Town of Bel Air, MD
Harford County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-11-1980 by Ord. No. 310 as Ch. 14, Art. 7 of the 1980 Code]
Unless otherwise provided herein, any person found guilty of violating any provision of this Code, or violating an ordinance or resolution of the Town of Bel Air, which violation is a misdemeanor as defined herein, shall be subject to a penalty adopted by resolution of the Board of Town Commissioners after a public hearing. Each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
Any person found guilty of violating a provision of this Code, which violation is a municipal infraction as declared herein, shall be subject to a fine adopted by resolution of the Board of Town Commissioners after a public hearing. The fine shall be paid by the offender to the Town within 20 calendar days of receipt of a citation. Each day a violation continues shall, unless otherwise provided in this Code, constitute a separate or repeat offense.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
(1) 
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
(2) 
Unless otherwise specified, a violation of any law of this Town. All violations of this Code shall be treated as misdemeanors unless specifically declared to be municipal infractions.
MUNICIPAL INFRACTION
Any violation of this Code, which violation has been specifically declared to be a municipal infraction. For purposes of this Code, a municipal infraction is a civil offense.
B. 
Declaration of infractions; fine. The Board of Town Commissioners shall set forth specifically the ordinances and resolutions the violation of which shall be classified as a municipal infraction and for each such municipal infraction shall set forth a specific fine. The fine set forth for a municipal infraction shall never exceed the maximum fine authorized by state law for each single violation. The fine shall be expressed as a discrete and exact amount rather than being expressed in terms of a maximum or minimum amount. The authority to declare municipal infractions and set fines shall not be delegated by the Board of Town Commissioners to any other administrative or legislative body.
[Amended 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 715-08]
C. 
Issuance of citation. Those officials authorized by the Board of Town Commissioners to enforce this Code shall deliver a citation to any person alleged to be committing a municipal infraction under this Code. The citation shall conform to the standard State of Maryland Uniform Criminal/Civil Citation Form. 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 matters set forth in the citation. The citation shall contain at a minimum the following information:
[Amended 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 715-08]
(1) 
Name and address of the person charged and in the case of a parking citation the license number of the vehicle in violation;
(2) 
The nature of the municipal infraction;
(3) 
The time and location the municipal infraction is alleged to have occurred;
(4) 
The amount of the municipal infraction fine assessed;
(5) 
The manner, location, and time in which the fine may be paid to the Town;
(6) 
The right of the accused to stand trial for the infraction; and
(7) 
The effect of failure by the accused to pay the assessed fine or to file a demand for trial within the prescribed time shown on the citation.
D. 
Payment of fine. The fine for a municipal infraction shall be as set by the Board of Town Commissioners. The fine is payable by the recipient of a citation to the Town of Bel Air within the 20 calendar days of receipt of the citation.
[Amended 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 715-08]
E. 
No formal hearing by Town. The Town shall not conduct any formal hearing for those persons in receipt of a citation for a municipal 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 an offender from requesting, either personally or through an attorney, additional information concerning the municipal infraction.
F. 
Election to stand trial. A person receiving the citation for a municipal infraction may elect to stand trial for the offense by notifying the Town in writing of his intention to stand 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 intention to stand trial, the Town shall forward to the District Court of Maryland in Harford County 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 municipal infractions shall be remitted to the general fund of the Town.
G. 
Failure to pay fine. If a person receiving a citation for a municipal infraction fails to pay the fine for the municipal 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 set forth by the Board of Town Commissioners if the Board so specifies; in no event may a fine which is doubled exceed the maximum fine authorized by state law. The Town of Bel Air may request adjudication of the case through the District Court of Maryland, including the filing of a demand for judgment on affidavit. The District Court shall promptly schedule the case for trial and summon the defendant to appear. The defendant's failure to respond to such summons shall result in the entry of judgment against the defendant in favor the Town of Bel Air in the amount then due if a proper demand for judgment on affidavit has been filed.
[Amended 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 715-08]
H. 
Action by District Court. If the District Court of Maryland shall find any person to have committed a municipal infraction:
(1) 
The person shall be required to pay the fine determined by the District Court, not to exceed the limit set forth under state law;
(2) 
The person shall be liable for costs of the proceeding in the District Court; and
(3) 
The Court may permit the Town of Bel Air to abate any such condition at the person's expense.
I. 
Effect of infraction. Adjudication of a municipal infraction as defined in § 3(b)(1) of Article 23A of the Annotated Code of Maryland is not a criminal conviction for any purpose nor does it impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by a criminal conviction.
J. 
General provisions. In any proceeding for a municipal infraction:
(1) 
It shall be the burden of the state to prove the guilt of the defendant to the same extent as is required by law in the trial of criminal causes, and in any such proceeding the Court shall apply the evidentiary standards as prescribed by law or rule for the trial of criminal causes.
(2) 
The Court shall ensure that the defendant has received a copy of the charges against him and that he understands those charges. In such proceedings, the defendant shall be entitled to cross-examine all witnesses who appear against him, to produce evidence or witnesses in his own behalf, or to testify in his own behalf, if he elects to do so.
(3) 
A defendant shall be entitled to be represented by counsel of his own selection and at his own expense.
(4) 
A defendant may enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and the verdict of the Court in such case shall be guilty of a municipal infraction or not guilty of a municipal infraction, or the Court may, before rendering judgment, place the defendant on probation, in the same manner and to the same extent as is permitted by law in the trial of a criminal case.
K. 
Court costs. The Court costs in a municipal infraction case in which costs are imposed are $5. A defendant shall not be liable for payment to the criminal injury compensation fund.
L. 
Suspension of fine; contempt of Court. When a defendant has been found guilty of a municipal infraction and a fine has been imposed by the Court, the Court may, at its discretion, direct that the payment of said fine be suspended or deferred under such conditions as the Court may establish. Whenever any defendant has been found guilty of a municipal infraction and willfully fails to pay the fine imposed by the Court, that willful failure may be treated as a criminal contempt of Court for which the defendant may be punished by the Court as is provided by law in such cases.
M. 
Court proceedings and rights of accused. In any proceeding concerning a municipal infraction, it shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article 23A, § 3(b) of the Annotated Code of Maryland and the accused shall have those rights as therein set forth.