§ 76.04  PLEA HEARING/EVIDENTIARY HEARING.
   (A)   Notice of hearing.  Within 10 days after a motor vehicle is impounded pursuant to this chapter, the village shall notify the owner of record of the date, time, and location of a plea hearing that shall be conducted pursuant to § 76.04.  Such notice shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner of record, as shown on the records of the Secretary of State.  Notice by certified mail need not be given when the owner of the motor vehicle has been personally served with notice, in written form, of the time, date, and location of the plea hearing.  The plea hearing shall be conducted by a hearing officer designated by the village Board. The owner of record may appear at a plea hearing and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If a plea of guilty is entered, or if the owner of record fails to appear, the cause shall be disposed of at that time, with an order or a default order in favor of the Village which order or default order shall require the payment to the Village of the $200.00 administrative fee and the payment of towing and storage costs to the applicable towing company, and the continued impoundment of the motor vehicle until the owner of record pays to the Village the $200.00 administrative fee pays the towing and storage costs to the applicable towing company. If the owner of record has previously posted the bond authorized by Section 76.03 and paid the applicable towing and storage costs to the towing company for the release of the vehicle, then no further fees or costs shall be due. If the owner of record pleads not guilty, an evidentiary hearing shall be scheduled and held not later than 45 days after the motor vehicle was impounded, unless continued by the hearing officer. All interested persons shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard at the evidentiary hearing. At any time prior to the evidentiary hearing date, the hearing officer may, at the request of either the village or the owner of record, direct witnesses to appear and give testimony at the evidentiary hearing. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply at the evidentiary hearing, and hearsay evidence shall be admissible if it is the type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs.
   (B)   If, after the evidentiary hearing, the hearing officer determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the motor vehicle was used in connection with a violation set forth in § 76.02, the hearing officer shall enter an order finding the owner of the motor vehicle civilly liable to the village for an administrative fee in the amount of $200 and require the motor vehicle to continue to be impounded until the owner of record pays the administrative fee to the village and also pays the applicable towing and storage costs to the applicable towing company.  If the owner of record fails to appear at the evidentiary hearing, the hearing officer shall enter a default order in favor of the village, which order shall require the payment to the village of the $200 administrative fee and the payment of the towing and storage costs to the applicable towing company, and the continued impoundment of the motor vehicle until the owner of record pays the village the $200 administrative fee and pays the towing and storage costs to the applicable towing company.  If the owner of record has previously posted the bond authorized by § 76.03 and paid the applicable towing and storage costs to the towing company for the release of the vehicle, then no further fees or costs shall be due.  The $200 administrative fee shall be a debt due to the village, and the village may seek to obtain a judgment on the debt and enforce such judgment as provided by law.
   (C)   If after a hearing the hearing officer finds no such violation occurred, the hearing officer shall order the immediate return of the motor vehicle to the owner of record without any fee or other costs, or, if a cash bond has previously been posted, the cash bond shall be returned.  However, the Village shall not be responsible for the payment of towing or storage fees.
   (D)   At the evidentiary hearing, the citation setting forth the violation shall be prima facie evidence that the violation was committed as provided in the citation, and the burden of proof shall be upon the owner of record to prove that the violation was not committed.
(Ord. 14-02, passed 1-13-2014)