Equine checkpoints in Florida

Equine Law/Criminal Law

Horse Owners....... Traveling with your horses???

Ω Did you know that the State of Florida has 23 Agricultural Stations?

Ω Did you know that you must stop your truck & horse trailer at these Stations?

Ω Did you know that if you forget to stop, you have just committed a crime in the State of Florida?

Most of these stations are near the Suwannee and St. Mary's rivers. There is another station on I-75 in White Springs, Florida.

The Bureau of Uniform Services operates 23 agricultural interdiction stations located on every paved highway, crossing the natural boundary of the Suwannee and St. Mary's rivers. Agricultural vehicle inspections are conducted at each location around the clock, 365 days a year, by 224 law enforcement personnel

Failure to stop and show your Coggins is a 2 nd Degree Misdemeanor Crime, according to Florida Statute § 57.15. You will be fined and could be arrested. You could be sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Many horse owners are unaware of this Statute and would likely pass by a check Station without even thinking of stopping. Don't make this mistake! Following are maps showing the general locations of the check stations (the Suwannee River, St. Mary's River and White Springs, FL. I have also printed the statute for you.

Make sure you pull in and have your Coggins ready. And, of course, don't have anything illegal in your truck or trailer, and don't drink and drive!

Title XXXV

Chapter 570

View Entire Chapter

570.15 Access to places of business and vehicles.

(1)(a) Any duly authorized employee of the department shall have full access at all reasonable hours to inspect:

1. All:

a. Places of business;

b. Factories;

c. Farm buildings;

d. Carriages;

e. Railroad cars;

f. Trucks;

g. Motor vehicles, except private passenger automobiles with no trailer in tow, travel trailers, camping trailers, van conversions, and motor homes as defined in s. 320.01(1)(b), or pickup trucks not carrying agricultural, horticultural, or livestock products and which have visible access to the entire cargo area, or city, county, state, or federal vehicles;

h. Truck and motor vehicle trailers; and

i. Vessels

which are used or could be used in the production, manufacture, storage, sale, or transportation within the state of any food product; any agricultural, horticultural, or livestock product; or any article or product with respect to which any authority is conferred by law on the department; and

2. All records or documents pertaining thereto.

(b) The department may examine and open any package or container of any kind containing or believed to contain any article or product which may be transported, manufactured, sold, or offered for sale in violation of the provisions of this chapter, the rules of the department, or the laws which the department enforces and may inspect the contents and take samples for analysis.

(c) If access is refused by the owner, agent, manager, or other person in charge of any premises, or by the owner, driver, operator, or other person in charge of any vehicle, the department employee may apply for, obtain, and execute a search warrant for regulatory inspection under the provisions of this section and ss. 933.20- 933.30. The provisions of chapter 933 relating to probable cause do not apply to regulatory inspections under this section. Routine inspections of vehicles shall be conducted in accordance with the administrative standards, including neutral criteria, for conducting these inspections set forth by rules of the department.

(2) It is unlawful for the driver of any vehicle, other than one exempted in sub-subparagraph (1)(a)1.g. or one authorized pursuant to subsection (5), to pass any official agricultural inspection station without first stopping and submitting the vehicle for inspection. A violation of this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(3) Every law enforcement officer is authorized to assist employees of the department in the enforcement of this section. Every law enforcement officer is authorized to stop and detain any vehicle and its driver if the driver has failed to comply with this section until an employee of the department arrives to conduct the inspection required or permitted by law. The law enforcement officer may require the driver to return with the vehicle to the agricultural inspection station where the driver failed to stop the vehicle for inspection.

(4) No civil or criminal liability shall be imposed upon any person who is authorized to enforce or assist in enforcement of the provisions of this section and who is lawfully engaged in such activity.

(5) The department shall establish by rule conditions and criteria by which nonagricultural laden vehicles may pass an agricultural inspection station without stopping for inspection.