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.  The Department has authority to issue civil fines under M.G.L. c.22, §21 and M.G.L. c.143, §65 for elevator violations.

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 elevator statutes are subject to fines?

A:  Any violation of M.G.L. c. 143, §§ 62, 64, 65, 71, or 71D including: failure to obtain a permit; failure to arrange annual inspection (except for elevators in a single family dwelling which must be inspected every 5 years); operation without a valid inspection certificate; failure to post a certificate of inspection; removing notice of unsafe condition; failure to report an unsafe condition and/or accident; or working on an elevator without a license. 

A:  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:  The $100 per day fines issued pursuant to M.G.L. c.143, §65 are mandated by law and assessed automatically upon discovery that a unit has been operating with an expired certificate.  For all other fines, for a first offense you will either receive a warning or a fine 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 other than violations of c.143, §65) unless specifically stated to be different.

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 $100 per day fine for violating M.G.L. c.143, §65 is statutorily mandated and cannot be increased or decreased.  For all other fines, the Department of Public Safety and/or the authorized designee may consider the following factors  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:  If I am issued a fine by the Department of Public Safety, how long will that offense be on record?

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:  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.

Q:  What fines will be issued pursuant to M.G.L. c. 143 § 65?

A:  The Department must assess a fine of $100 per day to elevator owners for every day that a unit is operated beyond its expiration date. 

Q:  What happens if an elevator owner or operator applies for an annual inspection after the expiration date of the certificate?

A:  When the application is received after the expiration of the certificate, the owner will be assessed a $100 fine for each day after July 1, 2013 that the elevator was in operation beyond the expiration date of the certificate.  The fines will stop accruing upon receipt of the application.

Q:  Is there a maximum fine that may be assessed for operating a unit beyond the certificate expiration date?

A:  The maximum fine for a unit that has a travel distance of 25 feet or less and is located in a single-family owner-occupied residence in accordance with M.G.L. c. 143 § 64 is $5,000.  For all other units, the maximum fine is $20,000.

Q:  Will a fine be assessed if the elevator does not pass the inspection?

A:  If an elevator does not pass inspection due to a non-life safety problem it will be issued a 90-Day Certificate during which time the problem must be corrected and the elevator may operate without fine.  If the elevator fails the inspection for a life safety problem the elevator will be shut down (placarded) , however there will be no fine since the elevator is no longer in operation.  When an elevator is placarded, a new application for inspection must be sent to DPS.  Provided that the unit passes the new inspection, no further fine will be assessed.

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