Last Updated on July 21, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
A defective body type required element is a get-out-of-jail-free card
Joe was furious when he returned to his chariot and found a bright orange parking ticket for parking too close to a fire hydrant silently resting under his windshield wiper. Joe was absolutely certain he parked more than 15 feet away from the pump. Joe even walked off the distance between his car and the pump using his size 13 shoes as a “ruler.”
Since Joe was an avid reader of Larry’s Blog (a little self-promotion music maestro, please), he knew the first thing to do was to check the front of his NYC parking ticket for omitted, misdescribed, or illegible required elements. Wow! Joe found a defect. His car is a 2DSD and the parking ticket warrior entered 4DSD. Joe let out a wild shriek…”I’m home free. I win!”
But does he?
What standard does NYC apply to determine whether the body type of a vehicle is misdescribed?
If Joe’s car is registered in NY State, the body type entered on the parking ticket must be an exact match of the body type listed on Joe’s vehicle registration.
However, the Evil Empire asserts that the body type only has to be “reasonably accurate,” if Joe’s car is registered in another state.
What in the Mayor Michael Bloomberg does “reasonably accurate” mean? That depends on the eye of the beholder parking ticket judge (you say tomato, I say Tomah to).
To make matters more confusing, my experience is that some of our parking ticket judges will dismiss a parking ticket for 4DSD versus 2DSD while other judges will not; regardless of the state of registration.
However, according to the court in Crichlow v NYC Dept. of Fin. Adjudication Div., 2011 NY Slip Op 50765(U) Decided on April 28, 2011, Supreme Court, Queens County McDonald, J., NYC is required to dismiss a parking ticket issued to a vehicle if the warrior inserts 2DSD instead of 4DSD regardless of the state of registry (in this case, the vehicle was registered in the great state of Virginia):
“With respect to Violation No. 7324225871, this court finds that although the description of the body of the vehicle as a sedan was correct, it is not disputed that the vehicle was a two- door sedan and not a four-door sedan. Thus, the summons which described the body type as “4DSD” contained a misdescription of the vehicle. In respondent’s memorandum of law they concede that the two-door vehicle was misdescribed, however, respondent contends that “the identification of the two-door sedan as a four-door sedan on a parking ticket is not a fatal mistake, because it does not reach the level of misdescription of the body type as required by “VTL §238.”
However, the Court of Appeals clearly stated in Matter of Wheels, Inc., v Parking Violations Bureau, 80 NY2d 1014  that a misdescription of any of the five mandatory identification elements mandates dismissal. Contrary to the respondent’s contention, the Court of Appeals ruling in Matter of Wheels, Inc, supra., does not give for levels of misdescription and it does not give for an exception for small errors. Here, because the body type of the car was clearly misdescribed, the Adjudication Bureau was mandated to dismiss the summons pursuant to VTL§ 238(2-b)(a). Thus, as the determination of the Appeals Board was based upon an error of law, the determination of the Board with respect to Violation No. 7324225871 must be annulled.
Accordingly based upon the foregoing it is hereby
ORDERED that with respect to Parking Violation No. 7324225871, the finding of the Adjudication Board is annulled and the City of New York, Department of Finance shall refund to the petitioner the total sum of $145.00…”
You may wish to read the granddaddy of all cases, Matter of Ryder Truck Rental Inc. et al., 62 NY 2d 667 (1984)
“The body type of my chariot is an SUV, not a Suburban”
Do you make this common mistake?
NY Vehicle and Traffic Law (also applied by NYC) defines “suburban” for parking ticket purposes as:
“The term “suburban” is the term used in the NY Vehicle and Traffic Law to describe the body type of a vehicle that:
- Has windows on the side in the rear, and
- Has seats in the rear that can be folded or removed so the vehicle can carry cargo.
The law defines a suburban as a vehicle that can be used to carry passengers and cargo. Vehicles that can be registered with the suburban body type include station wagons, sport utility vehicles, hearses, and ambulances. The body type code for a suburban that appears on registration documents and records is SUBN.
Other common body types and codes for vehicles registered in the passenger vehicle class are Sedan (SDN), a two-door sedan (2DSD) and a four-door sedan (4DSD). A sedan is normally designed to carry passengers and does not have rear seats that can be folded down or removed to carry cargo.”
In other words, an SUV is one of the types of vehicles that fall under the broader category of SUBN for NYC parking ticket purposes.
So Larry, what are the takeaways in this blog post:
- Always, every time, check for omitted, misdescribed, and illegible required elements on the front of your parking ticket
- NYC DOF applies a different standard to vehicles registered in NY versus the standard it applies to out-of-state vehicles when judging the accuracy of the body type required element
- The body type entered on an NYC parking ticket for a vehicle registered in NY must be an exact match to the body type listed on the vehicle registration
- According to NYC DOF, the standard for deciding the accuracy of the body type inserted on an NYC parking ticket for a vehicle registered in another state must only be “reasonably accurate”
- Always, every time, check 4DSD versus 2DSD
- NYC is required by case-law to enter an exact match. If your car is a 2DSD the warrior must enter 2DSD on your parking ticket, regardless of the state of registry (not 4DSD or SUBN, or…)
- Be wary that some parking ticket judges do not consider it necessary to differentiate between 2D and 4D
- Be wary that some parking ticket judges consider describing your 2DSD as a 4DSD is “reasonably accurate,” and will not dismiss your parking ticket
- An SUV is a type of SUBN and is accurately described as an SUBN on an NYC parking ticket
In my humble opinion, a 2DSD is not, nor will it ever be, legally or accurately described as a 4DSD, regardless of the state of registration of your chariot ( “Home Rule” be damned!).
Here’s my litmus test…What happens to you when your spouse orders a 2DSD and you bring home a 4DSD? You’re toast, right? And, so is the warrior who can’t count the number of doors on your vehicle; and the judge who thinks the difference doesn’t legally matter; or is “reasonably accurate.”
Always fight a parking ticket for a misdescribed body type required element. I suggest you submit photographs of your chariot and a copy of the registration.