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County Ordinance Violations

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, represent clients accused of city and county ordinance violations and a variety of code enforcement actions including Section 162 building code and safety rules.

The term “county ordinance violation” means a violation of a Hillsborough County ordinance which is:

  • is initiated by summons, notice to appear, or arrest;
  • includes incarceration as potential punishment; and
  • excludes county ordinance citation violations.

The term “municipal ordinance violation” means a violation of an ordinance of a municipality which:

  • is initiated by summons, notice to appear, or arrest;
  • includes incarceration as potential punishment; and
  • excludes municipal ordinance citation violations.

In Hillsborough County, municipal ordinance violations can be issued by the City of Plant City, the City of Tampa, and the City of Temple Terrace.

Code Enforcement investigates complains about possible violations of the land and property codes to address conditions that threaten the life, health, safety, and general welfare of residents.

Code enforcement complaints often involve code violations, zoning violations, watering restriction violations, illegal dumping, construction fraud, and abandoned property.

Attorneys for Ordinance Violations in Hillsborough County, FL

If you were cited for a County Ordinance Violation or a Municipal Ordinance Violation, then contact an experienced attorney in Hillsborough County, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm. Some county ordinance violations might include incarceration as a potential punishment.

For this reason, a conviction for a county ordinance violation creates a criminal record. A county or municipal ordinance violation is very similar to a second degree misdemeanor charged under state law.

We also represent clients accused of code enforcement actions in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County, FL, that come with hefty fines and liens against your property.

If you were served with notice that you violated an ordinance, then seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

With offices in Tampa, FL, we can help you fight the case with the goal of getting the violation dismissed outright.

Call (813) 250-0500.


Court Assignment for County and Municipal Ordinance Violations

All county ordinance violations in which the offense occurred in the East Division boundaries will be assigned to East County Criminal Divisions “P” or “X” based on the first letter of the defendant’s last name in accordance with section 3(A) of the administrative order.

All county ordinance violations in which the offense occurred outside of the East Division, except those filed by the City of Tampa, will be assigned to a Tampa county criminal division based on the alphabetical assignment schedule in section 3(D) of the administrative order.

County ordinance violations filed by the City of Tampa will be assigned to Division “D” unless ancillary to a criminal offense.

City of Plant City municipal ordinance violations will be assigned to East County Criminal Divisions “P” or “X” based on the first letter of the defendant’s last name in accordance with section 3(A) of the administrative order.

City of Tampa and City of Temple Terrace municipal ordinance violations will be assigned to Division “D.”

If a notice to appear contains a court date and it is signed by the defendant, the clerk will set the case for arraignment on that date. If the notice to appear contains a court date but is not signed by the defendant, the clerk will mail the notice or issue a summons to the defendant for arraignment on that date.

When the notice to appear or arrest affidavit includes both a criminal offense and a municipal ordinance violation, the clerk must treat the municipal ordinance violation as ancillary and assign the case in accordance with the assignment procedures for the criminal offense.


Defending Individuals and Companies for Ordinances Violations

Under Florida’s Constitution, chartered counties have broad powers of self-government. See art. VIII, § 1(g), Fla. Const. In fact, under Article VIII, section 1(g) of the Florida Constitution, chartered counties have the broad authority to “enact county ordinances not inconsistent with general law.” See David G. Tucker, A Primer on Counties and Municipalities, Part I, Fla. B.J., Mar. 2007, at 49.

Nevertheless, a county ordinance can be inconsistent with state law and therefore unconstitutional in two different ways. First, a county cannot legislate in a field if the subject area has been preempted to the State. See City of Hollywood v. Mulligan, 934 So.2d 1238, 1243 (Fla.2006).

“Preemption essentially takes a topic or a field in which local government might otherwise establish appropriate local laws and reserves that topic for regulation exclusively by the legislature.” Id. (quoting Phantom of Clearwater, 894 So.2d at 1018).

Second, in a field where both the State and local government can legislate concurrently, a county cannot enact an ordinance that directly conflicts with a state statute. See Tallahassee Mem’l Reg’l Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Tallahassee Med. Ctr., Inc., 681 So.2d 826, 831 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996).

Local “ordinances are inferior to laws of the state and must not conflict with any controlling provision of a statute.” Thomas v. State, 614 So.2d 468, 470 (Fla.1993).

In Hillsborough County v. Fla. Rest. Ass’n, 603 So.2d 587, 591 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992), the court found that: “If [a county] has enacted such an inconsistent ordinance, the ordinance must be declared null and void.”

Likewise, in Rinzler v. Carson, 262 So.2d 661, 668 (Fla.1972), the court reasoned that a “municipality cannot forbid what the legislature has expressly licensed, authorized or required, nor may it authorize what the legislature has expressly forbidden.”

When a conflict exists between a local ordinance and a state statute when the local ordinance cannot coexist with the state statute. City of Hollywood, 934 So.2d at 1246. In State ex rel. Dade County v. Brautigam, 224 So.2d 688, 692 (Fla.1969), the court explained that “inconsistent” as used in article VIII, section 6(f) of the Florida Constitution “means contradictory in the sense of legislative provisions which cannot coexist.”

In other words, “[t]he test for conflict is whether ‘in order to comply with one provision, a violation of the other is required.’ ” Browning v. Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, Inc., 968 So.2d 637, 649 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007) (quoting Phantom of Clearwater, 894 So.2d at 1020), review granted, No. SC07-2074 (Fla. Nov. 29, 2007).


Section 162 Building Code and Safety Rules

The lawyers at Sammis Law Firm represent property owners in Hillsborough County for city and county code violations under Section 162 of the building code and safety rules. In Section 162 actions, the property owner can come into compliance or challenge the allegations during a hearing.

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm are experienced in fighting actions by city and county code enforcement officers.  We can help you challenge an accusation that you violated a county or city regulation, code or rule, or file an appeal.

Contact us to find out whether we can help you negotiate a reduced fine or prevent a lien from being placed on your industrial property, commercial property, or residential property.


Additional Resources

County Ordinance Violations in Hillsborough County – Visit the website for Hillsborough County to learn more about county ordinance violations.


This article was last updated on Friday, September 20, 2019.

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