March 12, 2004 – Starting Monday, V.I. Planning and Natural Resources enforcement officers will hand out citations — "just like traffic tickets," Lucia Francis, who serves as chief of the Environmental Enforcement Division, said.
Previously, the department used the "notice of violation" method, a lengthy process that involved filing the ticket with the Justice Department before any action was taken.
Now, offenders will be able to pay the citation just like they do a traffic ticket. Or, if they choose, they may plead their case before a judge. If they accumulate three citations, however, they'll have to go to court.
The offenses, all misdemeanors, cover things like violation of boating regulations and negligent boating operations. This includes issues concerning boat number, registration and safety equipment.
Officers will also give citations for violations concerning fishing, hunting, littering, and other various conservation issues.
Francis said the Legislature passed a bill giving the Environmental Enforcement Division the power to issue citations about two years ago.
For more information about the laws, which come under Title 12 and Title 25, call the Environmental Enforcement Division at 774-3320 in St. Thomas and 773-5774 in St. Croix.
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