[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Crisfield 3-9-1994 as Ord. No. 478. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 10, Infractions, Municipal, adopted 4-11-1979 as Ord. No. 322, as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any violation of this Code, including a violation of Chapter 112, relating to zoning and land use, unless such violation is specifically declared to be a felony or a misdemeanor by law or ordinance. For purpose of this Code, an "infraction" is a civil offense, is not a criminal conviction for any purpose nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by criminal conviction.
- 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. A violation of any law of the City of Crisfield specifically declared to be such. Unless otherwise specified, a "misdemeanor" shall be punishable as provided in § C12-4A of the Charter.
A fine not to exceed $1,000 may be imposed for each violation of a municipal infraction. The fine is payable by the recipient of the citation to the municipality within 20 calendar days of receipt of the citation.
The City Housing Inspector and other officials authorized by the Council to enforce its ordinances may serve a citation on any person:
The citation shall be served on the defendant:
In accordance with Rule 3-121 of the Maryland Rules; or
For real property related violations, if proof is made by affidavit that good-faith efforts to serve the defendant under Rule 3-121(a) of the Maryland Rules have not succeeded, by:
The citation shall contain:
The name and address of the person charged;
The nature of the infraction;
The location where and time when the infraction occurred;
The amount of the infraction fine assessed;
The manner, location and time in which the fine may be paid to the city;
The right of the person receiving the citation to stand trial for the infraction; and
The effect of failing to pay the assessed fine or failing to demand a trial within the prescribed time.
The enforcement officer shall retain a copy of the citation.
If a citation is served without a summons as provided in § 10-6 of this chapter, below, the person charged in the citation may elect to stand trial for the infraction by notifying the city in writing of the person's intent to stand trial. The written notice shall be given at least five days prior to the date of payment as set forth in the citation.
Upon receipt of the written notice of the intent to stand trial, the city shall forward to the District Court having venue a copy of the citation and the written notice.
Upon receipt of the citation and the written notice, the District Court shall schedule the case for trial and notify the defendant of the trial date.
If a person charged in a citation fails to pay the fine by the date of payment set forth on the citation and fails to deliver to the city the written notice of intent to stand trial, the person is liable for the assessed fine.
The city may double the fine to an amount not to exceed $1,000 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 of judgment against the defendant and in favor of the city in the amount then due if a proper demand for judgment on affidavit has been made.
An enforcement officer may also serve a summons with a citation that requires the person to appear in District Court on a specified date and time.
The summons shall specify that the person is not required to appear in District Court if the fine is paid as provided in the citation.
If approved by the Chief Judge of the Maryland District Court, the citation form may contain the summons.
The enforcement officer shall coordinate the selection of court dates with the appropriate District Court officials.
If the defendant fails to pay the fine as provided in the citation and fails to appear in District Court as provided in the summons:
If any person shall be found by the District Court to have committed a municipal infraction:
The District Court shall order the person to pay the fine, including any doubling of the fine, not to exceed the limits set forth, above;
The fines imposed shall constitute a judgment in favor of the city; and
If the fine remains unpaid for 30 days following the date of its entry, the judgment shall be enforceable in the same manner and to the same extent as other civil judgments for money unless the court has suspended or deferred the payment of the fine as provided under Subsection B of this section.
The District Court may suspend or defer the payment of any fine under conditions the court sets.
The person shall be liable for the cost of the proceedings in the District Court.
The court may order the person to abate the infraction or enter an order permitting the city to abate any such infraction at the person's expense.
If the city abates an infraction pursuant to an order of the District Court, the city shall present the defendant with a bill for the cost of abatement by:
If the defendant does not pay the bill within 30 days after presentment, upon a motion by the city, the District Court shall enter a judgment against the defendant for the cost of the abatement.
All fines, penalties or forfeitures collected by the District Court for a municipal infraction shall be remitted to the City General Fund.
If a defendant fails to pay any fine or cost imposed by the District Court without good cause, the District Court may punish the failure as contempt of court.
Adjudication of a municipal infraction, as defined in § 10-1 of this chapter, is not a criminal conviction for any purpose, nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a criminal conviction.
In any proceeding for a municipal infraction:
It shall be the burden of the city to prove that the defendant has committed the infraction by clear and convincing evidence, and in any such proceeding the District Court shall apply the evidentiary standards as prescribed by law or rule for the trial of civil causes.
The District Court shall ensure that the defendant has received a copy of the charges against the defendant and that the defendant understands those charges.
The defendant shall be entitled to cross-examine all witnesses who appear against the defendant, to produce evidence or witnesses in the defendant's own behalf or to testify in the defendant's own behalf, if the defendant elects to do so.
The defendant shall be entitled to be represented by counsel of the defendant's own selection and at the defendant's own expense.
The defendant may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty of the infraction as charged, and the verdict of the District Court shall be guilty of a municipal infraction or not guilty of a municipal infraction, or the District Court may, before entering judgment, place the defendant on probation.
The court costs in a municipal infraction proceeding in which costs are imposed are $5; a defendant may not be liable for payment to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund.
The State's Attorney for Somerset County is authorized to prosecute a municipal infraction and is authorized to enter a nolle prosequi in such cases or to place such cases in the stet docket.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the city may designate an attorney to prosecute any municipal infraction in the same manner as the State's Attorney for Somerset County.