Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by Lawrence Berezin
How to beat a fire hydrant parking ticket
An NYC fire hydrant parking ticket is one of the most iconic parking tickets of all time. Battle-scarred residents of New York City will always insist that they park their chariots more than fifteen feet from the hydrant. While myriad visitors to our fair city lament that they didn’t realize there was a fifteen-foot no-fly zone or no yellow curbs.
Beating an unjust fire hydrant violation is beautiful but doesn’t come easily. You better prepare to do
your homework and prepare a series of exhibits presenting your story persuasively.
I’ve had good luck battling these costly orange epistles, and I’d like to share some tips that set my clients free.
The “Place of Occurrence” is a parking ticket gold.
Every required element is essential. But, there is a needed element di tutti element. And that’s the place of occurrence for fire hydrant parking tickets.
I can’t tell you how many times a warrior misdescribed the location of our client’s car. By that, I mean the place of occurrence must identify a specific location within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. If not, you win.
Don’t waste your valuable time trying to prove you parked in a different location because a judge will not find your testimony persuasive in a “he-said-she-said” battle of places. The warrior will win that fight every time.
Instead, if a warrior enters a location on your parking ticket that is not within 15 feet of either side of a fire hydrant, make the misdescribed place of occurrence work for you. Show the judge proof that there is no fire hydrant within 15 feet.
How can you present the proper proof properly?
Your goal is to tell a story to a parking ticket judge with your exhibits that persuades him that you did not park your car within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. When a judge looks at your photographs (with captions), he should feel a sense of familiarity, just like he’s walking through the neighborhood where you parked your car.
What did Joe do wrong when he fought his fire hydrant parking ticket?
Joe (“fictitious”) parked his car more than 15 feet from a fire hydrant, yet he still received a fire hydrant violation.
Joe diligently prepared his defense letter and created some exhibits. Meanwhile, he fought his parking ticket by mail.
A few months later, Joe received a letter from the Evil Empire that he lost his case.
What went wrong?
What happens if the fire hydrant is invisible?
This defense is a little tricky to present. One of my proud friends sent the above image with all the garbage piled on top of the invisible fire hydrant. He fought the ticket and won. Case dismissed!
However, I recently fought an invisible fire hydrant parking ticket covered by an orange construction cone and lost. The judge found us guilty.
The facts in both cases revealed the judge’s rationale. In the garbage case, my friend didn’t live near the location of the invisible fire hydrant. In other words, the pile of garbage was only hiding the fire hydrant for a few days, and there were no facts that showed my friend ever visited the location or knew there was a fire hydrant. And garbage is not a permanent obstruction.
On the other hand, in the case I lost, my client lived only two blocks from the hidden fire hydrant, and the judge inferred that she knew there was a fire hydrant at the location.
I beat a fire hydrant parking ticket with this series of exhibits
Click on the first exhibit to view the gallery
You must know a lot of stuff to make sense of the fire hydrant rule. For example:
- A passenger car is permitted to stop, stand, or park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant from sunrise to sunset as long as a licensed driver remains seated behind the wheel with the keys ready to move the car on the request of a person authorized to ask you to move
- A commercial vehicle can never stop, stand or park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, whether occupied or not
- You might be guilty of a fire hydrant violation even if the hydrant was invisible.
- A parking sign permitting a vehicle to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant is a defense against a fire hydrant parking ticket.
And the beat goes on.
Tips are a good thing. Likewise, the right tip applied correctly can turn a $115 fire hydrant ticket into $0.00. Do you believe in magic? Then click and get 10 of Larry’s best tips.