five (5) years;

(6) Any misdemeanor crime involving a controlled substance, as defined by Section 893.03, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, within the past two (2) years;

(7) DUI Manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter/homicide;

(8) Leaving the scene of an accident with death or serious bodily injury;

(9) Leaving the scene of an accident with property damage within the past five (5) years;

(10) Any sex crime as defined in Chapter 794, Florida Statutes, as may be amended;

(11) Any person who is required by law to register as a sex offender/predator, career offender, or convicted felon pursuant to Sections 775.13, 775.21, 775.261, 943.0435, 944.607, or 944.608, Florida Statutes, as may be amended;

(12) Any crime related to lewdness and indecent exposure as defined in Chapter 800, Florida Statutes, as may be amended;

(13) Any crime related to prostitution as defined in Chapter 796, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, within the past three (3) years;

(14) Any crime in violation of the Florida RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act, currently Sections 895.01 through 895.06, Florida Statutes, as may be amended; or

(15) Any offense committed in another jurisdiction that would be an offense listed in this Section 9(E) if that offense had been committed in the State of Florida.

(F) An applicant/driver must not be on probation or parole for a felony crime at the time of application.

(G) An applicant determined eligible for a PVDL and subsequently arrested, charged, and/or found guilty or been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any disqualifying offense listed above shall notify the Agency of such within five (5) days.

(H) Each tow truck driver shall possess and display the PVDL on his or her person at all times in a manner that is readily visible by others while on duty as a tow truck driver.

(I) A driver shall not operate a tow truck if his or her PVDL has expired or has been revoked or suspended.

(J) A driver shall not operate a tow truck unless such vehicle is permitted by the Agency as required by Section 8.

(K) All drivers shall cooperate with the Agency and/or the Department to permit inspections of tow trucks to verify compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance.

SECTION 10.    TRESPASS TOWING COMPLIANCE WITH FLORIDA LAW.

No towing and/or immobilization service shall tow or otherwise transpmi a vehicle or vessel for compensation when the point of origin of the tow or transportation is within the boundaries of Hillsborough County unless such towing and/or immobilization service complies with the requirements of Sections 713.78 and 715.07, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, and the provisions of this Ordinance. A violation of Sections 713.78 and 715.07, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, constitutes a violation of this Ordinance.
 

SECTION 11.   PREREQUISITES TO AND REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASS TOWING FROM OR IMMOBILIZATION OF VEHICLES OR VESSELS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.

(A) Prior to the trespass towing or immobilization of any vehicle or vessel, a towing and/or immobilization service must have an executed written agreement with the prope1iy owner or agent for each property at which trespass towing or immobilization may occur. An agreement with a towing and/or immobilization service may include multiple properties owned or managed by the same owner or agent. Persons, who are currently in the business of providing towing and/or immobilization services and who have existing agreements with property owners or agents authorizing trespass towing or immobilization at a specific property, shall have a period of one (1) year from the effective date of this Ordinance or at the time of renewal of the agreement, whichever is earlier, to make modifications to such agreements to ensure consistency with this Section 11.

(B) The executed written agreement required in Section 11 (A) above shall contain the following provisions:

(1) The name, physical address, mailing address and telephone number of the towing and/or immobilization service and property owner;

(2) The location and description of the property from which the vehicle(s) will be towed or immobilized, to include, at a minimum, the street number and name, and a description of the parking lot or spaces from which vehicles or vessels will be towed or at which vehicles will be immobilized on the subject property;

(3) The effective dates of the agreement, including the duration, and, if open ended or automatically renewed;

(4) The time of day that such towing or immobilization is authorized;

(5) The day(s) of the week that such towing or immobilization is authorized;

(6) Exceptions to the above, such as partial days, specific hours or certain days or events;

(7) A statement that all fees to be charged for towing, storage, or immobilization, shall not exceed the amounts established by BOCC Resolution;

(8) The address and description of the location to which vehicles or vessels will be towed or stored or immobilized; and

(9) The signatures of both the property owner or agent and the owner, or authorized agent of the towing and/or immobilization service, certifying that each has read and is in compliance with the provisions of Section 715.07 and 713.78, Florida Statutes, as may be amended, and the applicable provisions of this Ordinance.

