Judge’s Corner

By Nicole M. Benefiel Justice of the Peace City Judge

Topic:  Gift Certificates and Gift Cards Do Not Expire in Montana

   With the holidays upon us, many of us opt for gift certificates for the hard to buy for family member and/or loved ones.  For all those giving and receiving gift certificates this holiday season and throughout the year for any variety of occasions, it’s great knowing that this is a gift that does not have a time limit and does not expire.  The Montana Codes Annotated set forth this criteria in Section 30-14-108 MCA.

   Section 30-14-108 M.C.A. Termination of gift certificate prohibited — fee limitation — redemption — posting required. (1) A gift certificate is valid until redemption and does not terminate. A gift certificate is considered trust property of the possessor if the issuer or seller of the gift certificate declares bankruptcy after issuing or selling the gift certificate.

     (2) The value represented by the gift certificate belongs to the possessor and not to the issuer or seller. An issuer or seller may redeem a gift certificate presented by an individual whose name does not match the name on the gift certificate.

     (3) A gift certificate may not be reduced in value by any fee, including a dormancy fee applied if a certificate is not used.

     (4) If the original value of the gift certificate was more than $5 and the remaining value is less than $5 and the possessor requests cash for the remainder, the issuer or seller shall redeem the gift certificate for cash.

   FUN FACT/WACKIEST LAWS:  In Tennessee, you can shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.    

Topic: Open Container, Baker City Ordinance & State Statute

   With the celebration of holiday cheer in full swing this month of December, on behalf of Fallon County Justice Court and Baker City Court, I would like to remind everyone that while engaging in the festivities, please be mindful of both the local ordinances and state statutes to avoid any damper on the season.  Drink responsibly and enjoy the company of the loved ones who surround you.

   Baker City Ordinance 9.24.120.  Removal of opened beverages from bars.  It is unlawful for any person to remove from the premises of any duly licensed bar or lounge within the city limits, any opened cans or bottles of beer or other alcoholic beverages or any glasses containing beer or alcoholic beverages or mixture of alcoholic beverages.

   Baker City Ordinance 9.24.130.  Consumption of Alcoholic Beverage on Streets or Sidewalks.  It is unlawful for any person to openly consume any beer or alcoholic beverages or any mixture thereof, or to have in their possession any open cans or bottles of beer or glass or glasses containing any beer or other alcoholic beverages or mixtures thereof upon the streets, avenues, alleys or public sidewalks in or within the city limits.

   Baker City Ordinance 9.24.140.  Penalty for Violation.  Any person violating either Section 9.24.120 or Section 9.24.130, or any part thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred dollars and not to exceed three hundred dollars or a jail sentence not to exceed six months, or at the discretion of the police magistrate or city judge, may be subject to both such fine and jail sentence.

   Section 61-8-460 MCA. Unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage container in motor vehicle on highway. A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle if the person knowingly possesses an open alcoholic beverage container within the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway.

   A person convicted of the offense of unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle shall be fined an amount not to exceed $100.

   Fun Fact / World’s Wackiest Laws:  In Boston, it is illegal to serenade beneath a lady’s window late at night unless a special license is secured at City Hall.  An Oneida, Tennessee ordinance forbids anyone to sing the song “It Ain’t Goin’ To Rain No Mo’.”