A NYC parking ticket poses many questions you should be able to answer
There are two definitions of a conundrum:
- A confusing or difficult problem or question
- A question asked for amusement, typically one with a pun in its answer; a riddle
One thing a parking ticket conundrum is not, and that is a “question asked for amusement.”
Here are some difficult questions and my answers
1. The rain in Spain is not an excuse to omit the “body type” of your chariot
From time to time a parking ticket warrior tries to slip one past us. For example, entering “N/S-rain” or “N/S-snow” for body type. And, there are times when a rogue parking ticket judge will find you guilty despite this misdescribed body type.
Don’t take this bad behavior lying down. Rain or snow is not an excuse to omit the correct description of the body type of your chariot. Body type is one of the 5 essential required elements that must be inserted on a NYC parking ticket (See, Matter of Ryder Truck and Matter of Wheels).
2. The “which is worse” conundrum?
Getting a traffic ticket for talking on your cell phone, or getting a parking ticket because you pulled over and stopped in a no standing zone (or any illegal parking space)?
In my humble opinion, do not stop in an illegal space and invite a warrior to nail you with a costly NYC parking ticket.
3. To appeal or not to appeal a guilty finding, that is the question?
At first glance, the success rate for parking ticket appeals is depressing. Only 13% of all appeals are reversed. Let’s dig a little deeper into this statistic.
Why are so few appeals successful? In my humble opinion, it’s because the driving public doesn’t apply the correct standard. They simply regurgitate the old, tired, unsuccessful arguments they made to the original judge.
The standard to win an appeal is to persuade the appeals panel that the original judge made a mistake of law or fact. For example, if the rogue judge found you guilty even though a warrior entered “N/S-rain” for the body type of your chariot, that’s a mistake of law. Or, the original judge parotted the opinion in a box language, “argument was unpersuasive” without setting for the why’s and the wherefore’s. Another mistake of law.
Start off your appeals with the following language, “The original judge made a mistake of law or fact because:” and follow that with one or more bullet points summarizing your points on appeal. For example, because:
- The body type of my vehicle was omitted or misdescribed
- The judge’s opinion was a net opinion without explaining the factual or legal basis. It demonstrated a bias in favor of the respondent and was arbitrary
- Or, the judge relied on mistakes of fact to support his finding of guilty
Then, briefly describe the why’s and wherefore’s.
4. If the bus fits, you must acquit
Boy, do I wish that were true. Johnny Cochran devised one of the most oft-repeated phrases in the history of jurisprudence. “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”
Mr. Cochran was a very successful lawyer in adult criminal court. However, he would have lost every single bus stop case. The length of a NYC bus has nothing to do with the length of a bus. A bus stop starts at the bus stop sign and extends in the direction of the arrow(s) until the next parking sign; or the end of the block.
I can’t tell you how many times members of the driving public have uttered, “there was plenty of room for the bus to enter and leave the bus stop.” Great, but that’s not the standard to apply when fighting a bus stop parking ticket. It is incumbent on us to prove that our car was not parked within the bus stop zone. Or, we stopped temporarily to expeditiously pick up or drop off people (not their stuff) and skedaddle.
5. The disabled vehicle defense
This defense is not a slam dunk in Parking Ticket Land. It is, however, an affirmative defense to a parking violation. This means a driver has the burden of proving all the elements of the defense:
- Your chariot was disabled
- It was expeditiously removed from the side of the road
- It was repaired and you have the receipt to prove it
That doesn’t mean:
- You pull over and two days later arrange for a tow truck to move your vehicle
- Your cousin came by, worked his magic and miracle of miracles, you car started right up
- You had your buddy come by and move your car with his special truck and he didn’t charge you
- The repair guy was your friend and didn’t charge you to fix your chariot
It’s great to have such talented friends. But, you lose unless you can prove your car was towed shortly after it became disabled, and was repaired by someone other than your cousin, and the nature of the repairs proves your car was not driveable. In other words, a broken wiper blade doesn’t support the defense.
When faced with a NYC parking ticket conundrum, do your homework and find the real answer. Don’t ever rely on a cop or warrior to solve your challenge. For example, I got a call from a client this morning advising me that a parking ticket warrior told him it was o.k. to block a driveway because there wasn’t a sign. C’mon man, you don’t get a sign warning you not to block a driveway.
And, to make matters worse, he said that there was a sign allowing commercial vehicles to load and unload. Great, but that still doesn’t grant a license to park in front of a driveway.