Code of Alabama

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Modified:1998-11-19 09:23:52
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Body:Section 11-45-9.1

Issuance of summons and complaint in lieu of arrest for violation of certain ordinances; procedure; schedule of fines; additional penalty for failure to appear; disposition of fines.

(a) By ordinance, the governing body of any municipality may authorize any law enforcement officer of a municipality or any law enforcement officer of the state, in lieu of placing persons under custodial arrest, to issue a summons and complaint to any person charged with violating any municipal littering ordinance; municipal ordinance which prohibits animals from running at large, which shall include leash laws and rabies control laws; or any Class C misdemeanor or violation not involving violence, threat of violence or alcohol or drugs.

(b) Such summons and complaint shall be on a form approved by the governing body of the municipality and shall contain the name of the court; the name of the defendant; a description of the offense, including the municipal ordinance number; the date and time of the offense; the place of the offense; signature of the officer issuing the citation; the scheduled court date and time; an explanation to the person cited of the ways in which he may settle his case; and a signature block for the magistrate to sign upon the officer's oath and affirmation given prior to trial.

(c) Whenever any person is arrested for a violation of any of the enumerated offenses, the arresting officer shall take the name and address of such person and any other identifying information and issue a summons and complaint to the person charged. Such officer shall release the person from custody upon his written promise to appear in court at the designated time and place as evidenced by his signature on the summons and complaint, without any condition relating to the deposit of security.

(d) If any person refuses to give a written recognizance to appear by placing his signature on the summons and complaint, the officer shall take that person into custody and bring him before any officer or official who is authorized to approve bond.

(e) Before implementation of the summons and complaint procedure, the governing body shall adopt a schedule of fines for first, second and subsequent offenders of the alleged violation of such ordinances, which shall be posted in a place conspicuous to the public within the court clerk's office and the police department.

(f)(1) When a person is charged with one of the enumerated ordinance violations, he may elect to appear before the municipal court magistrate, or where the municipal court has been abolished, the district court magistrate, within the time specified in the summons and complaint, and upon entering a plea of guilty, pay the fine and court costs. A plea of guilty shall only be accepted by the magistrate after the defendant has executed a notice and waiver of rights form.

(2) In the alternative, the defendant shall have the option of depositing the required bail, and upon a plea of not guilty, shall be entitled to a trial as authorized by law.

(g) The court clerk or magistrate shall receive and issue receipts for cash bail from persons who wish to be heard in court; enter the time of their appearance on the court docket; and notify the arresting officer and witnesses, if any, to be present.

(h) If the defendant fails to appear as specified in the summons and complaint, the judge or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense may issue a warrant for his arrest commanding that he be brought before the court to answer the charge contained on the summons and complaint. In addition, any person who willfully violates his written promise or bond to appear, given in accordance with this section, shall be guilty of the separate offense of failing to appear, a misdemeanor, regardless of the disposition of the charge upon which he was originally arrested.

(i) All fines and forfeitures collected upon a conviction or upon the forfeiture of bail of any person charged with a violation of such ordinances, shall be remitted to the general fund of the municipality; provided, however, fines, forfeitures and court costs assessed and collected in district court shall be distributed as now provided by law.

(Acts 1989, No. 89-954, §§1-9; Acts 1992, No. 92-588, p. 1212, §1.)