Chapter 10.70
CIVIL INFRACTIONS

Sections:

10.70.010    Purpose.

10.70.020    Definitions.

10.70.030    Issuance of process.

10.70.040    Notice of civil infraction - Issuance, service, filing.

10.70.050    Person receiving notice - Identification.

10.70.060    Notice - Determination final unless contested - Form.

10.70.070    Response to notice - Contesting determination - Mitigating circumstances - Hearing - Failure to respond or appear.

10.70.080    Hearings - Rules of procedure - Counsel.

10.70.090    Hearings - Contesting determination that infraction committed - Appeal.

10.70.100    Hearings - Explanation of mitigating circumstances.

10.70.110    Monetary penalties - Restitution.

10.70.120    Order of court - Civil nature - Modification of penalty - Community restitution.

10.70.130    Costs and attorney fees.

10.70.140    Notices - Record of - Cancellation prohibited, penalty.

10.70.150    Failure to exercise notice options - Failure to satisfy penalty.

10.70.010 Purpose.

Establishment of a system of civil infractions can be a more expeditious and less expensive method of disposing of minor offenses than misdemeanor prosecutions. This chapter is adopted pursuant to chapter 7.80 RCW to provide a system of civil infractions for certain offenses to allow resources of the criminal justice system to be more efficiently used to punish serious criminal behavior.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.020 Definitions.

In this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise,

(1) "Civil infraction" means an offense for which the county code prescribes punishment as a civil infraction under this chapter;

(2) "Court" means the district court established by SCC 2.12.015;

(3) "Enforcement officer" means a commissioned law enforcement officer and any person authorized by ordinance to enforce the county code provisions in which the civil infraction is established.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.030 Issuance of process.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law governing service of process in civil cases, a court having jurisdiction over an alleged civil infraction may issue process anywhere within the state.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.040 Notice of civil infraction - Issuance, service, filing.

(1) A civil infraction proceeding is initiated by the issuance, service, and filing of a notice of civil infraction.

(2) A notice of civil infraction may be issued by an enforcement officer when the civil infraction occurs in the officer’s presence.

(3) The court may issue a notice of civil infraction if an enforcement officer files with the court a written statement that the civil infraction was committed in the officer’s presence or that the officer has reasonable cause to believe that a civil infraction has occurred.

(4) Service of a notice of civil infraction issued under subsection (2) or (3) of this section shall be as provided by court rule. Until such a rule is adopted, service shall be as provided in the Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (IRLJ), as applicable.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.050 Person receiving notice - Identification.

(1) A person who is to receive a notice of civil infraction under SCC 10.70.040 is required to identify himself or herself to the enforcement officer by giving his or her name, address, and date of birth. Upon request of the officer, the person shall produce reasonable identification, such as a driver’s license or identicard.

(2) A person who is unable or unwilling to reasonably identify himself or herself to an enforcement officer may be detained by a commissioned law enforcement officer for a period of time not longer than is reasonably necessary to identify the person for purposes of issuing a civil infraction.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.060 Notice - Determination final unless contested - Form.

(1) A notice of civil infraction represents a determination that a civil infraction has been committed. The determination is final unless contested as provided in this chapter.

(2) The form for the notice of civil infraction shall be as prescribed by court rule, as applicable, and shall include the following:

(a) A statement that the notice represents a determination that a civil infraction has been committed by the person named in the notice and that the determination is final unless contested as provided in this chapter;

(b) A statement that a civil infraction is a noncriminal offense for which imprisonment may not be imposed as a sanction;

(c) A statement of the specific civil infraction for which the notice is issued;

(d) A statement of the monetary penalty established for the civil infraction;

(e) A statement of the options provided in this chapter for responding to the notice and the procedures necessary to exercise these options;

(f) A statement that at any hearing to contest the determination the county has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the civil infraction was committed and that the person may subpoena witnesses including the enforcement officer who issued the notice of civil infraction;

(g) A statement that at any hearing requested for the purpose of explaining mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of the civil infraction, the person will be deemed to have committed the civil infraction and may not subpoena witnesses;

(h) A statement that the person must respond to the notice as provided in this chapter within 15 days;

(i) A statement that failure to respond to the notice or a failure to appear at a hearing requested for the purpose of contesting the determination or for the purpose of explaining mitigating circumstances will result in a default judgment against the person in the amount of the penalty and that this failure may be referred to the prosecuting attorney for criminal prosecution for failure to respond or appear;

(j) A statement that failure to respond to a notice of civil infraction or to appear at a requested hearing is a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine or imprisonment in jail.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.070 Response to notice - Contesting determination - Mitigating circumstances - Hearing - Failure to respond or appear.

