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This entry was published on 2021-07-02
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SECTION 226
Summons; answer
Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 2, ARTICLE 2-A
§ 226. Summons; answer. 1. Summons. The commissioner shall be
authorized to prescribe by regulation the form for the summons and
complaint to be used for all traffic violations specified in subdivision
one of section two hundred twenty-five of this chapter, and to establish
procedures for proper administrative controls over the disposition
thereof. Such summons may be the same as the uniform summons provided
for in section two hundred seven of this chapter. The chief executive
officer of each local police force which is required to use the summons
and complaint provided for herein shall prepare or cause to be prepared
such records and reports as may be prescribed by the commissioner.

1-a. Return date notifications. The commissioner shall notify any
person who receives a summons and complaint for any traffic violation
specified in subdivision one of section two hundred twenty-five of this
article of the time and place of the return date for such summons, no
later than one week prior to such return date. The commissioner shall
send such notification by first class mail at the address of such person
on file with the department or at the current address provided by the
United States postal service in accordance with section two hundred
fourteen of this title.

2. Answer. (a) General. Any person who receives a summons for a
violation described in subdivision one of section two hundred
twenty-five of this chapter shall answer such summons by personally
appearing on the return date at the time and place specified therein.
Provided, however, that an answer may be made as provided in paragraphs
(b) and (c) of this subdivision and the regulations of the commissioner.

(b) Answer by mail -- admitting charge. If a person charged with the
violation admits to the violation as charged in the summons, he may
complete an appropriate form prescribed by the commissioner and forward
such form and summons, together with the appropriate part of his
license, if required by the commissioner's regulations, to the office of
the department specified on such summons. If a schedule of penalties for
violations has been established, and such schedule appears on the answer
form, a check or money order in the amount of the penalty for the
violation charged if included in such schedule, must also be submitted
with such answer. Unless permitted by the regulations of the
commissioner, such plea may not be made by mail for any offense for
which suspension or revocation of a driver's license is required by law,
or for any other offense if the conviction thereof would result in a
hearing pursuant to a highway safety program established under the
provisions of subdivision three of section five hundred ten of this
chapter.

(c) Answer by mail - denial of charges. If the person charged with the
violation denies part or all of the violation as charged in the summons,
he may complete an appropriate form prescribed by the commissioner for
that purpose and forward such form and summons to the office of the
department specified on such summons. Upon receipt, such answer shall be
entered and a hearing date established by the department. The department
shall notify such person by return mail of the date of such hearing.

3. Failure to answer or appear; entry of order. (a) If the person
charged with the violation shall fail to answer the summons as provided
herein, the commissioner may suspend such person's license or driving
privilege or, if the charge involves a violation of section three
hundred eighty-five, section four hundred one or section five hundred
eleven-a of this chapter by a registrant who was not the operator of the
vehicle, the registration of such vehicle or the privilege of operation
of any motor vehicle owned by such registrant may be suspended, until
such person shall answer as provided in subdivision two of this section,
or has paid the fine associated with a conviction entered as a result of
the failure to appear in response to such summons, or the defendant has
been acquitted of the charge that led to the suspension or such charge
was otherwise dismissed. If a person shall fail to appear at a hearing,
when such is provided for pursuant to this section, such person's
license, or registration or privilege of operating or of operation, as
appropriate, may be suspended pending appearance at a subsequent
hearing, or the disposition of the charges involved. Any suspension
permitted by this subdivision, if already in effect, may be terminated
or if not yet in effect, may be withdrawn or withheld, prior to the
disposition of the charges involved if such person shall appear and post
security in the amount of forty dollars to guarantee his or her
appearance at any required hearing. The security posted pursuant to this
subdivision shall be returned upon appearance at the scheduled hearing
or an adjourned hearing which results in a final disposition of the
charge, and otherwise shall be forfeited. If a suspension has been
imposed pursuant to this subdivision and the case is subsequently
transferred pursuant to subdivision two of section two hundred
twenty-five of this article, such suspension shall remain in effect
until the person answers the charges in the court to which the case was
transferred. Any suspension issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be
subject to the provisions of paragraph (j-1) of subdivision two of
section five hundred three of this chapter.

(b) Failure to answer or appear in accordance with the requirements of
this section and any regulations promulgated hereunder shall be deemed
an admission to the violation as charged, and an appropriate order may
be entered in the department's records, and a fine consistent with the
provisions of this chapter and regulations of the commissioner may be
imposed by the commissioner or person designated by the commissioner.
Prior to entry of an order and imposition of a fine, the commissioner
shall notify such person by mail at the address of such person on file
with the department or at the current address provided by the United
States postal service in accordance with section two hundred fourteen of
this title: (i) of the violation charged; (ii) of the impending entry of
such order and fine; (iii) that such order and fine may be filed as a
judgment with the county clerk of the county in which the operator or
registrant is located; and (iv) that entry of such order and imposition
of such fine may be avoided by entering a plea or making an appearance
within thirty days of the sending of such notice. In no case shall such
an order and fine be entered and imposed more than two years after the
date of the alleged violation. Upon application in such manner and form
as the commissioner shall prescribe an order and fine shall be vacated
upon the ground of excusable default.