Rule 4-704. Authority of court clerks.



To establish the authority of court clerks to extend the time for payment of fines, to dismiss citations issued for certain offenses, and to accept plea in abeyance agreements in certain limited circumstances.



This rule shall apply to all courts of record and courts not of record.


Statement of the Rule:

(1) Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the clerk of the court, for reasonable cause, is authorized to allow a defendant an extension of time to pay fines.


(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the judge, the clerk of the court is authorized to dismiss citations as provided in the Appendix C, Uniform Fine Schedule.


(3) Plea in abeyance agreements.


(3)(A) A judge—or if there is a presiding judge, the presiding judge—may direct the clerk of court to accept a plea in abeyance agreement in traffic offenses that are listed in Appendix C, Uniform Fine Schedule as not requiring an appearance by the defendant. The clerk of court shall follow the procedures of Title 77, Chapter 2a, Pleas in Abeyance, including:


(3)(A)(i) the offer by the prosecutor for a plea in abeyance, including the conditions established under paragraph (3)(B), may be on a case-by-case basis or by a written standing offer;


(3)(A)(ii) the defendant’s waiver of rights and acceptance of that offer shall always be in a writing signed by the defendant; and


(3)(A)(iii) the plea in abeyance order shall always be in a writing signed by the judge.


(3)(A)(iv) The writings required by the previous subsections may be included in the same document or record.


(3)(B) The conditions of a plea in abeyance authorized by this rule may include only payment of a plea in abeyance fee of no more than $25.00 above the recommended fine in the Uniform Fine Schedule, a period of good behavior not to exceed one year, and, if the offense is a moving violation of Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic Code, successfully completing traffic school.


(3)(C) If the defendant does not remit a fine as established by the court, or enter a plea in abeyance, the clerk of the court shall process the case for trial.


(3)(D)The defendant may file a written motion to withdraw a plea in abeyance within 30 days after entry of the plea. If the defendant timely moves to withdraw a plea, the clerk of the court shall set the matter before the judge.


Effective May 12, 2020