(a) A municipal civil infraction action may be commenced upon the issuance, by an authorized local official, of either of the following:
(1) A municipal civil infraction citation directing the person alleged to be responsible to appear in court;
(2) A municipal civil infraction notice directing the alleged violator to appear at the Municipal Violations Bureau.
(b) The form of citations or notices used to charge municipal civil infraction violations shall be in accordance with State law, shall name the City of Flint as the plaintiff and for municipal civil infraction citations and shall give a reasonable time after the citation is issued for appearance at the 68th District Court.
(c) The basis for issuance of a municipal civil infraction citation or notice shall be as set forth below:
(1) An authorized local official witnesses a person violate an ordinance, the violation of which is a municipal civil infraction.
(2) An authorized local official may issue a citation or notice to a person if, based upon investigation, the authorized person has reasonable cause to believe that a person is responsible for a municipal civil infraction.
a. For violations concerning the use, occupation or condition of rental property both the landlord and tenant may be issued a municipal civil infraction, in accordance with subsection (d), for the same offense concerning the use, occupation or condition of the property and shall be individually responsible for a violation of same.
(3) An authorized local official may issue a citation or notice to a person if, based upon investigation of a complaint by someone who allegedly witnessed the person violate an ordinance, a violation of which is a municipal civil infraction, the authorized local official has reasonable cause to believe that the person is responsible for a municipal civil infraction and if the attorney for the City approves in writing the issuance of the citation or notice.
(d) Municipal civil infraction citations or notices shall be served in the following manner.
(1) Except as otherwise provided below, the authorized local official shall personally serve a copy of the citation or notice upon the alleged violator.
(2) In a municipal civil infraction action involving the use or occupancy of land or a building or other structure, a copy of the citation or notice need not be personally served upon the alleged violator but may be served upon an owner and/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 or notice shall be sent by first class mail to the owner of the land, building or structure at the owner’s last known address.
a. In cases involving properly licensed rental property, where a citation is issued to a tenant, in addition to posting, a copy of the notice shall be sent by first class mail to both the owner and the tenant of the property.
(3) A citation or notice served as provided in subsection(2) above, for a violation involving the use or occupancy of land or a building or other structure, shall be processed in the same manner as a citation or notice served personally upon a defendant.
(4) The copies of the citation shall be distributed as follows:
a. The original citation which is a complaint and notice to appear by the authorized local official shall be filed with the 68th District Court.
b. The first copy shall be an abstract of the court and retained by the court.
c. Second copy shall be retained by the authorized local official.
d. The third copy shall be issued to the alleged violator.
(5) A citation for a municipal civil infraction signed by an authorized local official shall be treated as made under oath if the authorized local official signing and dating the complaint does so immediately above the following statement “I declare under the penalties of perjury that the statements above are true to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.”
(6) Each citation shall inform the defendant that he or she may do one of the following:
a. Admit responsibility for municipal civil infraction by mail, in person, or by representation, at or by the time specified for appearance.
b. Admit responsibility with explanation by mail by the time specified for appearance, or in person, or by representation. If the defendant is going to admit responsibility with explanation either in person or by representation, the defendant 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 appearance. If the defendant admits responsibility with explanation by mail, the court shall accept the admission as though the defendant has admitted responsibility under subsection (d)(6)a. above and the court may consider the defendant’s explanation by way of mitigating any sanction that the court may order. If the appearance is made by mail or representation the court shall accept the admission of responsibility but may also require the defendant to provide further explanation or to appear in court.
c. Deny responsibility for the municipal civil infraction by doing the following:
1. 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 plaintiff.
2. Appearing in court for a formal hearing before a judge, with the opportunity of being represented by an attorney.
3. Defendant must apply in person, by mail, by telephone or by representation with the time specified for appearance and obtain a scheduled date and time to appear for a hearing.
4. The hearing shall be an informal hearing unless a formal hearing is requested by either the plaintiff or the defendant.
(7) The citation shall contain in boldface type that the failure of a defendant to appear within the time specified in the citation or a time scheduled for a hearing or appearance is a misdemeanor and will result in the entry of a default judgment against the defendant on the municipal infraction. Return of the citation with an admission of responsibility and with full payment of fines and costs, return of the citation with an admission of responsibility with explanation, or timely application to the court for a scheduled date and time for appearance or hearing constitutes a timely appearance.
(8) If a hearing is scheduled, it shall be an informal hearing, unless a formal hearing is requested by the plaintiff or defendant and a confirming notice shall be mailed by the court to the defendant to the address appearing on the citation or supplied by the defendant. An informal hearing shall be conducted pursuant to MCLA § 600.8719 and a formal hearing shall be conducted pursuant to MCLA § 600.8721.
(9) The court shall schedule a formal hearing if either the plaintiff or the defendant expressly requests a formal hearing. The request for a formal hearing must be received at least 10 days before any hearing date appearing on the citation. The party requesting the formal hearing shall notify the other party of the request and must be received by the party at least 10 days before the hearing date. A formal hearing may be requested in person, by representation, by mail or by telephone. Witness fees need not be paid in advance to a witness. Witness fees for a witness on behalf of the plaintiff are payable by the District Control Unit of the District Court for the City of Flint. There shall be no jury trial for a municipal civil infraction.
(10) If the defendant fails to appear as directed by the citation or other notice at a scheduled appearance, at a scheduled informal hearing, or at a scheduled formal hearing a default judgment shall be entered. A defendant who fails to answer a citation or notice to appear in court for a municipal civil infraction is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Ord. 3285, adopted 11-28-1994; Ord. 3538, passed 6-9-2004; Ord. 3646, passed 4-25-2005; Ord. 3652, passed 6-27-2005)