Q:  What is a civil fine?

A:  A civil fine is a monetary fine that may be assessed for a violation of certain statutes and regulations as an alternative to criminal proceedings.

Q:  When will civil fines go into effect?

A:  The Department will begin implementation of civil fines on July 1, 2013. 

Q:  What violations of the Amusement regulations or statute may result in fines?

A:  Any violation of 520 CMR 5.00 or M.G.L. c. 140 § 205A, including but not limited to: installation or operation of a ride without a permit or license; failure to present a certificate of examination or liability insurance; failure to notify the Commissioner of the dates and location of a traveling carnival; continuing to operate following an injury without authorization; failure to pay the inspection fee following a reportable incident; failure to notify the Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee of a reportable injury;  failure to notify the Commissioner or to close a device following cancellation or expiration of insurance; failure to display braking procedures; failure to maintain records; failure to obtain and conduct required inspections; failure to maintain permanent and extensive training, inspection, and maintenance policies for routine and emergency safety; failure to employ emergency personnel or an ambulance service; failure to employ a Certified Maintenance Mechanic who is certified by the Commissioner to oversee operation, maintenance and inspection; allowing a minor to operate a ride; or failure to maintain a drug and alcohol policy.

Q:  What violations of the Recreational Tramway statutes can result in fines?

A:  Any violation of M.G.L. c.143, §§ 71K or 71N including: operation of a tramway without a license; failure to warn of maintenance or snow-making equipment usage; failure to mark trail maintenance and emergency vehicles; failure to mark snow-making hydrants locations; failure to post the limitations on actions against ski area operators; or failure to maintain signs properly.

Q:  Who may issue or assess fines?

A:  Fines may be issued and assessed by the Commissioner, the Commissioner’s designee, or other authorized persons such as certain authorized inspectors. See M.G.L. c. 22 § 21

Q:  How much can I be fined?

A:  For the first offense you can either be given a warning, or fined up to $1,000 per violation; for the second offense you can be fined anywhere ranging from $1,000 - $3,000 per violation; and for the third offense and any subsequent offenses you can be fined anywhere ranging from $3,000 - $5,000.  These fine ranges are applicable to all offenses unless specifically stated to be different.  The determination of whether a first offense will result in a warning or a fine is at the discretion of the inspector.

Q:  Will violations occurring on multiple devices during the same inspection be deemed multiple offenses?

A:  Yes.  Offenses relate to a specific statute or code violation.  Therefore, it is possible that there may be multiple notices issued against several devices at a single location if there are violations of more than one section of the statute or code. 

Q:  Is it possible to receive multiple violation notices for the same device?

A:  Yes.  As stated above, offenses relate to a specific statute or code violation.  Therefore, it is possible for multiple violation notices to be issued for several statute or code violations on a single device.

Q:  Will an individual be subject to a subsequent offense fine for a violation occurring before the appeal deadline?

A:  No, a subsequent offense fine will not be issued until the preceding fine has been adjudicated through the appeals process.

Q:  If I am issued a fine by the Department of Public Safety, how long can that offense be used for the purpose of determining whether a subsequent offense fine will be issued?

A:  Subsequent offenses may be considered for a period of up to three years from the date of the initial offense in determining the penalty for a second or third offense. 

Q:  What factors are considered when determining the amount of the fine?

A:  The following factors may be considered by the Department of Public Safety and/or the authorized designee in determining the amount of the penalty:  the willfulness of the violation; previous violations resulting in the imposition of penalties; whether the violation resulted in an accident involving bodily injury or death; the actual or potential danger posed to the public; whether the violator had done everything reasonable to attempt to comply with the law or regulation; whether imposition of the penalty is likely to deter future noncompliance; and the interests of public safety.

Q:  When is payment of a fine due?

A:  Unless an appeal is timely filed, payment of a fine is due within 120 days of receipt of the notice of violation.

Q:  Can I appeal the notice of fine?

A:  Yes, written requests for an administrative appeal must be filed with the Department on the appropriate form within 120 days of receipt of the notice of violation.  Warnings are not subject to appeal.