Originally Posted by Rustic Charm
The USCG guide was really helpful in answering my initial question. It would appear that the maximum 'ticket' or as they call it a 'notice of violation' an NOV is $10 000. Beyond this amount the USCG cannot issue a NOV. so I presume they would then proceed by summons.
We are getting to details somewhat beyond my immediate knowledge here, but I believe the ranking of procedures above this is class I administrative civil penalty (which may have a $25,000 cap), class II administrative civil penalties (which may have a $25,000/day cap for first offense and $75,000/ day for additional offenses), and finally Judicial assessment where the cap is the maximum under the law.
Both the class I and II administrative procedures would still look to you (the violator) like "fines". . . . The main difference is the internal USCG procedure is more complex and time consuming.
That specific manual says . . . . . "Commands retain the discretion to not issue a NOV for any offense(s) for which a NOV is authorized if they believe the Coast Guard’s enforcement goals would be better served by pursuing a Class I Administrative Civil Penalty."
And specifically related to this thread . . . you might note that Encl. (5) is "Notice of Violations Guidance for Unauthorized Entry into Cuban Territorial Waters". It lists both 'Proposed Penalty Amount' (up to $10k) and 'Maximum Penalty amounts' (up to $25k), and does not mention the most aggravated offense with the higher maximum penalty in law (Knowing failure to comply) so I presume that goes straight to either the Class I or II procedures. This later offense seemed to be what the USCG was pursuing against the boat in the OP - because there was clear reason to believe the boat had been fully informed of the correct and legal
requirements/procedures and then ignored them.
Finally, note that all the procedure we are specifically discussing here are at the decision/discretion of the USCG/administration. They can change it, it ignore it - most all the procedures have a "command can do something else if it better achieves our goals" clause. The law, which has the maximum penilities written into it is carved in stone and can not be changed without congress, but the implementation is left to the agency. This is where we are in a muddle with the Cuba
law . . . As congress, the president, and parts
of the USCG all have different objectives currently. The law's intent is one thing, the president would like it implemented to achieve another thing, and USCG on the ground seem to be implementing it for a third objective.