Explanation of Violation of Ordinances

Explanation of Violation of Ordinances


3. An officer authorized by a city to enforce a city code or regulation may issue a civil citation to a person who commits a municipal infraction. The citation may be served by personal service as provided in rule of civil procedure 56.1, by certified mail addressed to the defendant at the defendant’s last known mailing address, return receipt requested, or by publication in the manner as provided in rule of civil procedure 60 and subject to the conditions of rule of civil procedure 60.1. A copy of the citation shall be retained by the issuing officer, and one copy shall be sent to the clerk of the district court. The citation shall serve as notification that a civil offense has been committed and shall contain the following information:

A. The name and address of the defendant;

B. The name or description of the infraction attested to by the officer issuing the citation;

C. The location and time of the infraction;

D. The amount of civil penalty to be assessed or the alternate relief sought, or both;

E. The manner, location and time in which the penalty may be paid;

F. The time and place of court appearance; and

G. The penalty for failure to appear in court.

4. In municipal infraction proceedings:

A. The matter shall be tried before a Magistrate or District Associate Judge in the same manner as a small claim.

B. The city has the burden of proof that the municipal infraction occurred and that the defendant committed the infraction. The proof shall be by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence.

C. The court shall ensure that the defendant has received a copy of the charges and that the defendant understands the charges. The defendant may question all witnesses who appear for the city and produce evidence or witnesses on the defendant’s behalf.

D. The defendant may be represented by counsel of the defendant’s own selection and at the defendant’s own expense.

E. The defendant may answer by admitting or denying the infraction.

F. If a municipal infraction is proved the court shall enter a judgment against the defendant. If the infraction is not proven, the court shall dismiss it.

5. All penalties or forfeitures collected by the court for municipal infractions shall be remitted to the city in the same manner as fines and forfeitures are remitted for criminal violations under section 602.8106 of the Iowa code. If the person named in the citation is served as provided in this section and fails without good cause to appear in response to a civil citation, judgment shall be entered against the person cited.

6. A person against whom judgment is entered, shall pay court costs and fees as in small claims under chapter 631. If the action is dismissed, the city is liable for court costs and court fees. Where the action is disposed of without payment, or provision for assessment, of court costs, the clerk shall at once enter judgment against the city.

7. Seeking a civil penalty as authorized in this section does not preclude a city from seeking alternative relief from the court in the same action.

8. When judgment has been entered against a defendant, the court may do any of the following:

A. Impose a civil penalty by entry of a personal judgment against the defendant.

B. Direct that payment of the civil penalty be suspended or deferred under conditions imposed by the court;

C. Grant appropriate alternative relief ordering the defendant to abate or cease the violation.

D. Authorize the city to abate or correct the violation;

E. Order that the city’s costs for abatement or correction of the violation be entered as a personal judgment against the defendant or assessed against the property where the violation occurred, or both.