(C) The above requirement of a written agreement shall not apply to removal of vehicles or vessels from property appurtenant to and obviously part of a single-family residence or where the vehicle or vessel is parked in such a way as to obstruct access to private entrances, exits, drives, or loading areas.

(D) A change, modification or amendment in ownership of a towing and/or immobilization service or to property subject to an agreement specified above, requires the execution of a modification to the agreement reflecting such changes.

(E) It shall be a violation of this Ordinance for any towing and/or immobilization service to engage in trespass tows or immobilization within Hillsborough County unless the towing and/or immobilization service has successfully complied with the agreement requirements set forth in this Section.

(F) Prior to towing or removing a vehicle or vessel or immobilizing a vehicle, the towing and/or immobilization service driver shall photograph or video the vehicle or vessel to sufficiently detail the violation, rule or regulation for which the vehicle or vessel is being towed or immobilized. The photographs or video shall be maintained by the towing and/or immobilization service for a minimum of six (6) months, and be produced upon request by the Department or any law enforcement agency.

(G) No towing and/or immobilization service shall pay or rebate money, or solicit or offer the payment or rebate of money or other valuable consideration, to property owners for the right to engage in trespass towing or immobilization from any property.

(H) Any vehicle or vessel that is trespass towed from locations within Hillsborough County must be stored within a ten-mile mathematical radius of the point of removal.

(I) All vehicles or vessels subject to a trespass tow shall be towed directly and continuously to the storage site owned or leased by the towing service. Towed vehicles or vessels shall not be temporarily kept or staged in any holding area for later removal to the storage site. Staging vehicles or vessels at a temporary location for later towing is strictly prohibited and a violation of this Ordinance.

(J) Any towing and/or immobilization service initiating a trespass tow or immobilization within the boundaries of Hillsborough County shall notify the law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction of an area of such towing or immobilization within thirty (30) minutes of the completion of any such trespass tow or immobilization. Such notification to the law enforcement agency shall include the following information concerning the subject trespass tow or immobilization:

(1) The name of the towing and/or immobilization service;
(2) The address of the storage site to which the vehicle was towed;
(3) The location and address from which the vehicle was towed or at which the immobilization occuned;
(4) The time the vehicle was towed, removed or immobilized;
(5) The make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate number of the vehicle or vessel, as applicable; and
(6) Any other information requested by the law enforcement agency.

Additionally, the towing and/or immobilization service shall obtain the law enforcement agency's case number to assign to the trespass tow or immobilization at the time of reporting the aforementioned trespass tow or immobilization information.

(K) Each towing and/or immobilization service shall staff or monitor its telephone twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week, including holidays, and shall return a vehicle or vessel owner's or agent's telephone call within one (1) hour and shall advise the owner or agent of the following:

(1) Each and every document or other item which must be produced to retrieve the vehicle or vessel;

(2) The exact charges at that time, and the rate at which charges will accumulate thereafter;

(3) The acceptable methods of payment, which shall include cash and debit cards. In addition, a towing and/or immobilization service shall accept cashier's checks and money orders, if it doesn't accept credit cards.

(4) That the towed or immobilized vehicle or vessel can be picked up within one (1) hour of request.

(L) The towing and/or immobilization service shall provide a written bill at the request of the vehicle or vessel owner or agent, before the owner or agent renders payment, for the owner detailing the charges to date and the rate at which charges would accumulate thereafter.

