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(1) Notice. Upon discovery of a suspected violation, the alleged violator shall be issued, either personally or by mail, a citation that sets forth the alleged violation and which shall inform the alleged violator of his or her right to be heard on the accusation.
(2) Hearings. If a person accused of violating this chapter so requests, a hearing shall be scheduled, the time and place of which shall be published and provided to the accused violator.
(3) Hearing Officer. The city official designated by the City Council shall serve as the hearing officer.
(4) Decision. If the hearing officer determines that a violation of this chapter did occur, that decision, along with the hearing officer’s reasons for finding a violation and the penalty to be imposed under division (B) of this section, shall be recorded in writing, a copy of which shall be provided to the accused violator. Likewise, if the hearing officer finds that no violation occurred or finds grounds for not imposing any penalty, those findings shall be recorded and a copy provided to the acquitted accused violator.
(5) Appeals. Appeals of any decision made by the hearing officer shall be filed in the district court for the city in which the alleged violation occurred.
(6) Misdemeanor prosecution. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the city from seeking prosecution as a misdemeanor for any alleged violation of this chapter.
(7) Continued violation. Each violation, and every day in which a violation occurs or continues, shall constitute a separate offense.
(B) Administrative penalties.
(1) Licensees. Any licensee found to have violated this chapter, or whose employee shall have violated this chapter, shall be charged an administrative fine of $200 for a first violation of this chapter; $400 for a second offense at the same licensed premises within a 24-month period plus a three-day suspension of the license; and $500 for a third or subsequent offense at the same location within a 24-month period plus a ten-day suspension of the license.
(2) Other individuals. Other individuals, other than minors regulated by division (B)(3) of this section, found to be in violation of this chapter shall be charged an administrative fee of $50.
(3) Minors. Minors found in unlawful possession of or who unlawfully purchase or attempt to purchase, tobacco, tobacco products, tobacco-related devices, or nicotine or lobelia delivery devices, shall be subject to an administrative fine, or may be subject to tobacco-related education classes, diversion programs, community services, or another penalty that the city believes will be appropriate and effective. The administrative fine or other penalty shall be established by City Council ordinance, upon the City Council’s consultation with interested parties of the courts, educators, parents and children to determine an appropriate penalty for minors in the city. This administrative fine or other penalty may also be as established from time to time by Council resolution, as it may be amended from time to time.
(4) Misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the city from seeking prosecution as a misdemeanor for any violation of this chapter.
(5) Statutory penalties. If the administrative penalties authorized to be imposed by M.S. § 461.12, as it may be amended from time to time, differ from those established in this section, then the statutory penalties shall prevail.
(Am. Ord. 720, passed 1-3-13)