ORDINANCE NO. 102-15

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ORDINANCE NO.  102-15

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA BY ADDING A NEW SECTION 17.6.1,

REPEALING SUBSECTIONS (2) AND (3) OF SECTION 16-404, AND

AMENDING SECTIONS 16-405 AND 16-406

BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council (the “Council”) of the City of Opelika, Alabama (the “City”) as follows:

Section 1.  That Chapter 17 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Opelika, Alabama, is hereby amended by adding a new Section to be numbered 17.6.1 to read as follows:

Sec. 17.6.1  Administrative Adjudication and Determination of Parking Disputes.

(a)  Adjudication by magistrates. Parking offense disputes shall be administratively adjudicated by magistrates in accordance with state law or rule.

(b) Authority to dismiss charges and impose or waive fines.  After such hearing, the magistrates shall be authorized and shall have the discretion to summarily dismiss any charged parking offense when no probable cause is found for the charge or when reasonable excuse or justification for the offense is shown.  When fines are imposed, the magistrate is authorized to impose only the fines provided in Section 16-404.

(c) Maintenance of ticket list. The court magistrates shall maintain a list of all tickets by number which were summarily dismissed with a brief notation of the reasons for such disposition.  Copies of such list shall be forwarded monthly to the presiding municipal judge.

(d) Proceedings to be informal.  Proceedings before the magistrate shall be conducted informally.  Although due process shall be afforded each person requesting an administrative adjudication, strict rules of evidence shall not apply.

(e)  Appeal of magistrate’s decision.  Any defendant aggrieved by the magistrate’s decision may appeal as provided by state law or rule.

(f)  Prima facie presumption.  The presence of an unattended automobile or other motor vehicle parked in violation of the Code of Ordinances shall raise a prima facia presumption that the registered owner of the automobile or other motor vehicle committed or authorized the parking violation and the burden of proof shall be upon the registered owner to show otherwise.

Section 2. That Subsections (2) and (3) of Section 16-404 of the Code of Ordinances are hereby repealed.  The remaining provisions of Section 16-404 (1) shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 3.  That Section 16-405 of the Code of Ordinances is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 16-405.  Payment of Fine; Adjudication by Magistrate.

(a)  Payment of fine.

Any person who receives a summons and notice stating that a vehicle has been parked in violation of article XIV of this chapter may within fourteen (14) days of the issuance of the summons and notice:

(1)  Appear in person at the office of the municipal court clerk and pay to the clerk or any magistrate the fine stated in Section 16-404; or

(2)  Mail the notice and the amount of the fine stated in Section 16-404 to the municipal court clerk.

The municipal court clerk and court magistrates are authorized to accept fines and adjudicate all parking offenses in cases where the party receiving the citation wishes to pay a fine without a court appearance.  Remittance of the fine stated in Section 16-404 shall constitute a guilty plea and waiver of trial.  There are no court costs for uncontested parking cases, provided the full amount of the fine stated in Section 16-404 is paid within fourteen (14) days of the issuance of the summons and notice.

(b)  Adjudication by Magistrate.

The court magistrates are authorized to administratively process all municipal parking offenses wherein a dispute arises.  Any person who receives a notice of a parking violation may contest the same by submitting a request for an adjudicative hearing, in writing, within fourteen (14) days after receiving the notice.  Upon receipt of a timely request, the municipal court clerk shall notify the person of the date and time of the hearing on adjudication.  The adjudicative hearing shall be held by a municipal court magistrate. Court costs of $25.00 shall be taxed for each contested disposition of a parking offense defined in this article upon conviction.  A person who is found guilty after an administrative hearing shall pay the fine stated in Section 16-404 and costs within fourteen (14) days after the magistrate’s decision.  Within fourteen (14) days from any administrative decision of a contested case, a defendant may appeal such decision to the circuit court for a trial de novo in the same manner as other appeals from the municipal court.  If a person fails to pay the proper fine or pays an insufficient amount, the municipal judge shall issue a supplemental summons in accordance with the provisions of Section 16-406.

Section 4.  Section 16-406 of the Code of Ordinances is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 16-406.  Failure to Comply with Stopping, Standing or Parking Citation.

If a person who receives a notice of parking violation does not appear in response to a citation within a period of fourteen (14) days, the municipal judge shall issue a supplemental summons advising that the defendant will be subject to arrest for contempt for again failing to appear.  If the defendant fails to appear on the supplemental summons, the municipal judge shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant, and if found in contempt, the defendant may be fined $50.00 and placed in jail for up to five (5) days.  If the defendant appears and a fine is imposed at the hearing, but the defendant fails to pay the fine, the municipal judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant under Rule 26.11 of the Alabama Rules for Criminal Procedure.  The municipal judge may reduce the fine to an amount the defendant is able to pay; order the defendant’s employer to withhold payments from wages to pay fines; or, subject to the limitations of Rule 26.11(i), place the defendant in jail until the fine is paid or no longer than one (1) day for each $15.00 of the fine.  As an alternative to Rule 26.11, the municipal judge may issue a warrant for arrest of the defendant for contempt, and, if found in contempt, the defendant may be fined $50.00 and placed in jail for up to five (5) days.

Section 5. Repealer Clause.  All former ordinances or parts thereof conflicting with this Ordinance or the sections hereby adopted are repealed to the extent they are in conflict.  All remaining portions of said Ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 6.   Severability Clause.  If any section, subsection, clause, or portion of this ordinance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of valid jurisdiction, said section shall not effect any other section, subsection, provision, or portion of this Ordinance which is not in or of itself invalid or unconstitutional.

Section 7.    Construction.  If any section, paragraph, sentence or word of this Ordinance or any section hereby adopted are declared for any reason to be invalid, it is the intent of the City Council that it would have passed all other portions of this Ordinance independent of the elimination therefrom of such portion that may be declared invalid.

Section 8. Effective Date.  This ordinance and the section adopted shall become effective and enforced immediately upon its passage and publication as required by law.

Section 9.  Publication.  The City Clerk of the City of Opelika, Alabama is hereby authorized and directed to cause this Ordinance to be published one (1) time in a newspaper of general circulation published in the City of Opelika, Lee County, Alabama.

ADOPTED AND APPROVED this the 17th day of February, 2015.

/s/ C. E. “Eddie” Smith, Jr.

PRESIDENT OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE

CITY OF OPELIKA, ALABAMA

ATTEST:

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

TRANSMITTED TO MAYOR on this the 18th day of February, 2015.

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

ACTION BY MAYOR

APPROVED this the 18th day of February, 2015.

/s/Gary Fuller

MAYOR

ATTEST:

/s/ R. G. Shuman

CITY CLERK

Legal run 2/20/15

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