Town of Denton, MD
Caroline County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Commissioners (now Town Council) of the Town of Denton 5-5-1986 by Ord. No. 219. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Misdemeanors and infractions — See Charter, § C4-3.

§ 20-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
INFRACTION
Any violation of any ordinance of the Town of Denton, which violation has been specifically declared to be an "infraction." For purposes of this chapter, an "infraction" is a civil offense.
A. 
A criminal offense, not amounting to a felony, arising from a violation of a law of the state, which violation is defined as a "misdemeanor"; or
B. 
Unless otherwise specified, a violation of any ordinance of the Town of Denton. All violations of these ordinances shall be treated as "misdemeanors" unless specifically declared to be infractions.

§ 20-2 General penalty; continuing violations; declaration as infraction; civil penalties.

[Amended 2-3-1992 by Ord. No. 291; 2-5-1996 by Ord. No. 346; 5-1-2006 by Ord. No. 509]
A. 
Unless otherwise specifically provided by this Code or Town ordinance, whenever this Code or any ordinance of the Town shall declare that any act or failure to act is a misdemeanor or is declared unlawful, and is not specifically declared to be an infraction, the violation of any such provision shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment in the County jail for not more than 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. Where this Code or any ordinance sets forth a specific fine for a particular misdemeanor, that fine shall apply. Each day any violation of this Code or of any ordinance shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
The Council of Denton shall by official act declare the violation of which ordinance or ordinances shall be an infraction or infractions, and for each such violation a fine shall be set. This fine shall never exceed the maximum allowable fine for each municipal infraction as prescribed in Article 23A, § 3, of the Maryland Annotated Code. Unless this Code or any ordinance of the Town sets forth a different fine amount for the particular infraction, the penalty for the first infraction shall be $100, and up to $200 for the second violation. Where this Code or any ordinance sets forth a specific fine for a particular municipal infraction, that fine amount shall apply. Each day that such violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.

§ 20-3 Issuance of citation.

[Amended 2-3-1992 by Ord. No. 291]
Those Code enforcement officials authorized by the Town Council of Denton to enforce these ordinances may deliver a citation to any person alleged to be committing an infraction. A copy of the citation shall be retained by the Town and shall bear the certification of the enforcing official attesting to the truth of the matter set forth in the citation. The citation shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:
A. 
The name and address of the person charged.
B. 
The nature of the infraction.
C. 
The location and time that the infraction occurred or was observed.
D. 
The amount of the infraction fine assessed.
E. 
The manner, location and time in which the fine may be paid to the Town.
F. 
The right of the accused to stand trial for the infraction.
G. 
The effect of failing to pay the assessed fine or demand a trail within the prescribed time.

§ 20-4 Payment of fine.

The fine for the infraction shall be as specified in the ordinance violated. The fine is payable by the recipient of the citation to the Town within 20 calendar days of receipt of the citation.

§ 20-5 Formal hearings not to be conducted by Town; additional information to be provided.

The Town shall not conduct any formal hearing for those persons in receipt of a citation of infraction. Any offender so cited may pay the fine as indicated in the citation or elect to stand trial for the offense. This provision shall not prevent any offender from requesting, either personally or through an attorney, additional information concerning the infraction.

§ 20-6 Election to stand trial.

A person receiving the citation for an infraction may elect to stand trial for the offense by notifying the Town in writing of his intention of standing trial. The notice shall be given at least five days prior to the date of payment as set forth in the citation. Upon receipt of the notice of the intention to stand trial, the Town shall forward to the District Court having venue a copy of the notice from the person who received the citation indicating his intention to stand trial. Upon receipt of the citation, the District Court shall schedule the case for trial and notify the defendant of the trial date. All fines, penalties or forfeitures collected by the District Court for violations of infractions shall be remitted to the general fund of the Town.

§ 20-7 Failure to pay fine.

