Here’s an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to beating NYC parking tickets
I’ve beaten NYC parking tickets for seven years. I’ve learned about the nuances and land mines lurking in the path of defeating the Evil Empire. For example:
-Your defense statement should be certified. A warrior swears to the truth and accuracy of the information she entered on a parking ticket and ergo, her testimony will be entitled to greater weight than your non-sworn or non-certified statement
-Exhibits should be certified to lend credibility to your evidence
-Take advantage of the excellent resources online to win a dismissal, such as:
- The NYC Parking Regulations Map (image version),
- The NYC Parking Regulations Map (text version),
- The NYC Property Map (click on advanced search),
- The Digital Tax Map, Google Maps, and a lot more…
I’d like to share my path to success with you.
NYC parking ticket required elements
My jaws are sore preaching the gospel of required elements and how important they are to beat a parking ticket. A required element is a bite-size bit of information that a warrior or cop is required to enter on you parking ticket (to prove a prima facie case against you).
What is a prima facie case? In Parking Ticket Land, your opponent is the parking ticket, not the warrior or cop because these enemy agents are not required to attend your hearing.
For example, if you are charged with violating a no parking rule, a ticket must correctly identify your chariot (Plate number, Expiration Date of your registration, State of registration, Plate Type, Make, and Body Type), and correctly display:
-The location of the parking violation (place of occurrence)
-The NYC traffic rule you allegedly violated
-The days and hours the parking rule was in effect
-The date and time of violation
The nasty no parking ticket with all the required elements on display will be sitting before the judge. And, now it’s your turn to present evidence that one or more of the required elements were omitted, misdescribed or illegible. If you succeed, the parking ticket failed to establish a prima facie case and will be dismissed.
Is there a substantive defense to the parking violation?
What if all the required elements of the no parking violation were entered correctly on the piece of paper? Yikes! Your next step is to prove a substantive defense to the no parking violation. For example, you are permitted to stop temporarily to expeditiously drop off or pick up a passenger and their property at the curb, and leave the area immediately.
You can prove this substantive defense with the help of:
-A witness statement from the passenger containing answers to the five-questions
-The who, what, where, when, and why?
Here is a witness statement I used to support a defense of lack of service of parking summons (proof that my client was sitting behind the wheel when the ticket was issued requiring a warrior or cop to enter his name on the ticket__the warrior didn’t)
-Documentary proof whenever possible, such as:
-Receipts from stores, a note from the doctor, a note from the school nurse, etc.
A case study
Our heroine, Gladys, was charged with standing her chariot in a bus stop zone in front of 745 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. The defense we argued was that Gladys did not park her car in the bus stop zone. In other words, the place of occurrence was misdescribed.
1.My first step was to check the front of the parking ticket for any omitted, misdescribed or illegible required elements. I checked with Gladys about the required elements related to her car (Plate number, Expiration Date of your registration, State of registration, Plate Type, Make, and Body Type), but sadly, all six required elements were described correctly.
2.My next step was to search for evidence that Gladys did not park in the bus stop zone. Here is how I did my research:
- I read the applicable law or rule. In this case, a bus stop zone begins at the bus stop sign and extends, in the direction of the arrow(s) on the sign, to the next parking sign or if none, the end of the block
- I checked the DOT Parking Regulations Map (image version) to determine what parking signs (rules) regulated the place of occurrence. My challenge was that the warrior claimed there was construction in the bus stop area, so I couldn’t rely on the results of my DOT search because the Map may not display any or all the temporary construction parking signs
- I checked Google Maps for the place of occurrence, in front of 745 Fulton Street, to see for myself what the area looked like (Where was the bus stop sign? Were the street numbers on the buildings and clearly visible? Where was #745 to the bus stop? And, most importantly, was there a second parking sign after the bus stop sign? If so, where was it located on Fulton Street_before or after #745?)
Remember, you cannot offer Google Map images as proof of the current status of the place of occurrence because the photographs were taken by the GOOGLE CAMERA CAR before the date the parking ticket was issued. However, Google Maps gave me hope because the next parking sign after the bus stop sign was located WELL-BEFORE the place of occurrence. Remember, a bus stop ends at the next sign after the bus stop sign
I asked Gladys to take some overlapping photographs of the block, starting at the corner with the bus stop sign and on to the place of occurrence, including all parking signs with property street numbers in the background when possible
The results of my research and Gladys’ wonderful photography was that we struck parking ticket gold. The photographs showed that the second parking sign (the first sign after the bus stop sign) on the block was located well-before the place of occurrence.