(M) The towing and/or immobilization service shall provide, at the time of payment, whether or not requested, a legible written receipt bearing the name of the towing and/or immobilization service, listing all charges imposed for the towing or immobilization and listing all payments received from the vehicle or vessel owner or agent of the owner resulting from the towing or immobilization of a vehicle or vessel. Said receipt shall include, at a minimum:

(I) The date, time and location of the tow or immobilization;
(2) The description of the vehicle or vessel, including make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license plate number;
(3) The total charges, listing individually and specifically;
(4) The date and time of payment of the charges;
(5) The PVDL number assigned to the tow truck driver; and
(6) A consumer disclosure, promulgated by the Department, in bold, capitalized letters of at least 12-point type.

(N) The consumer disclosure described in Section l l(M)(6) above, shall also be posted at the place of business of any towing and/or immobilization service subject to this Ordinance in a plainly visible location.

(0) The towing and/or immobilization service shall prepare and maintain a data sheet (electronically or hard copy) which shall include, but not be limited to, the following information pertaining to a trespass tow or immobilization:

(1) The name of the towing and/or immobilization service and person providing the service;
(2) The location from which the tow was initiated or at which the vehicle was immobilized;
(3) The date and time the tow was initiated or the vehicle immobilized;
(4) The destination to which the vehicle or vessel was taken regarding towing services;
(5) The description of the vehicle or vessel, including make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license plate number;
(6) The time and date the applicable law enforcement agency was contacted by the towing and/or immobilization service, and the case number assigned regarding towing or immobilization services;
(7) The description of the services rendered, including an itemized list of all charges; and
(8) The date and time the vehicle or vessel was returned to the owner and the identity of the vehicle or vessel owner or agent of the owner.

(P) All towing and/or immobilization services shall keep all data sheets, written agreements, and authorizations to provide towing and/or immobilization services on file for a period of five (5) years and shall make them available to any Agency and/or Department representative and law enforcement agency upon their request, during regular business hours.

(Q) No towing service shall tow a vehicle or vessel when there is a natural person or animals occupying the vehicle or vessel.

(R) A towing and/or immobilization service shall allow the vehicle or vessel owner or agent to remove or retrieve personal property or possessions from the vehicle or vessel immediately at the scene of the tow or at the storage facility, regardless of whether payment to retrieve the vehicle or vessel is made. A towing and/or immobilization service may charge an additional fee(s) as specified by BOCC Resolution for granting such access during non-business hours only. Personal property does not include any items that would be considered paii of the car that is otherwise bolted, wired or otherwise physically attached to the vehicle or vessel.

(S) A vehicle or vessel owner or agent of the owner shall have the right to inspect the vehicle or vessel before accepting its return. No release or waiver of any kind that purports to release the person or company towing or immobilizing the vehicle or vessel from liability for damages noted by the vehicle or vessel owner or owner's agent at the time of redemption may be required from any vehicle or vessel owner or agent as a condition ofrelease of the vehicle or vessel to the owner or agent.

(T) The towing or immobilization rates and any fees set forth by BOCC Resolution shall be prominently posted and clearly legible in no less than one-half-inch high letters on contrasting background at the point of payment at the storage site. Such notice shall be visible to the person where payment is tendered. The towing and/or immobilization service also must prominently post a clearly legible notice at the point of payment at the storage site, in letters no less than one-half-inch high on contrasting background, the following statement: "Towing and immobilization is regulated by the Towing and Immobilization Ordinance and, for tows, Section 715. 07, Florida Statutes, copies of which are available by the towing and/or immobilization service at this location upon request." For towing services only, the following language shall also be posted in letters no less than one-half-inch high:

"TO THE VEHICLE OWNER: If you believe your vehicle or vessel was wrongfully towed and/or you have been overcharged for services rendered, you do not have to pay your bill to get your vehicle or vessel. Instead, you have the right to post a bond in the circuit comi, payment to [name of towing service], in the amount of the final bill for services rendered, and the court will decide later who is right. If you show us a valid clerk's certificate showing that you have posted a bond, we must release your vehicle or vessel to you immediately. This remedy is in addition to other legal remedies you have pursuant to Chapter 713, Florida Statutes. If you have a complaint about the way services were provided, you may contact the Hillsborough County Department of Consumer and Veterans Services or other successor Department designated by the County Administrator."

