Maine Revised Statutes

§2601. Summons and Complaint

1. Form of Uniform Summons and Complaint.  Every law enforcement agency in this State shall use traffic summonses for civil violations defined in this Title and criminal traffic offenses defined in Title 23, section 1980 or this Title in the form known as the Uniform Summons and Complaint, which must be uniform throughout the State and must be issued in books with summonses in no less than quadruplicate and meeting the requirements of this chapter. The Uniform Summons and Complaint must include, at a minimum, the signature of the officer, a brief description of the alleged offense, the time and place of the alleged offense and the time, place and date the person is to appear in court. The Uniform Summons and Complaint must also include a statement that signing the summons does not constitute an admission or plea of guilty and that refusal to sign after having been ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer is a separate Class E crime. A person to whom a Uniform Summons and Complaint is issued or delivered must give a written promise to appear. The form of the Uniform Summons and Complaint must be approved by the Chief Judge of the District Court prior to its use.
[ 2013, c. 482, §6 (AMD) .]
2. Creation of forms.  The Commissioner of Public Safety is responsible for creating the forms of Uniform Summons and Complaint, subject to the approval of the forms by the Chief Judge of the District Court.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
3. Form of Violation Summons and Complaint.  Every law enforcement agency in this State shall use traffic summonses for traffic infractions in the form known as the Violation Summons and Complaint, which must be uniform throughout the State and must be issued in books with summonses in no less than quadruplicate and meeting the requirements of this chapter. The form must include, at a minimum, the signature of the officer, a brief description of the alleged offense, the time and place of the alleged offense and the date on or before which the person is to file a written answer with the violations bureau. The Violation Summons and Complaint must also include a statement that signing the summons does not constitute an admission or plea of guilty and that refusal to sign after having been ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer is a separate Class E crime. The form of the Violation Summons and Complaint must be approved by the Chief Judge of the District Court prior to its use.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
3-A. Electronic Violation Summons and Complaint.   Notwithstanding subsection 3, the Chief Judge of the District Court may approve for use an electronic Violation Summons and Complaint form. The electronic Violation Summons and Complaint form must include, at a minimum, an electronic or digital signature of the officer, a brief description of the alleged offense, the time and place of the alleged offense and the date on or before which the person is to file a written answer with the violations bureau.
[ 2013, c. 112, §9 (NEW) .]
4. Responsibility for issuance and disposition.  The summons and complaint forms must be printed and distributed as follows.
A. The District Court is responsible for printing all copies of the Violation Summons and Complaint forms. The Department of Public Safety is responsible for printing all copies of the Uniform Summons and Complaint forms and issuing both types to law enforcement agencies or others. [1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF).]
B. The chief executive officer of every law enforcement agency or that chief executive officer's designee is responsible for the further issuance of summons and complaint forms to individual law enforcement officers and for the proper disposition of those forms. [1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF).]
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
5. Illegal disposition.  It is unlawful and official misconduct for any law enforcement officer or other officer or public employee to dispose of a Violation Summons and Complaint or a Uniform Summons and Complaint or any portion of either or of the record of the issuance of a Violation Summons and Complaint or a Uniform Summons and Complaint in a manner other than as required under rules adopted pursuant to this section. Any person who solicits or aids in the disposition or attempted disposition of a Violation Summons and Complaint or a Uniform Summons and Complaint or any portion of either in any unauthorized manner commits a Class E crime.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
6. Uniform Summons and Complaint as summons.  A Uniform Summons and Complaint, when issued or delivered to a person by a law enforcement officer or served on the person in the manner prescribed by rule of the Supreme Judicial Court, acts as a summons to appear in court on the date and time specified in the summons or to otherwise respond in accordance with law on or before the date and time specified in the summons. Any person who fails to appear in court as directed by the summons or to otherwise respond in accordance with law on or before the date and time specified in the summons commits a Class E crime. Upon the person's failure to appear or respond, the court may issue a warrant of arrest. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this subsection that the failure to appear or respond resulted from just cause.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
7. Violation Summons and Complaint as summons.  The Violation Summons and Complaint, when issued or delivered to a person by a law enforcement officer or served on the person in the manner prescribed by rule of the Supreme Judicial Court, acts as an order to file written answer to the complaint on or before the date specified in the summons.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
8. When a lawful complaint.  If the Uniform Summons and Complaint is duly sworn to as required by law and otherwise legally sufficient in respect to the form of a complaint and to charging commission of the offense alleged in the summons to have been committed, then the summons when filed with a court having jurisdiction constitutes a lawful complaint for the purpose of the commencement of any prosecution of a civil violation under this Title or a misdemeanor or Class D or Class E crime under Title 23, section 1980 or this Title. When filed with the violations bureau, the Violation Summons and Complaint is considered a lawful complaint for the purpose of the commencement of a traffic infraction proceeding.
[ 2013, c. 482, §7 (AMD) .]
9. Responsibility of law enforcement officer to file summonses and complaints with District Court.  A law enforcement officer issuing a Violation Summons and Complaint charging the commission of a traffic infraction shall file the original of the Violation Summons and Complaint with the violations bureau within 5 days of the issuance of the Violation Summons and Complaint. A law enforcement officer issuing a Uniform Summons and Complaint that charges the commission of an offense shall file the original of the Uniform Summons and Complaint with the District Court having jurisdiction over the offense or in such other location as instructed by the Chief Judge of the District Court without undue delay and, in any event, within 5 days after the issuance of the Uniform Summons and Complaint.
[ 1993, c. 683, Pt. A, §2 (NEW); 1993, c. 683, Pt. B, §5 (AFF) .]
10. Refusal to sign.  A person who refuses to sign a Uniform Summons and Complaint or a Violation Summons and Complaint after having been ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer commits a Class E crime. A law enforcement officer may not order a person to sign the Uniform Summons and Complaint for a civil violation unless the civil violation is an offense defined in Title 12; Title 28-A, section 2052; or this Title. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the venue for a violation of this subsection is the same judicial division as for the Uniform Summons and Complaint or Violation Summons and Complaint that the person refuses to sign.
[ 1997, c. 653, §12 (AMD) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1993, c. 683, §A2 (NEW). 1993, c. 683, §B5 (AFF). 1997, c. 653, §12 (AMD). 2013, c. 112, §9 (AMD). 2013, c. 482, §§6, 7 (AMD).