By John Schaffner

The Atlanta City Council moved June 21 to clarify the penalty that can be imposed upon violators of the city’s parking enforcement laws.

District 11 City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms, a former Magistrate Court judge, introduced legislation stating that parking enforcement violations will be prosecuted in the future as “non-criminal civil cases.” The measure was approved by a vote of 11-0. The measure now goes to the mayor for final approval.

In previous cases, violations were prosecuted as criminal in nature, Bottoms said. “Our city laws did not clearly state that these cases are in fact civil in nature, which created some difficulty for our city solicitor.”

The imposition of a civil penalty will not be recorded as a part of the criminal record of the person upon which such a penalty is imposed. The Atlanta Municipal Court is now authorized to impose a civil monetary penalty against persons who violate city parking enforcement laws in an amount of $1,000 or less for each violation.