All information required to be posted may be included in one sign or separate signs, at the discretion of the towing and/or immobilization service. The towing and/or immobilization service is prohibited from engaging in trespass towing or immobilization within the County unless the above notices, as applicable, are prominently posted, and clearly legible, at the point of payment at the storage site.

SECTION 12.     ADDITIONAL PREREQUISITES TO AND REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASS TOWS FROM OR IMMOBILIZATIONS OF VEHICLES WHICH TAKE PLACE AT ESTABLISHMENTS LICENSED TO SELL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES FOR CONSUMPTION.

(A) No property owner or lessee of prope1iy licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licenses premises, or an authorized employee therefore, may cause any vehicles parked on such property without his or her permission to be removed by a towing service or immobilized, from 9:00 p.m. until 12:00 noon, unless said property owner, agent, lessee, or authorized employee thereof has signed an order authorizing the removal or immobilization of a particular vehicle.

(B) No towing and/or immobilization service or driver may tow or immobilize such a vehicle from 9:00 p.m. until 12:00 noon, unless in receipt of a signed order referenced herein containing all information identified include:

(C) Such order may only be signed prior to vehicle removal or immobilization and must


(1) Vehicle make, model, color, and license plate number;
(2) Address of vehicle location;
(3) Date and time of order;
(4) Date and time of removal or immobilization;
(5) Name of person issuing the order and their employer;
(6) Name of towing and/or immobilization service to which the order is issued;
(7) Name of driver; and
(8) Address of storage site, where the vehicle is towed.

(D) Copies of orders shall be maintained for a minimum of five (5) years by both the property owner or lessee, and the towing and/or immobilization service and shall be available for inspection by the vehicle owner, Hillsborough County, the respective municipality from where the vehicle was towed or at which the vehicle was immobilized, if applicable, and any law enforcement agency.

(E) Any property owner that has, on its prope1iy, an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises and also provides on-site parking on said property shall be required to post a sign on the property with the following language:

"Know Your Rights: Your car cannot be legally towed off this prope1iy or immobilized between 9:00 p.m. until noon of the following day, unless the owner, lessee or authorized employee signs an order prior to vehicle removal or immobilization."

The notice must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within five (5) feet from the public right-of-way line. The notice must use light-reflective letters on a contrasting background with not less than two-inch high letters.

SECTION 13.    NOTIFICATION AND SIGN REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASS TOWS OR IMMOBILIZATION OF VEHICLES LOCATED ON REAL PROPERTY.

(A) Subject to the exceptions contained in Section 715.07(2)(a)(5), any person who provides trespass towing and/or immobilization services with respect to removal or immobilization of any vehicle located on real prope1iy must comply with the following real property notice requirements:

(1) The notice must be prominently displayed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within five feet of the public right-of-way line. Ifthere are no curbs or access barriers, not less than one sign must be posted for each twenty-five (25) feet of lot frontage.

(2) The notice must clearly indicated, in light-reflective letters, not less than two (2) inches high, on contrasting background, the following "Unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner's expense". The words "TOW-A WAY ZONE" must also be included on the notice in not less than four ( 4) inches high. At real property where vehicles are subject to immobilization, the following words must also be included in two (2) inch letters: "Unauthorized vehicles are also subject to being booted." The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of all persons and/or businesses authorized by the owner of the real property to perform trespass towing from said real property.

(3) The sign structure containing the required notices must be permanently installed with the words "TOW-A WAY ZONE" not less than three (3) feet and not more than six (6) feet above ground level and must be continuously maintained on the property for not less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicle or vessel.

(4) The owner or custodian of real property may authorize the towing of a vehicle in the absence of any notice otherwise required to be posted on said real property if the vehicle is parked in such a manner as to obstruct any driveway or similar entrance or exit for the real property.

