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  • PART IV CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • TITLE I CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
  • CHAPTER 270 CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Section 16A Alternative noncriminal disposition of violations of Sec. 16

Section 16A. If any officer empowered to enforce section sixteen takes cognizance of a violation thereof, he may request the offender to state his name and address. Whoever, upon such request, refuses to state his name and address, may be arrested without a warrant, or if he states a false name and address or a name and address which is not his name and address in ordinary use, he shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars. Such officer may, as an alternative to instituting criminal proceedings, forthwith give to the offender a written notice to appear before the clerk of the district court having jurisdiction at any time during office hours, not later than twenty-one days after the date of such violation. Such notice shall be made in triplicate, and shall contain the name and address of the offender and, if served with notice in hand at the time of such violation, the number of his license, if any, to operate motor vehicles; the registration number of the vehicle or motor boat involved, if any; the time and place of the violation; the specific offense charged; and the time and place for his required appearance. Such notice shall be signed by the officer, and shall be signed by the offender whenever practicable in acknowledgment that the notice has been received. The officer shall, if possible, deliver to the offender at the time and place of the violation a copy of said notice. Whenever it is not possible to deliver a copy of said notice to the offender at the time and place of the violation, said copy shall be mailed or delivered by the officer, or by his commanding officer or any person authorized by said commanding officer, to the offender’s last known address, or in the case of a violation involving a motor vehicle or motor boat registered under the laws of this commonwealth, within five days of the offense, or in the case of any motor vehicle or motor boat registered under the laws of another state or country, within ten days thereof, exclusive, in either case, of Sundays and holidays, to the address of the registrant of the motor vehicle or motor boat involved, as appearing, in the case of a motor vehicle registered under the laws of this commonwealth, in the records of the registry of motor vehicles or the division of motor boats or, in the case of a motor vehicle or motor boat registered under the laws of another state or country in the records of the official in such state or country having charge of the registration of such motor vehicle or motor boat. Such notice mailed by the officer, his commanding officer, or the person so authorized to the last address of said registrant as appearing as aforesaid, shall be deemed a sufficient notice, and a certificate of the officer or person mailing such notice that it has been mailed in accordance with this section shall be deemed prima facie evidence thereof and shall be admissible in any court of the commonwealth as to the facts contained therein. At or before the completion of each tour of duty the officer shall give to his commanding officer those copies of each notice of such a violation he has taken cognizance of during such tour which have not already been delivered or mailed by him as aforesaid. Said commanding officer shall retain one of such copies and shall, at a time not later than the next court day after said delivery or mailing, deliver another copy to the clerk of the court before whom the offender has been notified to appear. The clerk of each district court shall maintain a separate docket of all such notices to appear.

Any person notified to appear before the clerk of a district court as hereinbefore provided may appear before such clerk and confess the offense charged, either personally or through an agent duly authorized in writing, or by mailing to such clerk, with the notice, the sum provided herein, such payment to be made only by postal note, money order or check. If it is the first, second or third offense subject to this section committed by such person within the jurisdiction of the court in the calendar year, payment to such clerk of the sum of twenty dollars shall operate as a final disposition of the case; if it is the fourth or subsequent such offense so committed in such calendar year, payment to such clerk of the sum of one hundred dollars shall operate as a final disposition of the case. Proceedings under this paragraph shall not be deemed criminal; and no person notified to appear before the clerk of a district court as provided herein shall be required to report to any probation officer, and no record of the case shall be entered in the probation records.

If any person notified to appear before the clerk of the district court fails to appear and pay the fine provided hereunder or, having appeared, desires not to avail himself of the procedure hereinbefore provided for the non-criminal disposition of the case, the clerk shall notify the officer concerned, who shall forthwith make application for a criminal complaint and follow the procedure established for criminal cases, and shall notify, if a motor vehicle is involved, the registrar of motor vehicles, or, if a motor boat is involved, the division of motor boats. If any person fails to appear in accordance with the summons issued upon such complaint the clerk shall send such person by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice that the complaint is pending and that, if the person fails to appear within twenty-one days from the sending of such notice, a warrant for his arrest will be issued. If any person fails to appear within twenty-one days from the sending of such notice, the court shall issue a warrant for his arrest.

The notice to appear, provided herein, shall be printed in such form as the chief justice for the district court department and the chief justice for the Boston municipal court department may prescribe for their respective departments; provided, however, that a notice prepared pursuant to section twenty A or section twenty C of chapter ninety may be so revised or adapted that said notice may also be used for the notice provided for in this section.