NYC parking ticket mistakes can be avoided
I wish there were only seven NYC parking ticket mistakes a driver can make, but fixing seven of ’em is a great start. Parking fines range from a low $35 for an expired meter violation outside of Manhattan to a ghastly fine of $515 for a second offense of parking a tractor-trailer on a residential street between 9 PM and 5 AM.
Where should we begin? How about the worst mistake a driver can make?
1. Paying an NYC parking ticket “No Questions Asked”
I hate losing a fight against the Evil Empire, but let me assure you when we’re right we put of a heck-of-a fight.
What about the drivers that don’t “have the time or inclination” to check a parking ticket for mistakes or formulate a winning defense? Those knuckleheads account for 7M of the approximately 10M tickets issued. Can you imagine, 7M tickets are paid “No Questions Asked.” That’s one sure-fire way to fund the Evil Empire.
What about the other 3M parking tickets? 50% of those parking tickets are dismissed (Plus a small percentage of appeals are reversed).
C mon man, do your homework. Look for omitted, misdescribed, or illegible required elements.
Check whether there is a defense to your parking violation. For example, as we all know, a defense to a no standing violation is stopping temporarily to drop off or pick up a passenger, and leave immediately.
2. Not checking a detailed description of the place of occurrence for accuracy
There are three ways a parking ticket warrior can describe the place of occurrence:
- Detailed description
The first two methods are easy to understand. However, the third format can be confusing. Here’s what it looks like:
“S/S 14th Avenue 0 feet W/ of 40th Street.”
It means, “South Side of 14th Avenue, 0 feet West of 40th Street” (Brooklyn).
The first thing I do is to check whether the parking violation our customer was charged with regulates the parking spaces at the place of location. Does the parking rule live on the South Side of 14th Avenue? The next step is to check the identity of the rule that regulates the curb space 0 feet West of 40th Street. Our customer was charged with a crosswalk violation so the 0 feet is correct, but…
Lo and behold, when I researched the rule/location I discovered that there wasn’t a South Side of 14th Avenue in Brooklyn. 14th Avenue runs North-South so there is an East Side and West Side of the street. Yea, we win!
The tough part is how do we prove there is no South Side, only East-West Sides?
I use the DOT Parking Regulation Map (Text version). Here’s how to hunt for the gold.
As you can see from the series of exhibits and particularly Exhibit 3, there are East and West sides of 14th Avenue in Brooklyn, not North and South sides. 3-cheers for the good guys. Ticket dismissed.
3. Assuming the parking ticket judge will do the heavy lifting
Recently, a wonderful member of the driving public posed a question on the blog. He asked why his NYC parking ticket wasn’t dismissed, despite having told the judge that the rule regulating the place of occurrence was misdescribed on his parking ticket.
“The judge has the tools available to check out the parking sign. Why didn’t he take 30 seconds to look it up?”
Parking ticket judges or any judges for that matter aren’t your wingmen. They don’t fill in the blanks. They don’t help you present your evidence.
What they will do is verify the information you provide them. For example, if you claim a certain rule regulates the place of occurrence, and present exhibits supporting your defense, they’ll check it out hoping you’re wrong. But, they are not going to check it out because you said it was true and didn’t provide the proper proof.
4. Not presenting the proper proof, properly
There are 99 separate parking violations each with their own special defenses in Parking Ticket Land. Here’s a link to a wonderful guide published by our friends at the NYC Parking Violation Bureau, “Got Tickets? Your Guide to Parking Ticket Hearings.” It lists all the parking violations, the defenses that will set you free, and the evidence required by the PVB.
A client of ours got a crosswalk parking ticket, which he fought. He submitted:
- An invoice to prove that he was making a delivery to a nearby store when the crosswalk parking ticket was issued
- Photographs showing his van wasn’t parked in the crosswalk
Guess what? He lost because he offered the wrong proof to beat a crosswalk violation. What does an invoice have to do with proving his van wasn’t parked in a crosswalk. And, how much weight is a parking ticket judge going to give photographs showing a van that wasn’t parked in a crosswalk? How about none weight.
The judge simply stated that there was no proof that the van wasn’t moved out of the crosswalk before taking the photographs.
Learn what defense beats what parking violation and present the proper proof, properly.
5. Simply submit photographs and explain them in your defense certification
Tests have shown that pictures with words are more persuasive than pictures alone.
I prepare exhibits using Mac Keynote (Mac’s version of PowerPoint). I add captions and symbols to enhance the exhibits, reinforce my story, and make it as easy as possible for the judge to find our client not guilty. Here are some examples:
Our defense was a lack of service of the parking violation. The rule requires a parking ticket warrior to insert our name on the parking ticket if we’re sitting behind the wheel of our chariot when the parking ticket was issued. I’ve suggested to our customers to take a few photographs with their smartphones while the warrior is issuing the ticket to prove they were seated behind the wheel.
Great proof. Wonderful exhibit. Caption confirms our story. Ticket dismissed.
Our defense was a misdescribed body type. The warrior entered 4DSD when our chariot was a SUBN. We presented the legal definition of SUBN, which is 5-doors and a rear seat that folds down to transport cargo. Great exhibit. Wonderful caption. Ticket dismissed.
Our defense certification has about 10 seconds to capture a parking ticket judge’s attention and motivate her to read more and carefully examine our exhibits. If it makes you feel better ranting about the inequities of the NYC parking ticket system, and throwing a verbal hissy fit, do it. I promise you it will cost you dearly.
A parking ticket judge isn’t going to spend his pressurized time reading your tale of woe. Begging for forgiveness or telling the judge you never got a parking ticket isn’t going to work. Guilty ca-ching.
Present the correct defense with the proper proofs in a respectful, knowledgeable way and you will win 8-10 times. The other two times, you will win on appeal.
7. When you’re right-Fight!
When you’re wrong, pay the man and move on.
I hear from some of the wonderful members of the driving public who tell me they fight every ticket and win most. Balderdash! It’s challenging enough to win the ones you should win. I don’t believe you can pull the wool over the Evil Empire’s eyes the same way I don’t believe a gambler that “wins ’em all.”
Check for misdescribed, omitted, required elements. If none, match the correct defense with your parking violation and present the proper proof, properly. If you can’t, don’t waste your valuable time. Live to fight the good fight another day.