Our next challenge was…
Presenting the proper proof properly
I used a combination of Google Map screen grabs and Gladys’ photographs to create exhibits to prove that place of occurrence was not in the bus stop zone. Here are my exhibits:
How I prepared the exhibits
Your exhibits should tell a story that captures the judge’s attention and explains your defense. Everyone loves a good story, even judges.
In Gladys’ case, the story takes the judge on a tour of Fulton Street from the bus stop sign on to the place of occurrence to prove that the place of occurrence was not in the bus stop zone
Exhibit 1: Reveals the parking ticket and immediately tells the judge our defense. Make it as easy as possible for the judge to understand your defense and dismiss the parking ticket. Show her the evidence that is essential to beating the parking ticket. Please don’t count on the judge “looking up” any information you refer to.
Exhibit 2: This image is a screen grab from Google Maps showing the city block in Brooklyn where the place of occurrence lived. Google Maps has a tiny bus stop icon to show the location of a bus stop sign. I created a second sign to show the location of the second sign (that ended the bus stop zone) and its relation to $745 Fulton Street. I was alerting the judge that I was going to present evidence to support the location of my little sign #2
Exhibit 3: This image is a screen grab of the Google Map Satellite view of the city block containing the place of occurrence. I included it because I wanted to emphasize the location of the bus stop sign and parking sign #2 to the other properties on the block. Now the judge not only knows the street numbers, but he knows and has become more familiar with the businesses and their locations on the block
Exhibit 4: This is a Google image of the bus stop sign’s exact location near the corner of Fulton Street. It is not definitive proof that the bus stop was there on the date and time the parking ticket was issued, but it is consistent with the information on Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 3 and allows the judge to see the bus stop sign and the buildings in the background
Exhibit 5: This is a photograph that Gladys’ took shortly after the bus stop ticket was issued (along with the next series of photographs). It is proof of exact location of the bus stop sign on the date and time this ticket was issued
Exhibit 6: This is a photograph that shows the property next to Fresh Foods as we continue our journey on Fulton Street. Notice it includes the construction cones that corroborate the warrior’s comment of temporary construction in the area
Exhibit 7: This is the winning photograph because it shows the exact location of the second parking sign (that marks the end of the bus stop zone) in front of “Black Forest Brooklyn,” that was way before #745 Fulton Street
Exhibit 8: This is a screen grab from Google Maps. It shows a larger view of the location of sign #2 and shows that the Google image taken in 2016 looks the same today (absent the construction)
Exhibit 9: This photograph shows the location of sign#3 in front of Bati (Bati is next to the place of occurrence)
I prepared Gladys’ defense certification after preparing the exhibits
I always prepare my exhibits first because the exhibits help me to organize the story. I always include captions on the exhibits because studies have proven that photographs and text are more persuasive and make a greater impact than pictures alone.
I certify that the photographs and images contained in my exhibits are a true and accurate reproduction of what they purport to represent the date/time this parking ticket was issued.
We won! The bus stop ticket was dismissed
Please, don’t argue your defense by criticizing the system, demeaning a warrior, or ranting against injustice. Present a series of facts supported by evidence that leads the judge to one, and only one, conclusion_Not Guilty.
Arguing it wasn’t fair that there was only one parking sign located on the other end of the block, may be cathartic, but will not result in a dismissal. Instead, make sure the evil sign displayed the same rule entered on your parking ticket. For example, if you were charged with a no standing violation, all days all times and the rule on the sign was no standing, Mon-Fri, 7A to 4P, you win subject to presenting the proper proof, properly. Or if the arrow on the sign was pointing away from your chariot, you win.
Always check the comments because you may stumble upon some helpful information. For example, if the warrior enters the word, “sitter” he means there was a driver sitting behind the wheel. In that case, I would raise the defense of lack of proper service if the warrior didn’t enter the name of the driver on the ticket
If you get a fire hydrant ticket, please do not leave the place of occurrence without taking a bunch of photographs showing the exact location of your chariot to some landmarks on the roadway, sidewalk or building in the background, and photographs of your chariot to the fire hydrant. How many sidewalk squares were between your car and the fire hydrant? Ergo, you can return with your trusty tape measure (if you don’t carry one in your glove compartment) and measure the distances from the landmarks.
Would you like to take this valuable Guide home with you? If so, hover your mouse over the top margin of the Guide and click on the download arrow that appears.
Latest posts by Lawrence Berezin (see all)
- Should NYC Car Sharing Cars Share On-Street Parking Spaces? - July 30, 2018
- A Common, Costly NYC Parking Ticket Mistake to Avoid - July 16, 2018
- Should NYC Employees be Permitted to Violate Parking Rules? - July 9, 2018