(5) If the vehicle or vessel is towed from a business with twenty (20) or fewer parking spaces, if there is a sign prominently displayed stated "Reserved Parking for Customers Only Unauthorized Vehicles or Vessels Will be Towed Away at the Owner's Expense" in not less than four (4) inch high, light reflective letters on a contrasting background, the posted notice requirements of this Section are considered satisfied.

(B) Except as specifically provided herein, a towing and/or immobilization service owner, operator or agent shall not engage in a trespass towing from or immobilization at any private property where the notice or sign structure is not in compliance with this Section.

SECTION 14.   CERTIFICATE, PERMIT AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS.

(A) All certificates, permits and PVDL's must be renewed annually. To apply for renewal of a certificate, permit or PVDL, the certificate holder or PVDL licensee must submit an application for renewal along with payment of the non-refundable certificate, permit or PVDL fee, as provided for by Resolution, as may be amended.

(B) Prior to obtaining a renewal permit, the certificate holder must provide proof of evidence to the Agency that each vehicle for which it seeks renewal of a permit has passed an annual safety and mechanical inspection as specified in Section 8(D) of this Ordinance and is covered by commercial motor vehicle liability insurance as provided for by Section 8(F) of this Ordinance.

SECTION 15.   ADDITIONAL CERTIFICATE, PERMIT AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE RELATED REQUIREMENTS.

(A) A certificate holder shall notify the Agency in writing no later than ten (10) days after changing its physical address from which the business will be operated or mailing address at which notice of any information pertinent to the business shall be considered received and binding upon the certificate holder.

(B) Certificates, permits and PVDL's issued to one person by the Agency cannot be transferred to another person.

SECTION 16. RATES.

Only rates and fees set forth and established by BOCC Resolution, as may be amended, may be charged in relation to provision of towing, and/or immobilization services.

SECTION 17. GROUNDS FOR DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATES AND PERMITS.

The Agency may deny or refuse to issue a ce11ificate and permits and the Depai1ment may suspend or revoke a certificate and permits based upon a determination that the applicant or certificate holder:

(A) Failed to meet the requirements for certification and permits as provided in this Ordinance;

(B) Failed to provide information and/or documents associated with the application and renewal process outlined in this Ordinance;

(C) Made false statements or misrepresentations associated with certificate and/or permit applications or inquiries regarding information requested and/or provided during the application and renewal process outlined in this Ordinance;

(D) Engaged in prohibited conduct as provided in Section 20 of this Ordinance;

(E) Failed to comply with an Order of the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement for information or an investigation being conducted by either the Agency or the Department.

SECTION 18.     GROUNDS FOR DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSES.

The Agency may deny or refuse to issue a PVDL and the Department may suspend or revoke a PVDL based upon a determination that the applicant or license holder:

(A) Failed to meet the requirements for licensure as provided in this Ordinance, including those in Section 9(C) of this Ordinance as it relates to State of Florida Driver's Licenses;

(B) Is disqualified based upon a criminal background check pursuant to this Ordinance;

(C) Is found guilty or been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a disqualifying offense listed in Section 9(E) of this Ordinance, at any point after the initial issuance of a PVDL;

(D) Failed to provide information and/or documents associated with the application and renewal process outlined in this Ordinance;

(E) Made false statements or misrepresentations associated with applications for new or renewal PVDL's or inquiries regarding information requested/provided during the application and renewal process outlined in this Ordinance;

(F) Engaged in prohibited conduct as provided in Section 20 of this Ordinance;

(G) Failed to comply with an Order of the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board or Special Magistrate;

(H) Failed to comply with an Order of a Hearing Officer; or

(I) Failed to allow for inspection of a tow truck or to otherwise cooperate with requests for information or an investigation being conducted by either the Agency or the Department.

SECTION 19.     DUE PROCESS IN THE EVENT OF DENIAL, SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATES, PERMITS AND PUBLIC VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSES.

