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Parking Tickets

  1. Nov 18, 2009 #1
    The other day I received a parking ticket that I think is bogus. Unfortunately I do not think I have any recourse.

    I live in a building that has businesses on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. Occasionally when I get home early I park at the curb in front of the building. Sometimes on the weekends I park there and leave my car there all weekend. Because of the businesses there are signs saying "Two Hour Parking Only". But these signs are accompanied by portions of the curb which are painted which led me to believe that the painted portions of the curb are the "Two Hour Parking Only" zones while the rest of the unpainted curb is free for what ever use. But now after a couple months I find a ticket on my car telling me that I have parked over the two hour limit even though I was not parked on the painted curb.

    I called the police department and the dispatcher tells me that if there are no other signs and nothing else printed on the sign that indicates otherwise then only the painted areas should be considered two hour parking. So if I am right, and she is right, and the parking laws make any sense at all then I should not have gotten the ticket.

    The issue I find my self contemplating though is whether or not it is worth it to challenge the ticket. The ticket itself is for $46. I can pay it online or over the phone even I think. If I challenge the ticket I am fairly certain that I will have to take it to the court house. I will have to get a disposable camera and take pictures of the area and the signs and have them developed. I will have to go to the court house early in the morning after I get off work and spend a couple of hours there minimum to get in front of a judge and inform the court that I wish to challenge the ticket. Then I will more than likely be given a court date to show up and challenge the ticket and have to return on another day early in the morning after getting off of work and spend another two or three hours waiting to get in front of a judge. At this point the judge may simply decide that I must have been parked in the painted area and make me pay the ticket anyway since I have no means of proving that I was not parked in the painted area.

    But.. even if I do successfully challenge the ticket all I have succeeded in doing with all of my time and effort is not paying a $46 fine. If one officer made the mistake of citing my vehicle due to the ambiguous zoning then any other officer could do the same and I will still risk having my vehicle ticketed by parking there.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2009 #2


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    And now you've learned why it's so lucrative to give out parking tickets. People just pay them because it costs too much to fight them in not just court costs, but time. You're likely to have the ticket dismissed if you do take it to court, because often the cop writing the ticket won't even bother to show up, but even if you win, you lose, because you still end up paying the court fees, which could be more than the ticket (another reason judges are happy to dismiss a parking ticket...the city gets the money either way).
  4. Nov 18, 2009 #3
    The only option left, when confronted with two equally undesirable choices, is to do neither.
  5. Nov 18, 2009 #4


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    Find out who gave you the ticket...
  6. Nov 18, 2009 #5
    Woww, so you get a bogus ticket and somehow it's your fault. It seems that you either pay the ticket or you pay to go to court... That is completely rediculous.

    I agree with jason... just find out who gave you the ticket... PM me their name... it'll all be taken care of by the next morning :tongue:
  7. Nov 18, 2009 #6
    I was watching a show on parking enforcement in detroit last night and they were booting cars that had outstanding tickets. One guy they booted said he had a hearing scheduled to fight the ticket and they told him he would have to pay the ticket to get the boot off, hearing or not.
  8. Nov 18, 2009 #7
    You can contest it. Take pictures and show the judge. I've had two parking ticket thrown out before by doing this.

    One for parking in between handicap parking spaces, this space I parked in was not designated. It was thrown out.

    The other was at an expired parking meter. It was tested and found to be faulty. That one was thrown out.
  9. Nov 18, 2009 #8

    Ben Niehoff

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    What city do you live in? Some places are so backlogged in the courts that if you challenge a ticket, it will be automatically waived (or rescinded, or whatever the correct term is). New York is one such example, I hear.
  10. Nov 18, 2009 #9
    What court costs do you have to pay to fight a parking ticket, Moonbear? (We don't have that here, so I'm curious.)
  11. Nov 18, 2009 #10
    Yeah, most people are not interested in challenging any sort of citation. Apparently there was/is an area of in LA where parking enforcement show up like clockwork to ticket vehicles for being parked on the street on street sweeping day but the street sweeper rarely if ever actually sweeps the streets there. I think that some people were trying to fight it at the same time that the city was trying to increase the fines.

    As far as the officer showing up I am fairly certain that he will. Around here they actually assign officers days to be in court to testify for any arrests or tickets that they gave out and the court will assign the day for any challenge to those issues for the days that the officer is assigned. This is apparently part of the strategy of lawyers asking for extensions because the newly assigned date for appearance may not coincide with the officer's assigned day in court.

    I must pay or run the risk of my car being booted. Also I will be unable to renew my vehicle registration as long as I have any outstanding citations.

    I can, I am sure, it is just the cost of accomplishing this that makes it seem as though it is not worth it. The major issue being that I work at night and will be spending hours in a courthouse after being at work all night long taking away from my sleep. And since it will not prevent future tickets it hardly seems a valuable use of my time. I am actually fairly certain that it was an owner of one of the businesses below my apartment that called to have my vehicle cited.

    I live in Long Beach. I am sure that the courts are backlogged but I doubt that they will care. I am sure that they have all sorts of loons show up saying that they should not have received their ticket and prefer to send them on rather than deal with them themselves so I would have to spend at least two mornings in the courthouse and would probably still have to provide photos just incase.

    Does anyone know of places where you can challenge a ticket at the police station rather than having to go to court?
  12. Nov 18, 2009 #11


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    Well, I got a bogus ticket once. I decided to fight it and lodged my intent to do so. That was two or three years ago. Haven't heard back from them.

    Sometimes, if you wait long enough, a problem just goes away...

