Did you get a parking ticket but feel it was unfair? It is easy to get frustrated when you receive a ticket but take a few deep breaths. If you are determined to appeal the parking ticket, you have to think clearly and rationally about your next steps.
You can either accept responsibility or fight the ticket, so here are 7 steps to contest your parking ticket and win.
1. Take Photos
If you are still at the scene, take photos if you feel the ticket was unfair. It’ll help you remember where your car was, where the curbs and road are, and any signs or meters. Any details may help you prove a parking ticket is invalid. If you already left the scene, it’s still a good tip for possible future situations.
2. Don’t Pay the Fines
Your parking ticket will come with instructions to pay the fine. Don’t pay the fine, as paying the ticket assumes liability. It’s also very difficult to reverse payment once you’ve made it. If you want to appeal, leave your ticket unpaid until after your hearing.
3. Identify the Law You Violated
Your ticket will tell you the statute you violated. Look for a checked box of numbers, and look up the number code. You can look it up online or at your local library. If your ticket doesn’t list a statute, you’re good! If it does, see if there are any loopholes. Some statues will say a sign has to be “visible” or “obvious,” and you have a chance of winning if you can show that a sign wasn’t obvious.
4. Write Your Appeal
You can physically write a dispute letter, or you can submit one online. In major cities, you may even be able to dispute through an app. The ticket will usually give instructions on how to appeal, so read those and follow the deadlines. Typically you will accrue penalties and fees if you wait to send it 30 days after the ticket was issued. It’s best to be unemotional, brief, and clear. Include the date and time of the ticket, statute cited on ticket, reason why you shouldn’t have been ticketed, and a conclusion of why your case should be dismissed. If you’re nervous to write your letter, check out a parking ticket appeal sample letter.
5. Attach Evidence
Include any evidence that supports your claim. This could be photographs, witness statements, or receipts for vehicle repairs if your vehicle was disabled at the time the ticket was issued. If you send your letter via mail, purchase tracking information.
Call the court to make sure they received your letter. It’s important because hundreds of inquiries a day, so you want to make sure yours isn’t overlooked.
7. Attend the Hearing
Not all cases will require a hearing. If yours does, arrive on time and dressed professionally. Bring multiple copies of the evidence. Speak clearly and politely, and don’t lie. It won’t make you look better, and you could be subject to extra charges if the court finds out.
With the right evidence and proper execution, you have a solid chance at winning your case. Many circumstances can render a ticket invalid!