The applicant, whose application for a certificate, permit(s) or a PVDL has been denied, or the certificate holder or PVDL licensee whose certificate, permit(s), or PVDL has been suspended or revoked, may contest such denial, suspension or revocation by requesting a hearing before a Hearing Officer. In order to contest, the applicant, certificate holder or PVDL licensee must submit a written request to the Department within ten (10) days of the delivery date of the notice of denial, suspension or revocation. If a request to contest is timely submitted, a hearing shall be scheduled, noticed and conducted in accordance with Section 24 of this Ordinance and the Hearing Procedures adopted by the County Administrator. If no request is timely submitted, the applicant, certificate holder or PVDL licensee shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to contest the denial, suspension or revocation and must cease operations of providing towing and/or immobilization services.


SECTION 20.      PROHIBITED CONDUCT.

It shall be a violation of this Ordinance for a person to:

(A) Provide towing and/or immobilization services in the County without a certificate or a permit for each tow truck providing such services;

(B) Operate a tow truck without a PVDL;

(C) Fail to provide information and/or documents associated with the certificate, permit or PVDL application process outlined in this Ordinance;

(D) Make false statements or misrepresentations associated with certificate, permit or PVDL applications or inquiries regarding information requested/provided during the application process outlined in this Ordinance;

(E) Provide towing or immobilization services at a location other than the one(s) appearing on the ce1iificate issued by the Agency;

(F) Fail to comply with an Order of Hillsborough County Code Enforcement Board and/or Special Magistrate;

(G) Fail to comply with an Order of a Hearing Officer;

(H) Fail to comply with any requirement of this Ordinance;

(I) Engage in conduct expressly prohibited by this Ordinance; or

(J) Fail to allow for inspection of a tow truck or to otherwise cooperate with requests for information or an investigation being conducted by either the Agency or the Department.

SECTION 21.    FILING OF COMPLAINTS.

(A) Any person who witnesses or who is subjected to an unlawful practice or conduct in violation of this Ordinance may file a written complaint with the Department.

(B) If a person files a written complaint with the Department, the complaint shall contain as much of the following information as is available:

(1) Name and address of the person alleged to have committed the offense;
(2) Date of the alleged offense;
(3) General statement of the facts of the alleged offense;
( 4) Name and signature of the complainant; and
(5) Such other information as required by the Department.

(C) Notwithstanding this Section, the Department may, on its own initiative, investigate any potential violation which it becomes aware regardless of the absence of a written or verbal complaint.

SECTION 22.    ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.

(A) The County's code enforcement officers, law enforcement or any other person authorized to enforce County ordinances may enforce the provisions of this Ordinance.

(B) Pursuant to the provisions of Section 125.69, as may be amended, any person violating the provisions of this Ordinance may be subject to prosecution in the name of the State of Florida in the same manner as misdemeanors are prosecuted; and, upon conviction, such person shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00 per violation, or by imprisonment in the County jail not to exceed sixty (60) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(C) When enforced by a code enforcement officer, the enforcement provisions and procedures authorized by Chapter 162, Florida Statutes, Parts I and II, as may be amended, and as outlined in Chapter 14, A1iicle II of the Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws, as amended, shall apply.

(D) Nothing contained herein shall prevent the County from taking such other lawful action in law and equity as may be necessary to remedy any violation of, or refusal to comply with, any part of this Ordinance including but not limited to:

(1) Pursuit of injunctive and/or declaratory relief in a court of competent jurisdiction;

(2) Initiating an action to recover any and all damages that may result from a violation of, or refusal to comply with, any part of this Ordinance; and

(3) Utilizing any other action or enforcement method allowable by law.

(E) Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

(F) Any towing and/or immobilization service, its owner, operator, driver, or representative, or any person who violates this Ordinance shall be liable to the owner or lessee of the vehicle for all costs of recovery (including all towing, storage and other associated fees and costs) plus attorney's fees and court costs; and, in addition, shall be liable to the owner or lessee of any towed vehicle for any damages resulting directly or indirectly from the placement or removal, transportation, or storage of the vehicle.

