2002 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Ross, Kirby, Posey
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 99-19-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR THE WAIVER OF THE RIGHT TO TRIAL AND PAYMENT OF FINE WITHOUT APPEARING IN COURT FOR TRAFFIC, MOTOR VEHICLE AND GAME AND FISH MISDEMEANOR VIOLATIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 99-33-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; TO REPEAL SECTION 21-23-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE WAIVER OF TRIAL AND PAYMENT OF FINE WITHOUT APPEARING IN MUNICIPAL COURT; TO REPEAL SECTION 63-9-29, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE WAIVER OF TRIAL AND PAYMENT OF FINE WITHOUT APPEARING IN JUSTICE COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 99-19-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-19-3. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person indicted for a criminal offense shall not be convicted thereof, unless by confession of his guilt in open court or by admitting the truth of the charge against him by his plea, or by the verdict of a jury accepted and recorded in court. A person charged with an offense shall not be punished therefor unless legally convicted thereof in a court having jurisdiction of the cause and of the person.
(2) In all cases in the circuit, county, justice and municipal courts involving a traffic misdemeanor violation or a game and fish misdemeanor violation where a person has been issued a ticket or has been formally charged by affidavit, indictment or information and desires to waive a trial and not appear in court and defend the charge, the amount of the fine, in the discretion of the court, may be paid in advance to the clerk of the court. When the fine is paid in advance, the person cited must be notified by language plainly printed on a waiver form or the ticket of the person's right to a trial and the consequences of the voluntary advance payment of the fine. In cases where formal charges have been made and the person charged has been notified to appear in court at a certain date and time, the clerk of the court is authorized to accept a cash appearance bond, not to exceed the amount of the fine, conditioned upon the appearance of the person in court at the cited date and time. In the event of default, the cash appearance bond may be forfeited in payment of any judgment in the case in an amount not to exceed the amount of the bond; and in such cases of cash appearance bond forfeiture, it shall be final without necessity of judgment nisi and issuance of the writ of scire facias. In the event a person so cited or charged pays a fine in advance after notice of the person's rights, this shall constitute a waiver of formal charge, arraignment and trial; and in such cases and in cases of default on cash appearance bond, such action shall be a plea of nolo contendere by such person and the court, upon the advance payment of fine or the default on cash appearance bond, may convict the person of the offense stated in the ticket or formal charges without further appearance by the person. Traffic convictions shall be reported to the Commissioner of Public Safety as required by law and convictions for any offense charged by a conservation officer shall be reported to the Commissioner of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks as required by law. It shall not be necessary to enter traffic misdemeanor cases in the municipal court docket.
(3) For the purposes of this section:
(a) The term "fine" means, in addition to the pecuniary punishment, all fees, costs, assessments and other charges required by law to be imposed in such cases.
(b) The term "traffic misdemeanor" means a violation of traffic or motor vehicle laws that do not require mandatory imprisonment upon conviction but shall not include repeat offenders where a sentence of imprisonment is likely and shall not include charges under the Mississippi Implied Consent Law.
(c) The term "game and fish misdemeanor" means a violation not punishable by imprisonment and charged by a conservation officer.
SECTION 2. Section 99-33-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
99-33-3. On affidavit of the commission of any crime, of which the justice court has jurisdiction, lodged with the justice court, the clerk shall, upon direction by a justice court judge of the county, issue a warrant for the arrest of the offender returnable forthwith or on a certain day to be named. The clerk, or the justice court judge to whom the case is assigned, shall issue subpoenas for witnesses as in civil cases, and the justice court judge may enter a conviction as provided in Section 99-19-3, or shall try and dispose of the case according to law; and, on conviction, shall order such punishment to be inflicted as the law provides; provided, however, that no fine imposed shall be in an amount less than Fifteen Dollars ($15.00).
SECTION 3. Section 21-23-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for the waiver of trial and payment of fine without appearing in municipal court, is repealed.
SECTION 4. Section 63-9-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for the waiver of trial and payment of fine without appearing in justice court, is repealed.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.