Officials head to Orchard Beach for OATH outreach

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ORCHARD BEACH -

The Criminal Justice Reform Act took effect last month, transferring crimes like public alcohol consumption, littering and excessive noise from the criminal courthouse to a new Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, or OATH for short.

Instead of jail time and a judge, penalties are reduced to community service and cases are administered by hearing officers.

OATH officials went to Orchard Beach Wednesday to raise awareness about the program.

"The most important thing to know is never ever ignore a summons," says Fidel Del Valle, the city's OATH commissioner. "Before, you had to go in person to criminal court. Now you can do it by going online, putting in your defense online, and you can get an answer in a few days."

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