317.03  NOTICE OF LIABILITY.
   (a)   Prior to the activation of a Photo Traffic Enforcement System, the City Manager or his or her designee shall erect a sign in a conspicuous location that provides notice that a Photo Traffic Enforcement System is being used to monitor traffic.
   (b)   For the first 30 days after the activation of a Photo Traffic Enforcement System at a given location no Notices of Liability will be issued based upon the images produced by the system.  However, warnings may be issued during this 30-day period.
   (c)   A Police Officer employed by the Ashtabula Police Department shall examine the image recorded by the Photo Traffic Enforcement System to determine whether a violation as defined in Section 317.01 has occurred. If the image recorded by the Photo Traffic Enforcement System shows a violation, contains a date and time of the violation, and shows the vehicle's license plate number as well as the state in which the license was issued, the officer may use any lawful means to identify the vehicle's owner.
   (d)   The fact that a person is registered as the owner of a vehicle with the vehicle registration office of the state that issued the license plate displayed on the vehicle shall be prima facie evidence that said person was operating the vehicle at the time of a violation recorded by a Photo Traffic Enforcement System.
   (e)   Within 30 days of the violation and upon identification of the registered owner of the vehicle, the Chief of Police or his or her designee may issue a Notice of Liability, charging the owner with a violation. The Notice of Liability shall be sent by regular U.S. mail and must state the date on which the Notice of Liability was issued, the date, time, and location of the violation, the time in which an answer must be made by the vehicle owner, and the manner in which the Notice of Liability may be appealed. In addition, a copy of the image(s) that served as a basis for the violation must accompany the Notice of Liability.
   (f)       A person who receives a Notice of Liability pursuant to this Section shall be required to respond within 30 days of the date the Notice of Liability was issued in one of the following methods:
      (1)       By paying the civil penalty as directed on the Notice of Liability; or
      (2)     By submitting evidence of one of the exceptions to liability listed in subsection (g) hereof; or
      (3)       By submitting to the address listed on the Notice of Liability, a request for a hearing as set forth in Section 317.04 .
   (g)   Notwithstanding subsection (d) hereof, the owner of the vehicle shall not be liable for a penalty under this section if the Chief of Police or his or her designee determines that sufficient evidence of either of the following conditions exist:
      (1)   At the time of the violation, the vehicle was in the custody of someone other than its owner pursuant to a written lease or rental agreement and the owner submits, to the address listed on the ticket, a copy of the lease or rental agreement along with the name and address of the lessee or renter.
      (2)   At the time of the violation, the vehicle or the license plate depicted in the image which served as the basis for the Notice of Liability was stolen and the owner submits, to the address listed on the Notice of Liability, a copy of the police report stating the vehicle or license plate had been reported stolen at the time.
   (h)   Within 10 business days of receiving evidence from the vehicle owner indicating that he or she was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, the issuing Police Officer may issue a Notice of Liability to the person whom the evidence indicates was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
   (i)   Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to limit the liability of an operator of a motor vehicle for any violation of the Ohio Revised Code or the Ashtabula Traffic Code.
(Ord. 2010-61.  Passed 6-7-10.)