    But you've got to be sure to declare your intent in the time limit, or it will be assumed you plead guilty.
  13. Nov 18, 2009 #12
    Sometimes problems get lost in the bureaucracy of a legal system only to jump out and bite you in the behind years down the road. ;-)

    I'm considering. I still have about a week I think.
  14. Nov 18, 2009 #13
    Exercise your Constitutional rights! If you don't think it's worth it, then we can't help you. It's inconvenient, it seems to be a waste of time, but if you've been wronged and aren't goint to do anything about then what's the point of complaining about it? The only way to contest it is with the JUDICIAL BRANCH (going to court), not the EXECUTIVE BRANCH (the cops do not care, it's not their job).
  15. Nov 18, 2009 #14


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    Will you be losing money (missing a job) if you go to court? If you're not working, have a flexible schedule, or are at college, you might want to go to court just for... the experience. I'm not kidding. It's actually pretty fascinating just to see how shockingly efficient the judicial system is at extracting the maximum amount of money from each defendant. (You'll see 50 people go before you, most with basically identical tickets, and each will get screwed to a degree very obviously connected to their apparent socioeconomic status.) You will definitely learn a thing or two about cops, radar guns, speed limits, ways to piss off or make friends with cops, what really happens to you if you get a DUI, and how courts and judges work in general. What you learn might even help you avoid another ticket -- because you'll understand the system, not because it'll "scare you straight."

    - Warren
  16. Nov 19, 2009 #15
    I'll repeat my question and add that anyone can respond to it.

    When you attend traffic court in the States to argue a ticket, and you win, there are still costs attached to having appeared? Truly?
  17. Nov 19, 2009 #16
    chroot's makes a good case (pun!) for going to court. IT IS INTERESTING. I go just about any time a get a ticket. Every couple of years or so. I can at least get the amount cut in half.

    And it is funny to watch people forego getting a ticket cut in half just so they can complain about how they were absolutely sure they weren't going the speed that the radar picked them up at. Or, they question whether it was properly calibrated. It's like watching People's Court. Watching people totally shoot their case down by opening their mouth while having some rebelious chip on their shoulder. Though it is inconvenient to go to court it has a comedic value that can just about make up for the hassle.

    It costs nothing but time to contest a traffic or parking violation. And a days vacation or unpaid time off work, of course.
  18. Nov 19, 2009 #17
    I was just wondering really if my assessment was about correct. I had not even considered that I may have to pay court fees as Moonie points out. Also opening a thread where others can share their stories of tickets that they received which they may not have deserved.

    In the end I have no idea what the judge will do. For all my trouble he may well tell me that I and the officer I spoke to are wrong and I have to pay it anyway. He may be fed up with losers who think they know the system trying to get out of tickets and simply assume that the officer would not have issued the citation if I was not improperly parked.

    On the other hand, even if I get it dismissed, I have lost several hours of sleep and paid for a camera and photo processing only to not have to pay $46 dollars. I will not gain the right to park in front of the building in which I live without being cited, which is my real concern over the money (parking where I live and with my schedule is a *****).

    As I noted I work nights. I have also already been to court and even this one in particular. From my experience I will get out by about noon unless I am so unlucky as to not be called before lunch. It will quite literally cost me sleep to do this. I also do not get paid time off which means I will lose wages if I take a day off for this. At least if I decide to do this it will not be necessary to take a day off.

    You know I am not really sure. I had not even thought of it until Moonie mentioned it. Civil Court charges fees. Criminal and Traffic court generally simply add fees to your fines. The actual fine for my ticket may only be $15-20.
    I have been looking at the local .gov and it does not say anything about fees for contesting a citation.
    Looked some more. Not finding anything.
  19. Nov 19, 2009 #18


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    In my experience, you only have to pay court fees if you are found guilty. If, for instance, the cop doesn't show up, then the ticket is no longer legal, and the court cannot charge you anything.

    - Warren
  20. Nov 19, 2009 #19


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    Do parking tickets go on one's driving record? If they do, would they raise one's insurance rate(s)?

    Those two reasons alone would make me pursue getting the ticket waved.
  21. Nov 19, 2009 #20
    Careful with that plan. I sent in a ticket for a court date, didn't hear from them after3 months I called the court house and they said there was no record of the ticket, a couple months later I called again and was told the same and to forget about it, the officer probably never filed it. Two and a half years later I was pulled over and arrested for a suspended license for that very same ticket.
  22. Nov 19, 2009 #21
    Not in my experience. You are only charged court costs if you are found guilty or take a plea. If the case is tossed or you are found inocent you don't incure court fees. I would be very surprised if any jurisdiction could charge you in such a case, if they could there wouldn't be any municipalities with debt thats for sure!
  23. Nov 19, 2009 #22


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    I've just looked this up and apparently, in most states, parking tickets do not go on your driving record. They are considered "civil violations".
  24. Nov 19, 2009 #23
    I've been in court a few times in WA & AK and there isn't a court fee in traffic court. They typically cut the penalty in half just for showing and not contesting it. But if you do contest the violation and do not convince the judge it was unjust, you pay the entire fine. And they run people through pretty quickly.
  25. Nov 19, 2009 #24


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    Ditto on the fees if you win. I forgot to take care of my state inspection last year and got a ticket for it. The officer told me to go to court after I got the inspection and they would waive the ticket. After watching some interesting (and laughable) cases, mine came up. I showed my inspection and they waived it. Just to make sure, I checked with the clerk and was told that I didn't owe anything.
  26. Nov 19, 2009 #25
    That's the way it is here. You must have a "moving violation" for it to effect your driving record. Though here, as I already mentioned, the DMV will be aware of any parking tickets and they will demand that you pay them before you may renew registration or your drivers license.
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