SECTION 23.    APPOINTMENT OF HEARING OFFICERS. 

Hearing Officers referred to in this Ordinance shall be appointed in accordance with a Resolution adopted by the BOCC, as may be amended. Such Hearing Officers shall have jurisdiction to conduct hearings on denials of certificate, permit and PVDL applications and suspensions and revocations of certificates, permits and PVDL's. Hearing Officers shall have all of the powers granted to them in the Resolution to include the power to issue subpoenas for production of documents or attendance of witnesses at hearing. 

SECTION 24.    HEARINGS. 

(A) Hearings before a Hearing Officer shall be scheduled, noticed and conducted in accordance with the Hearing Procedures adopted by the County Administrator. 
 
(B) The decision of the Hearing Officer shall be final and binding on both the Agency and/or the Depaiiment and the Respondent. 

(C) The County Attorney's Office may provide legal representation to the Agency and/or the Department in proceedings before the Hearing Officer. 

SECTION 25. APPEALS

Either the Agency and/or Department or a Respondent may appeal an Order of the Hearing Officer by means of Petition for Writ Certiorari to the circuit court within thirty (30) days following the issuance of the Order. The responsibility for, and the costs associated with, preserving a written record of the hearing for appeal and providing such written records to the circuit court shall rest with the party appealing the Order. 

SECTION 26.   SERVICE OF NOTICE. 

Any notice required or permitted by this Ordinance shall be in writing and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or hand delivery with proof of delivery, to the last known address of the Respondent, except notices for code violations shall be provided in the manner prescribed by Chapter 14, Article II of the Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws, as amended. 

SECTION 27.    OTHER RIGHTS AND REMEDIES. 

Nothing herein shall prevent any person from exercising any right or seeking any private remedy or redress to which one might otherwise be entitled. 

SECTION 28.    APPLICABILITY. 

It is hereby intended that this Ordinance shall constitute a uniform law applicable in all of the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County, Florida, and to all incorporated areas of Hillsborough County where there is no existing conflict of law or municipal ordinance. If a conflict exists between this Ordinance and a municipal ordinance or law, this Ordinance shall not be effective within the municipality, but only to the extent of such conflicting provisions. 

SECTION 29.   ALLOCATION OF FEES. 

Fees collected pursuant to this Ordinance shall be used exclusively to pay for the County's administrative costs including but not limited to the application process, inspections, background checks, enforcement activities and any associated training. 

SECTION 30.   REPEAL OF ORDINANCES. 

Hillsborough County Ordinance No. 00-2, as amended by Ordinance No. 07-15, is hereby repealed in its entirety. 

SECTION 31.    SEVERABILITY. 

If any portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held invalid or declared to be unconstitutional, inoperative or void by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holdings shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this Ordinance. 

SECTION 32.   RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT OF LAWS

In all instances where Florida law, as evidenced by the Florida Administrative Code, Florida Statutes, applicable case law or otherwise, mandates standards or requirements that are stricter than the provisions of this Ordinance, or where a matter is addressed by Florida law that is not addressed by this Ordinance, then said law shall govern. In situations where this Ordinance addresses a matter in a manner that is stricter than that of Florida law, the provisions of this Ordinance shall control. 

SECTION 33.    INCLUSION IN THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY CODE

The provisions of this Ordinance shall be included and incorporated in the Hillsborough County Code, as an addition or amendment thereto, and shall be appropriately renumbered to confirm to the uniform numbering system of the Hillsborough County Code, once established. 

SECTION 34.    FILING OF ORDINANCE. 

In accordance with the provisions of Section 125.66, Florida Statutes, a certified copy of this Ordinance shall be filed with the Florida Department of State. 

SECTION 35.    EFFECTIVE DATE. 

This Ordinance shall become effective upon filing with the Florida Department of State. 

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