City of Decatur Administrative Code Enforcement System (ACES)
The City of Decatur Administrative Code Enforcement System (ACES) hears many cases involving violations of Decatur City Code.
Administrative hearings are held in City Council Chambers on the third floor of Decatur Civic Center.
Administrative hearings are held to adjudicate violations of Decatur City Code. Violations of city code are called ordinance violations. A city ordinance violation is not a charge for violating state law. For example, state traffic, misdemeanor or felony charges are prosecuted by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office – not by the city. This is not a criminal proceeding. It is civil in nature.
Cases filed in ACES are punishable by fines, orders to abate, restitution and other similar penalties.
Common examples of city ordinance violations include trespass, retail theft, curfew, breach of peace, illegal sound amplification, consumption of alcohol by a minor, illegal open burning of yard waste, boating violations, neighborhood nuisances and housing code violations.
At an administrative hearing, a Hearing Officer — not the city – will determine whether an alleged violation occurred.
At the hearing, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. One will not be appointed for you. You have the right to a hearing.
You may admit the violation or deny the violation and have a hearing. Under city ordinance, continuances will not be granted, except where absolutely necessary to protect the rights of the parties. Lack of preparation shall not be grounds for a continuance. Continuances are not granted to speak with an attorney.
Please advise the hearing officer whether you understand your rights. If you wish to admit the violation, please advise the hearing officer. If you do admit, or are found to be in violation, you will be fined for the ordinance violation plus costs of the administrative hearing.
In an administrative hearing, you may provide written statements of witnesses as a substitute for actual presence of the witness. The City may use police reports or reports by other city employees as evidence in place of any testimony at the hearing.
After a finding of violation or an admission, you have 35 days to appeal this decision to the Circuit Court.
Please note – the Council Chambers uses electronic recording devices to record proceedings.
I received a Notice to Appear for a City of Decatur ordinance violation. Now what?
The person receiving a notice of ordinance violation may appear at an administrative adjudicatory hearing to contest the validity of the violation in City Council Chambers, third floor of Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza, 62523 at the date and time specified on the citation. Failure to appear at the hearing will result in a default judgment entered against the violator and a final determination of liability for the fine plus costs of the administrative hearing. Any unpaid fine or penalty will constitute a debt due and owed to the city. The judgment will be enforceable in Circuit Court.
Do I have to attend the ACES hearing?
POLICE, FIRE AND LAKE VIOLATIONS: If you received a notice to appear from the Decatur Police Department, Decatur Fire Department, or Decatur Lake Patrol, you may admit the violation and pay the fine in full in advance and waive an administrative adjudicatory hearing. Paying in full in advance avoids administrative hearing costs of $140.
NUISANCE CASES: If you received a notice to abate a nuisance (e.g., for having tall weeds or grass), you may admit the violation and pay the fine in full in advance only with prior approval from the legal department. Approval is granted only if the city has verified the problem has been corrected before the court date. For more information, call the city???s legal department at 217 424-2807. Paying in full in advance avoids administrative hearing costs of $140.
HOUSING CODE VIOLATIONS: If you received a notice to abate a Housing Code violation, you may not pay the fine in advance of the hearing. In these cases, the city will ask the Hearing Officer to order the violator to correct the problem.
What happens if I don’t show up at the hearing?
Failure to appear at the hearing will result in a default judgment entered against the violator and a final determination of liability for the fine plus costs of the administrative hearing. Any unpaid fine or penalty will constitute a debt due and owed to the city. The judgment will be enforceable in Circuit Court.
How can I pay the fine?
You may pay in person at the City of Decatur Finance Department on the second floor of Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K Anderson Plaza, Decatur, IL 62523, or by mailing a check or money order payable to the City of Decatur to the above address.
Can I make a deal to pay a lesser amount?
No. Decatur City Code mandates minimum fines for the offenses.
What if I need time to pay?
The city expects payment in full in 30 days. If you are found to be in violation of city ordinance, the Hearing Officer will issue an order to pay the fine. If the violator disobeys the Hearing Officer’s order, the city will seek to enforce the judgment in Circuit Court.
What if I need a continuance?
Under city ordinance, continuances will not be granted, except where absolutely necessary to protect the rights of the parties. Lack of preparation shall not be grounds for a continuance. Continuances are not granted to speak with an attorney.
Will this go “on my record”? What happens if I admit I violated a city ordinance?
The city’s attorneys serve as prosecutors of ordinance violations, and they cannot provide legal advice to the violator. Such questions are more appropriately answered by the alleged violator’s private attorney.
ACES hearings are not criminal proceedings. ACES hearings are civil in nature for city ordinance violations.