State law references: Revised Municipal Finance Act, MCL 141.2101 et seq.; Uniform Budget and Accounting Act, MCL 141.421 et seq.; keeping of public moneys, MCL 129.11 et seq.; deposit of public moneys, MCL 211.43b.
State law references: Municipal civil infractions, MCL 600.8701 et seq.; authority to make ordinance violations municipal civil infractions, MCL 42.21.
[Code 1974, §§ 124-2, 125-3; Ord. No. 2010-06, 4-11-2010]
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- AUTHORIZED TOWNSHIP OFFICIAL
- The Township Manager, Chief Building Inspector, building inspectors, rental housing inspectors, code enforcement officers, Township police officers, Township fire inspectors, chief engineer, project engineers, engineering technicians, facilities superintendent, park rangers or other personnel of the Township authorized by this Code to issue municipal civil infraction citations or municipal civil infraction violation notices.
- The Charter Township of Meridian Municipal Ordinance Violations Bureau as established by this Code.
- MUNICIPAL CIVIL INFRACTION
- An act or omission that is prohibited by this Code, but which is not a crime under this Code, and for which civil sanctions including without limitation, fines, damages, expenses, and costs may be ordered, as authorized by Chapter 87 of Public Act No. 236 of 1961 (MCL § 600.8701 et seq.). A municipal civil infraction is not a lesser included offense of a violation of this Code that is a criminal offense.
- MUNICIPAL CIVIL INFRACTION ACTION
- A civil action in which the defendant is alleged to be responsible for a municipal civil infraction.
- MUNICIPAL CIVIL INFRACTION CITATION
- A written complaint or notice prepared by an authorized Township official directing a person to appear in court regarding the occurrence or existence of a municipal civil infraction violation by the person cited.
- MUNICIPAL CIVIL INFRACTION VIOLATION NOTICE
- A written notice prepared by an authorized Township official directing a person to appear at the Township's municipal ordinance violations bureau and to pay the fine and costs, if any, prescribed for the violation by the schedule of civil fines adopted by the Township Board, as authorized under §§ 8396 and 8707 of Public Act No. 236 of 1961 (MCL § 600.8396, 600.8707).
- An act which is prohibited and made or declared to be a municipal civil infraction by this Code, including any omission or failure to act where the act is required by this Code.
[Code 1974, § 124-3]
A municipal civil infraction action may be commenced upon the issuance by an authorized Township official of a municipal civil infraction citation directing the alleged violator to appear in court or a municipal civil infraction violation notice directing the alleged violator to appear at the Township municipal ordinances violations bureau pursuant to Division 2 of this article.
[Code 1974, § 124-4]
Municipal civil infraction citations shall be issued and served by authorized Township officials as follows:
The time for appearance specified in a citation shall be within 10 days after the citation is issued.
The place for appearance specified in a citation shall be the district court.
Each citation shall be numbered consecutively and shall be in a form approved by the state court administrator. The original citation shall be filed with the district court. Copies of the citation shall be retained by the Township and issued to the alleged violator as provided by § 8705 of the Revised Judicature Act of 1961 (MCL § 600.8705).
A citation for a municipal civil infraction signed by an authorized Township official shall be treated as made under oath if the violation alleged in the citation occurred in the presence of the official signing of the complaint and if the citation contains the following statement immediately above the date and signature of the official:
"I declare under the penalties of perjury that the statements above are true to the best of my information, knowledge, and belief."
An authorized Township official who witnesses a person commit a municipal civil infraction shall prepare and subscribe, as soon as possible and as completely as possible, an original and required copies of a citation.
An authorized Township official may issue a citation to a person if:
Based upon investigation, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the person is responsible for a municipal civil infraction; or
Based upon investigation of a complaint by someone who allegedly witnessed the person commit a municipal civil infraction, the official has reasonable cause to believe that the person is responsible for an infraction and if the Township Attorney approved in writing the issuance of the citation.
Municipal civil infraction citations shall be served by an authorized Township official as follows:
Except as provided by subsection (7)b of this section, an authorized Township official shall personally serve a copy of the citation upon the alleged violator.
If the municipal civil infraction action involves the use or occupancy of land, a building, or other structure, a copy of the citation does not need to be personally served upon the alleged violator, but may be served on an owner or occupant of the land, building, or structure by posting the copy on the land or attaching the copy to the building or structure. In addition, a copy of the citation shall be sent by first-class mail to the owner of the land, building, or structure at the owner's last known address.
[Code 1974, § 124-5]
A municipal ordinance citation shall contain the name and address of the alleged violator, the municipal civil infraction alleged, the place where the alleged violator shall appear in court, the telephone number of the court, and the time at or by which the appearance shall be made.
Further, the citation shall inform the alleged violator that he or she may do one of the following:
Admit responsibility for the municipal civil infraction by mail, in person, or by representation, at or by the time specified for appearance.
Admit responsibility for the municipal civil infraction "with explanation" by mail, by the time specified for appearance or, in person, or by representation.
Deny responsibility for the municipal civil infraction by doing either of the following:
Appearing in person for an informal hearing before a judge or district court magistrate without the opportunity of being represented by an attorney, unless a formal hearing before a judge is requested by the Township.
Appearing in court for a formal hearing before a judge with the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.