(1) Any person who receives a notice of civil infraction shall respond to such notice as provided in this section within 15 days of the date the notice is served.

(2) If the person determined to have committed the civil infraction does not contest the determination, the person shall respond by completing the appropriate portion of the notice of civil infraction and submitting it, either by mail or in person, to the court specified on the notice. A check or money order in the amount of the penalty prescribed for the civil infraction must be submitted with the response. The clerk of the court may accept cash in payment for an infraction. When a response which does not contest the determination is received, an appropriate order shall be entered in the court’s records.

(3) If the person determined to have committed the civil infraction wishes to contest the determination, the person shall respond by completing the portion of the notice of civil infraction requesting a hearing and submitting it, either by mail or in person, to the court specified on the notice. The court shall notify the person in writing of the time, place, and date of the hearing, and that date shall not be earlier than seven days nor more than 90 days from the date of the notice of hearing, except by agreement.

(4) If the person determined to have committed the civil infraction does not contest the determination but wishes to explain mitigating circumstances surrounding the infraction, the person shall respond by completing the portion of the notice of civil infraction requesting a hearing for that purpose and submitting it, either by mail or in person, to the court specified on the notice. The court shall notify the person in writing of the time, place, and date of the hearing, and that date shall not be earlier than seven days nor more than 90 days from the date of the notice of hearing, except by agreement.

(5) The court shall enter a default judgment assessing the monetary penalty prescribed for the civil infraction and may notify the prosecuting attorney of the failure to respond to the notice of civil infraction or to appear at a requested hearing if any person issued a notice of civil infraction:

(a) Fails to respond to the notice of civil infraction as provided in subsection (2) of this section; or

(b) Fails to appear at a hearing requested pursuant to subsection (3) or (4) of this section.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.080 Hearings - Rules of procedure - Counsel.

(1) Procedures for the conduct of all hearings provided in this chapter may be as established by court rule.

(2) Any person subject to proceedings under this chapter may be represented by counsel.

(3) The prosecuting attorney may appear and represent the county in any proceeding under this chapter but need not appear, notwithstanding any statute or court rule to the contrary.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.090 Hearings - Contesting determination that infraction committed - Appeal.

(1) A hearing held for the purpose of contesting the determination that a civil infraction has been committed shall be without a jury and shall be recorded in the manner provided for in courts of limited jurisdiction.

(2) The court may consider the notice of civil infraction and any other written report made under oath submitted by the enforcement officer who issued the notice or whose written statement was the basis for the issuance of the notice in lieu of the officer’s personal appearance at the hearing. The person named in the notice may request the court for issuance of subpoena of witnesses, including the enforcement officer who issued the notice, and has the right to present evidence and examine witnesses present in court.

(3) The burden of proof is upon the county to establish the commission of the civil infraction by a preponderance of the evidence.

(4) After consideration of the evidence and argument, the court shall determine whether the civil infraction was committed. Where it has not been established that the civil infraction was committed, an order dismissing the notice shall be entered in the court’s records. Where it has been established that the civil infraction was committed, an appropriate order shall be entered in the court’s records.

(5) An appeal from the court’s determination or order shall be to the superior court in the manner provided by court rules for appeal of decisions of courts of limited jurisdiction. The decision of the superior court is subject only to discretionary review pursuant to court rules of appellate procedure.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.100 Hearings - Explanation of mitigating circumstances.

(1) A hearing held for the purpose of allowing a person to explain mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of a civil infraction shall be an informal proceeding. The person may not subpoena witnesses. The determination that a civil infraction has been committed may not be contested at a hearing held for the purpose of explaining mitigating circumstances.

