City of Fitchburg, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Fitchburg as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Peace and good order — See Ch. 132.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 169.
Wrecked and abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 172.
[Adopted 12-6-2005 by Ord. No. 335-05]
Any motor vehicle used in the violation of any of the provisions of Chapter 272, § 53A, of the Massachusetts General Laws, or otherwise involving or relating to violations of engaging in sexual conduct for a fee, paying or agreeing to pay any person a fee to engage in sexual conduct, procuring a person to engage in sex for a fee, or otherwise violating any provision of the Massachusetts General Laws governing so-called prostitution, streetwalking or other such offenses shall be subject to seizure and impoundment under this article. The owner of record of such a vehicle shall be liable to the City for an administrative penalty in the sum of $300 in addition to fees for towing and storage of the vehicle and the costs of any administrative hearing held pursuant to this article.
Whenever a police office has probable cause to believe that a vehicle is subject to seizure and impoundment pursuant to this article, the police officer shall provide for the towing of the vehicle to a facility controlled by the City or its agents. When the vehicle is towed, the police officer shall notify the person who is found to be in control of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation, if there is such a person, of the fact of the seizure and of the vehicle owner's rights as set forth below.
Within 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, of the seizure and impoundment of a vehicle pursuant to this section, the Police Department shall notify the record owner of the vehicle that such vehicle has been seized and impounded, the reasons therefor, the date, time and place of the violation and the owner's right to request a hearing. The notice shall advise the owner that a request for such a hearing must be made in writing within 10 days. The notice shall also include a list of the charges for towing and storage, shall notify the owner of the administrative fine of $300, and that costs may be assessed. The correctness of the specified information contained in the notice shall be certified thereon by an authorized official of the Police Department.
Any record owner who requests a hearing pursuant to this section shall be afforded such a hearing within seven days of the City's receipt of the request, or such later date as may be requested by the owner.
A. 
A hearing pursuant to this section shall be conducted by a hearing officer and shall afford the owner the opportunity to present witnesses, documents and any other relevant evidence. Such hearings shall not be subject to the strict rules of evidence applicable to court proceedings, but may be conducted in the nature of an administrative hearing. Evidence, including hearsay, may be admitted only if it is a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. In addition, the following rules shall apply:
(1) 
The hearing officer may grant continuances only for good cause;
(2) 
The Police Department shall be notified of any and all hearings and continuances thereof;
(3) 
An attorney who appears on behalf of any person shall file a written notice of appearance with the administrative hearing officer;
(4) 
No violation may be established except upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence, however, a violation notice, or copy thereof, issued and signed in accordance with § 170-3 above, shall be prima face evidence of the correctness of the facts specified therein;
(5) 
The hearing officer shall make a record of all hearings which shall include: a record of the testimony presented at the hearing, which may be made by tape recording or other appropriate means, all documents presented at the hearing, a copy of the notice to the owner and any other notices relevant to the proceeding and a copy of the final determination or otherwise a record of the final disposition of the matter.
B. 
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a final determination of liability or no liability. Upon issuing such final determination, the hearing officer may impose the fine and costs as set forth in this section, issue orders consistent with this section and/or assess costs reasonably related to instituting and conducting the administrative hearing. In the issuance of the final determination of liability, the hearing officer shall inform the owner of his or her right to seek judicial review of the final determination.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Nothing in this article is intended to conflict with any applicable state or federal law governing the forfeiture of vehicles seized or impounded in connection with violations of the General Laws as they relate to such crimes. To the extent that this article does so conflict, the state or federal law shall govern.
[Adopted 12-6-2005 by Ord. No. 336-05]
Any motor vehicle used in the violation of any of the provisions of Chapter 94C, §§ 32, 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 32E, 32F, 32G, 32J or 40 of the Massachusetts General Laws or otherwise involving possession of a controlled substance, purchases of a controlled substance, or the distribution of a controlled substance shall be subject to seizure and impoundment under this article. The owner of record of such a vehicle shall be liable to the City for an administrative penalty in the sum of $300 in addition to fees for towing and storage of the vehicle and the costs of any administrative hearing held pursuant to this article.
Whenever a police officer has probable cause to believe that a vehicle is subject to seizure and impoundment pursuant to this article, the police officer shall provide for the towing of the vehicle to a facility controlled by the City or its agents. When the vehicle is towed, the police officer shall notify the person who is found to be in control of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation, if there is such a person, of the fact of the seizure and of the vehicle owner's rights as set forth below.
Within 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, of the seizure and impoundment of a vehicle pursuant to this section, the Police Department shall notify the record owner of the vehicle that such vehicle has been seized and impounded, the reasons therefor, the date, time and place of the violation and the owner's right to request a hearing. The notice shall advise the owner that a request for such a hearing must be made in writing within 10 days. The notice shall also include a list of the charges for towing and storage, shall notify the owner of the administrative fine of $300, and that costs may be assessed. The correctness of the specified information contained in the notice shall be certified thereon by an authorized official of the Police Department.
Any record owner who requests a hearing pursuant to this section shall be afforded such a hearing within seven days of the City's receipt of the request, or such later date as may be requested by the owner.
A. 
A hearing pursuant to this section shall be conducted by a hearing officer and shall afford the owner the opportunity to present witnesses, documents and any other relevant evidence. Such hearings shall not be subject to the strict rules of evidence applicable to court proceedings, but may be conducted in the nature of an administrative hearing. Evidence, including hearsay, may be admitted only if it is a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. In addition, the following rules shall apply:
(1) 
The hearing officer may grant continuances only for good cause;
(2) 
The Police Department shall be notified of any and all hearings and continuances thereof;
(3) 
An attorney who appears on behalf of any person shall file a written notice of appearance with the administrative hearing officer;
(4) 
No violation may be established except upon proof by a preponderance of the evidence, however, a violation notice, or copy thereof, issued and signed in accordance with Section above, shall be prima face evidence of the correctness of the facts specified therein;
(5) 
The hearing officer shall make a record of all hearings which shall include: a record of the testimony presented at the hearing, which may be made by tape recording or other appropriate means, all documents presented at the hearing, a copy of the notice to the owner and any other notices relevant to the proceeding and a copy of the final determination or otherwise a record of the final disposition of the matter.
B. 
Upon conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a final determination of liability or no liability. Upon issuing such final determination, the hearing officer may impose the fine and costs as set forth in this section, issue orders consistent with this section and/or assess costs reasonably related to instituting and conducting the administrative hearing. In the issuance of the final determination of liability, the hearing officer shall inform the owner of his or her right to seek judicial review of the final determination.
[Amended 6-3-2014 by Ord. No. 100-2014]
Nothing in this article is intended to conflict with any applicable state or federal law governing the forfeiture of vehicles seized or impounded in connection with violations of the General Laws as they relate to controlled substances. To the extent that this article does so conflict, the state or federal law shall govern.