The citation shall also inform the alleged violator of all of the following:
That if the alleged violator desires to admit responsibility "with explanation" in person, by mail, by telephone, or by representation, the alleged violator must apply to the court in person, by mail, by telephone, or by representation within the time specified for appearance and obtain a scheduled date and time for an appearance.
That if the alleged violator desires to deny responsibility, the alleged violator must apply to the court in person, by mail, by telephone, or by representation within the time specified for appearance and obtain a scheduled date and time to appear for a hearing, unless a hearing date is specified on the citation.
That a hearing shall be an informal hearing unless a formal hearing is requested by the alleged violator or the Township.
That, at an informal hearing, the alleged violator must appear in person before a judge or district court magistrate without the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.
That, at a formal hearing, the alleged violator must appear in person before a judge with the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.
The citation shall contain a notice in boldface type that the failure of the alleged violator to appear within the time specified in the citation or at the time scheduled for a hearing or appearance is a misdemeanor and will result in the entry of a default judgement against the alleged violator on the municipal civil infraction.
[Code 1974, § 125-2]
The Township hereby establishes a municipal ordinance violations bureau ("bureau") as authorized under the Revised Judicature Act of 1961 (MCL § 600.8396) to accept admissions of responsibility for municipal civil infractions in response to municipal civil infraction violation notices issued and served by authorized Township officials and to collect and retain civil fines and cost as prescribed by this Code or any ordinance.
[Code 1974, § 125-3]
The bureau shall be located at the Township municipal building and shall be under the supervision and control of the bureau clerk. The bureau clerk, subject to the approval of the Township Board, shall adopt rules and regulations for the operation of the bureau and appoint any necessary qualified Township employees to administer the bureau. All personnel of the bureau shall be employees of the Township.
[Code 1974, § 125-4]
The bureau may dispose only of municipal civil infraction violations for which a fine has been scheduled and for which a municipal civil infraction violation notice (as compared with a citation) has been issued. The fact that a fine has been scheduled for a particular violation shall not entitle any person to dispose of the violation at the bureau. Nothing in this Code shall prevent or restrict the Township from issuing a municipal civil infraction citation for any violation or from prosecuting any violation in a court of competent jurisdiction. No person shall be required to dispose of a municipal civil infraction violation at the bureau and may have the violation processed before a court of appropriate jurisdiction. The unwillingness of any person to dispose of any violation at the bureau shall not prejudice the person or in any way diminish the person's rights, privileges, and protection accorded by law.
[Code 1974, § 125-5]
The scope of the bureau's authority shall be limited to accepting admissions of responsibility for municipal civil infractions and collecting and retaining civil fines and costs as a result of those admissions. The bureau shall not accept payment of a fine from any person who denies having committed the offense or who admits responsibility only with explanation, and in no event shall the bureau determine, or attempt to determine, the truth or falsity of any fact or matter relating to an alleged violation.
[Code 1974, § 125-6]
Municipal civil infraction violation notices shall be issued and served by authorized Township officials under the same circumstances and upon the same persons as provided for citations in subsections 2-108(6) and (7) of this chapter. In addition to any other information required by this Code or other ordinance, the notice of violation shall indicate the violation, the time by which the alleged violator must appear at the bureau for the purposes of admitting or denying responsibility for the violation, the methods by which an appearance may be made, the address and telephone number of the bureau, the days and hours during which the bureau is open, the amount of the fines/costs scheduled for the alleged violation, and the consequences for failure to appear and pay the required fines/costs within the required time.
[Code 1974, § 125-7]
Nothing in this division shall be deemed to require the Township to initiate its municipal civil infraction ordinance enforcement activity through the issuance of an ordinance violations notice. As to each ordinance designated as a municipal civil infraction, the Township may, at its sole discretion, proceed directly with the issuance of municipal civil infraction citation or take such other enforcement action as authorized by law.
[Code 1974, § 125-8]
The bureau clerk or other designated Township official or employee shall retain a copy of all municipal ordinance violations notices and shall account to the Township Board once a month or at such other intervals as the Township Board may require concerning the number of admission and denials of responsibility for ordinances violations within the jurisdiction of the bureau and the amount of fines or costs collected with respect to such violations. The civil fines or costs collected shall be delivered to the Township Treasurer at such intervals as the treasurer shall require, and shall be deposited in the general fund of the Township.
[Code 1974, § 125-9]
An alleged violator receiving a municipal civil infraction violation notice shall appear at the bureau and pay the specified fine and costs at or by the time specified for appearance in the municipal civil infraction violation notice. An appearance may be made by mail, in person, or by representation.
[Code 1974, § 125-10]
If an authorized Township official issues and serves a municipal ordinance violation notice and if an admission of responsibility is not made and civil fine and costs, if any, prescribed by the schedule of fines for the violation are not paid at the bureau, a municipal civil infraction citation may be filed with the district court and a copy of the citation may be served by first-class mail upon the alleged violator at the alleged violators last known address. The citation filed with the court does not need to comply in all particulars with the requirements for citations as provided by §§ 8705 and 8709 of Public Act No. 236 of 1961 (MCL § 600.8705, 600.8709), but shall consist of a sworn complaint containing the allegations stated in the municipal ordinance violation notice and shall fairly inform the alleged violator how to respond to the citation. The citation shall thereafter be processed in the manner required by law.