[Amended 2-3-1992 by Ord. No. 291]
If a person receiving a citation for an infraction fails to pay the fine for the infraction by the date of payment set forth on the citation and fails to file a notice of his intention to stand trial for the offense, the person is liable for the assessed fine. The Town may double the fine to an amount not to exceed $400 and request adjudication of the case through the District Court, including the filing of a demand for judgment on affidavit. The District Court shall promptly schedule the case for trial and summons the defendant to appear. The defendant's failure to respond to such summons shall result in the entry or judgment against the defendant in favor of the Town in the amount then due if a proper demand for judgment on affidavit has been filed.

§ 20-8 Conviction not a criminal offense.

Conviction of a municipal infraction, whether by the District Court or by payment of the fine to the Town, is not a criminal conviction for any purpose, nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a criminal conviction.

§ 20-9 Court proceedings and rights of the accused.

In any proceeding for a municipal infraction, the accused shall have the same rights for the trial of criminal cases. He shall have the right to cross-examine witnesses against him, to testify or introduce evidence in his own behalf and to be represented by an attorney of his own selection and at his own expense.

§ 20-10 Authority to waive fine not imposed by court

The Town Council of Denton only have the privilege to waive any fine contained herein not imposed by any court.

§ 20-11 Designation of enforcement officials.

The Town Council of Denton may by resolution designate those persons who may have the authority in their official capacities to issue citations for municipal infractions of all ordinances which have been specified as those, violations of which are deemed to be municipal infractions.

§ 20-12 Abatement of violation.

[Added 2-3-1992 by Ord. No. 291]
In addition to the fines available hereunder for municipal infractions, the Town may request that the District Court order the defendant to abate the violation, or enter an order permitting the Town to abate the violation which shall be at the defendant's expense.

§ 20-13 Administrative search warrants; right of entry.

[Added 10-6-2008 by Ord. No. 566]
The Town of Denton, or its designated code official, may apply to a judge of the District Court or Circuit Court for Caroline County for an administrative search warrant to enter any premises to conduct any inspection required or authorized by this Code or applicable law.
A. 
The application for an administrative search warrant shall be in writing and sworn to by the applicant and shall particularly describe the place, structure, premises, etc., to be inspected and the nature, scope and purpose of the inspection to be performed by the applicant.
B. 
A judge of a court referred to in this section may issue the warrant based upon in information set forth in Subsection A upon a finding that:
(1) 
The applicant has sought access to the property for the purpose of making an inspection;
(2) 
After requesting, at a reasonable time, that the owner, tenant or other individual in charge of the property allow the applicant access, the applicant has been denied access to the property, or after making a reasonable effort the applicant has been unable to locate any of these individuals;
(3) 
The Town, or its designated code official(s), is authorized by law to make an inspection of the property for which the warrant is sought; and
(4) 
Probable cause for the issuance of the warrant has been demonstrated by the applicant by specific evidence of a public nuisance that affects the health, safety and welfare of the Town's citizens, or that the property to be inspected falls within the Town's inspection process pursuant to the Property Maintenance Code.
C. 
An administrative search warrant issued under this section shall specify the place, structure or premises to be inspected. The inspection conducted may not exceed the limits specified in the warrant.
D. 
An administrative search warrant issued under this section authorizes the applicant and other designated officials or employees of the Town to enter specified property to perform the inspection, sampling and other functions authorized by law to determine compliance with the provisions of the code or other law.
E. 
An administrative search warrant issued under this section shall be executed and returned to the judge by whom it was issued within:
(1) 
The time specified in the warrant, not to exceed 30 days; or
(2) 
If no time period is specified in the warrant, 15 days from the date of its issuance.
F. 
Information obtained in accordance with an administrative search warrant under this section is confidential and may not be disclosed except:
(1) 
To the extent used in an administrative or judicial proceeding that arises out of a violation that relates to the purposes for which the warrant was issued and within the scope of the warrant; or
(2) 
To the owner or occupant of the building or premises.