5 Steps To Fight A Parking Ticket
Herlinda Castagnoli USC Gould School of Law, 1L/Rising 2L
Jackson Simmer on Unsplash
Parking tickets are a financial inconvenience that many do not have the resources to pay for.
When your parking ticket was issued for a violation you are sure you did not commit, you have the power to contest the ticket and not pay the fine.
Here are the steps you should take.
1. Take pictures of signs, cars and everything else.
When you receive the ticket, whether you’re present when the police officer issued it or not, make sure to take pictures of the scene.
You will want to photograph the location of your car, and markings on the road or curb, parking meters, any traffic signs surrounding the area and how those signs stand in relation to your vehicle.
This information will be important for future evidence when you contest the ticket.
2. Know local laws.
Different states have different rules about what constitutes illegal parking.
For example, in some states, a car can be ticketed only if it’s unoccupied at a red painted curb.
In others, you can get a ticket even if you’re sitting in the car at these spots.
3. Appeal on time.
Parking tickets will have details about the alleged violation and when/where/how you can appeal.
While you can often appeal online, the best option is to appeal in person.
This will make it easier to provide the evidence you collected in Step 1, which is important since the government will make a decision on your appeal by considering how likely it is that you committed the offense.
4. Don’t pay the fine.
If you pay the parking ticket, liability is assumed.
When you appeal, you do not have to pay the parking ticket unless you do not win your hearing.
5. Attend the hearing.
If the officer does show up or this law does not apply to your state, do your best to impress the judge by coming to court on time.
You want the judge to rule in your favor, so being polite and agreeable is a necessary tactic.
Most importantly, be honest. Lying is illegal, and the judge will likely call your bluff.