(a) To encourage the cooperation of the public in achieving the objectives of the forest laws, the Commissioner may provide for the issuance of warning tickets instead of the initiation of criminal prosecution by forest rangers and forest law-enforcement officers. Issuance of the warning tickets shall be in accordance with criteria administratively promulgated by the Commissioner within the requirements of this section. These criteria are exempt from Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.
(b) No warning ticket may be issued unless all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The forest ranger or the forest law-enforcement officer must be convinced that the offense was not committed intentionally.
(2) The offense is not one, or a type of offense, for which the Commissioner has prohibited the issuance of warning tickets.
(3) At the time of the violation it was not reasonably foreseeable that the conduct of the offender could result in any significant destruction of forests or woodlands or constitute a hazard to the public.
(c) A warning ticket may not be issued if the offender has previously been charged with, or issued a warning ticket for, the same or a similar offense within the preceding three years. A list of persons who have been issued warning tickets under this section within the preceding three years shall be maintained and periodically updated by the Commissioner.
(d) This section does not entitle any person who has committed an offense to the right to be issued a warning ticket, and the issuance of a warning ticket does not prohibit the later initiation of criminal prosecution for the same offense for which the warning ticket was issued. (1983, c. 327, s. 6; 1987, c. 827, s. 6; 2000-189, s. 8; 2011-145, s. 13.25(p), (q).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014