Alabaster may do away with some mandatory court dates

The city of Alabaster may pass a summary disposition plan on June 8, which would allow those charged with minor offenses to avoid court appearances. (File)

The city of Alabaster may pass a summary disposition plan on June 8, which would allow those charged with minor offenses to avoid court appearances. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Some people cited for violating Alabaster ordinances will no longer be required to appear in the city’s municipal court if the City Council approves a summary disposition plan during an upcoming meeting.

During its June 8 meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on the summary disposition ordinance, which was introduced on May 26. During the public hearing, the council will accept feedback from those in favor of and against the proposed ordinance before possibly voting on the matter during the meeting.

If the ordinance passes, it will allow those charged with minor offenses to plead guilty to the offenses and pay a pre-determined fine. Currently, those charged with violating city ordinances are required to attend an Alabaster Municipal Court session, even if they intend to plead guilty.

“Through this, they would be able to pay the magistrate and not have to sit through a court date,” Ward 4 Councilman Rick Walters said.

The council’s June 8 meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall.

The fines range from $10 to as much as $500 per charge, depending on severity.

Lesser fines include charges such as a violation of the barking dogs ordinance, failure to equip a vehicle with turn signals, failure to wear a seat belt and allowing dogs to run at large in the city.

The $50 and $75 fines include items such as doing business without a license, failure to obtain a building permit before beginning a building project, violation of building code, holding a yard sale without a permit and keeping of farm animals.

Near the top of the proposed schedule, $100-$200 fines include items such as littering, unlawful smoking in a hotel or restaurant, unlawful use of a fire hydrant, violation of a zoning ordinance and transporting hazardous materials without a proper manifest.

The highest fines – $500 – are attached to violations involving transportation of hazardous materials, such as transporting hazardous materials without taking proper safety precautions and transporting hazardous materials in a passenger-carrying vehicle.

For the full proposed fine schedule, click here.