(2) After the court has heard the explanation of the circumstances surrounding the commission of the civil infraction, an appropriate order shall be entered in the court’s records.

(3) There is no appeal from the court’s determination or order.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.110 Monetary penalties - Restitution.

(1) A person found to have committed a civil infraction shall be assessed a monetary penalty.

(a) The maximum penalty and the default amount for a class 1 civil infraction shall be $500.00;

(b) The maximum penalty and the default amount for a class 2 civil infraction shall be $250.00; and

(c) The maximum penalty and the default amount for a class 3 civil infraction shall be $100.00.

(2) Whenever a monetary penalty is imposed by a court under this chapter it is immediately payable. If the person is unable to pay at that time the court may grant an extension of the period in which the penalty may be paid. If the penalty is not paid on or before the time established for payment, the court may proceed to collect the penalty in the same manner as other civil judgments and may notify the prosecuting authority of the failure to pay.

(3) The court may also order a person found to have committed a civil infraction to make restitution.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.120 Order of court - Civil nature - Modification of penalty - Community restitution.

(1) An order entered after the receipt of a response which does not contest the determination, or after it has been established at a hearing that the civil infraction was committed, or after a hearing for the purpose of explaining mitigating circumstances is civil in nature.

(2) The court may waive, reduce, or suspend the monetary penalty prescribed for the civil infraction. If the court determines that a person has insufficient funds to pay the monetary penalty, the court may order performance of a number of hours of community restitution in lieu of a monetary penalty, at the rate of the then state minimum wage per hour.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.130 Costs and attorney fees.

Each party to a civil infraction case is responsible for costs incurred by that party, but the court may assess witness fees against a nonprevailing respondent.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.140 Notices - Record of - Cancellation prohibited, penalty.

(1) Every law enforcement and other agency authorized to issue notices of civil infractions shall provide in appropriate form notices of civil infractions which shall be issued in books with notices in quadruplicate and meeting the requirements of this section, or issued by an electronic device capable of producing a printed copy and electronic copies of the citations.

(2) The chief administrative officer of every such agency shall be responsible for the issuance of such books or electronic devices and shall maintain a record of every such book or electronic device and each notice contained therein issued to agency enforcement officers and shall require and retain a receipt for every book or electronic device so issued.

(3) Upon issuing a notice of civil infraction to an alleged perpetrator of a civil infraction under this chapter the enforcement officer shall deposit the original or a printed or electronic copy of such notice of civil infraction with a court having jurisdiction over the civil infraction. Upon the deposit of the original or a printed or electronic copy of such notice of civil infraction, the original or copy may be disposed of only as provided in this chapter.

(4) It is unlawful and is official misconduct for any law enforcement officer or other officer or public employee to dispose of a notice of civil infraction or copies thereof or of the record of the issuance of the same in a manner other than as required in this section.

(5) The chief administrative officer of every law enforcement or other agency authorized to issue notices of civil infractions shall require the return to him or her of a copy of every notice issued by a person under his or her supervision to an alleged perpetrator of a civil infraction under this chapter and of all copies of every notice which has been spoiled or upon which any entry has been made and not issued to an alleged perpetrator.

(6) The chief administrative officer shall also maintain or cause to be maintained in connection with every notice issued by a person under his or her supervision a record of the disposition of the charge by the court in which the original or copy of the notice was deposited.

(7) Any person who cancels or solicits the cancellation of any notice of civil infraction, in any manner other than as provided in this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in SCC 1.01.100.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.70.150 Failure to exercise notice options - Failure to satisfy penalty.

(1) Any person who, after receiving a statement of the options provided in this chapter for responding to the notice of civil infraction and the procedures necessary to exercise these options, fails to exercise one of the options in a timely manner is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in SCC 1.01.100 regardless of the disposition of the notice of civil infraction. A notice of civil infraction may be complied with by an appearance by counsel.

(2) A person who willfully fails to pay a monetary penalty or to perform community restitution as required by a court under this chapter may be found in contempt of court as provided in chapter 7.21 RCW.

(Added by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).