Penalties and Remedies

Section 676:17

    676:17 Fines and Penalties; Second Offense. –
I. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this title, or any local ordinance, code, or regulation adopted under this title, or any provision or specification of any application, plat, or plan approved by, or any requirement or condition of a permit or decision issued by, any local administrator or land use board acting under the authority of this title shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person; and shall be subject to a civil penalty of $275 for the first offense, and $550 for subsequent offenses, for each day that such violation is found to continue after the conviction date or after the date on which the violator receives written notice from the municipality that the violator is in violation, whichever is earlier. Each day that a violation continues shall be a separate offense.
II. In any legal action brought by a municipality to enforce, by way of injunctive relief as provided by RSA 676:15 or otherwise, any local ordinance, code or regulation adopted under this title, or to enforce any planning board, zoning board of adjustment or building code board of appeals decision made pursuant to this title, or to seek the payment of any fine levied under paragraph I, the municipality shall recover its costs and reasonable attorney's fees actually expended in pursuing the legal action if it is found to be a prevailing party in the action. For the purposes of this paragraph, recoverable costs shall include all out-of-pocket expenses actually incurred, including but not limited to, inspection fees, expert fees and investigatory expenses.
III. If any violation of a local ordinance, code or regulation, or any violation of a planning board, zoning board of adjustment or building code board of appeals decision, results in the expenditure of public funds by a municipality which are not reimbursed under paragraph II, the court in its discretion may order, as an additional civil penalty, that a violator make restitution to the municipality for such funds so expended.
IV. The superior court may, upon a petition filed by a municipality and after notice and a preliminary hearing as in the case of prejudgment attachments under RSA 511-A, require an alleged violator to post a bond with the court to secure payment of any penalty or remedy or the performance of any injunctive relief which may be ordered or both. At the hearing, the burden shall be on the municipality to show that there is a strong likelihood that it will prevail on the merits, that the penalties or remedies sought are reasonably likely to be awarded by the court in an amount consistent with the bond sought, and that the bond represents the amount of the projected expense of compliance with the injunctive relief sought.
V. The building inspector or other local official with the authority to enforce the provisions of this title or any local ordinance, code, or regulation adopted under this title may commence an action under paragraph I either in the district court pursuant to RSA 502-A:11-a, or in the superior court. The prosecuting official in the official's discretion may, prior to or at the time of arraignment, charge the offense as a violation, and in such cases the penalties to be imposed by the court shall be limited to those provided for a violation under RSA 651:2 and the civil penalty provided in subparagraph I(b) of this section. The provisions of this section shall supersede any inconsistent local penalty provision.

Source. 1983, 447:1. 1985, 103:25; 210:4. 1988, 19:6, 7. 1996, 226:5, 6. 1997, 92:4, 5. 2004, 242:1. 2006, 101:1. 2009, 173:1, eff. Sept. 11, 2009.