Last Updated on August 10, 2017 by Lawrence Berezin
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.
Marc Puma says
I recently got 2 tickets and a tow truck release summons for leaving in my car in a “no standing zone” on east 58 between 1&2 aves. Immediately following parking the car, I had a medical emergency and had to be taken from that location to the hospital in an ambulance.
I did not correctly remember that my car had to be moved the next morning by 7 am. I mistakenly thought the alt side rules were in effect and the car did not have to be moved until Thurs morn.
When I returned to move the car, a tow truck was just in the process of moving it. I paid the $100 release fee on line.
Both tickets do not have the VIN number, the color is wrong, body type is different ( I have a lexus rx-350). What is the correct body type for my car?The registration exp. dates are different on both.
Furthermore one ticket has the incorrect “no standing hours”. I took a pic of the sign with the hours. I’m confident that this alone will kick it.
Are these both “defective” tickets? The info I see online is not consistent.
Money is tight for me so I’d really appreciate your advice.
Lawrence Berezin says
Sorry for the delay in replying, but I just returned from a visit with my children and granddaughter in Seattle.
Here’s a link to a “required elements” blog post I wrote, that should be helpful. https://newyorkparkingticket.com/new-required-elements-chart/
-VIN number and color are not required elements
-If your car is registered in NY, the body type must match the body type on your registration sticker
-If your car is registered out of state, the body type must be reasonably accurate
-If your car is registered in NY, the registration expiration date must be an exact match
-If your car is registered out of state, and the month and year are clearly displayed on the plate or windshield, that month and year must be displayed on the ticket
-The hours a rule is in effect must be entered correctly on the ticket
The challenge you face is making sure you submit the proper proof, properly to prove your defense(s).
Good luck, Marc
Marc Puma says
Is the medical excuse sufficient?
Lawrence Berezin says
Tough to prove
been thinking what to do, I got a ” no standing ” ticket few days ago, I was waiting for my son as no parking around, but train got delay. So during my text to him, I look up the traffic cop is typing up a ticket I told him why don’t just tell me to leave, he ignored me and continued writing up the ticket, he never ask me for my driver’s license and never give me the ticket he just stick the ticket on my windshield wiper and left. After about 6min later I saw two guys going in to their car right in front of me, than I decide to take a picture of the two guys going to their car with the ticket on the windshield, I never touch the ticket until my son come, so I could used that as my excused as I was waiting for the space right in front of me, but it 6 min different from the time I got the ticket and the time I take the picture, that also make me think will the judge believe that I was in the car all time.
I check front of my ticket traffic cop type in: No Standing
DAYS/HRS: All DAYS/ All TIMES
but I check the sign it only say” No Standing Anytime”.
on the ticket traffic cop type in: Front of 36-60 37th Ave
now the street number 36-60 its a corner building, this building have two entrance but the main entrance is on Main Street, and I was park on 37th Avenue, but front and side of building say 36-60. I check google map 36-60 37th Ave, Queens, New York it come up as 36-60 37th Ave, Long Island City which I was never there.
the original 36-60 suppose to be on the other side of the building Main Street, not 37th Ave.
Please help I want to write in to Plead Not Guilty. But I don’t know what to do. You think I could fight this ticket?
Lawrence Berezin says
I would need to do a thorough investigation before offering my recommendation.
I’m afraid that type of analysis is beyond the scope of the blog.
Jake Saunders says
I got a ticket for being parked in a no standing, although my flashers were on and it was explained to the officer that my car ran out of gas. I see in the NYC Traffic rules that “No person shall stop, stand or… …unless necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic…”.
My car was parked to avoid conflict w other traffic and I have proof of this. Think I have a chance? What should I bring to court?
Looking forward to hearing what you think!
Lawrence Berezin says
Oh man, what a shame.
I would argue that my car was disabled because it ran out of gas.
-You’ll need to prove that it ran out of gas
-You’ll need to prove that there were no “legal” parking spaces available
-You’ll need to prove you expeditiously removed the car from the “illegal parking space”
I would be prepared to assert a real good reason why you allowed your car to run out of gas before pulling into a gas station.
PS…You can also present the “conflict with other traffic arguments
I was in my car during alternate side parking, I work at night, I was tired and dozed off waiting for the sweeper. The ticket said I didn’t move for the sweeper, I’m not sure why they didn’t just knock on the window or ask to see if there was a reason I didn’t move it, car disabled etc. I am going to fight it just unsure of approach. Thanks for any advice
Lawrence Berezin says
Sorry about your parking pain.
I would check the front of the ticket for misdescribed, omitted, or illegible required elements. If you find one or more, you win subject to presenting the proper proof, properly.
(Sadly, they don’t have to wake you).
Hi Larry, under Registration Expiry day, it says N/S. My car is out of state (ONTARIO) and it does have registration expiration on the license plate. Do I have chance to get my ticket dismissed?
Lawrence Berezin says
I think we already chatted about this issue.
You’re a winner as long as you present the proper proof, properly.
Aditi Bhardwaj says
Hi! So apparently the question validity of the ticket requiring expiration of Registration does not apply to cars out of NY state.
Lawrence Berezin says
Nope. Out of state plates must have the month and year the registration expires on the plate or windshield.
I received a parking ticket in Manhattan after having paid for the parking spot with ParkNYC. There was a parking receipt on the dashboard that was expired. Ticket was given for “Expired Parking Meter” and no attempt at checking Park NYC was done, apparently. I have Park NYC payment receipt. It sounds like this is something that should be dismissed with supporting evidence without appearance?
There is one oddity: when it seems that when you pay through Park NYC its meters and zones are numbered differently than what is written on the ticket. I did double check – the ticket machine has its own number (which is on ParkNYC payment confirmation) and parking ticket has it sown meter/zone number which is correct according to NYC Open Data. Does that present a problem in contesting a case?
My main issue is not the $65 charge, but rather the necessity to appear in person. I am wondering if by appealing I will be mandated to appear or be dismissed or reduced fine outright.
Many thanks for everything you do,
Lawrence Berezin says
Ummm…If the zone # on the payment receipt matches the zone # on the muni-meter, I think you’re o.k. But, is there any relationship between the zone # on the ticket and the zone # on the machine?
Why do you have to appear? Is there a special procedure for contesting an expired meter violation when you paid through ParkNYC? I fight 99% of my tickets online. No appearance is necessary.
PS…Thanks for your kind comment
Just appeared in person to fight a ticket for parking in a bus stop to let my elderly mom out of my vehicle. The evidence I presented included a note from the dental office, my ID, my mother’s ID and pictures of the entrance of the medical office. I was found guilty. What defense would I have for a chance at an appeal?
Lawrence Berezin says
Sorry to hear about the guilty verdict.
Your burden of proof on appeal is to persuade a three-judge appeals panel that the original judge made a mistake of law or fact based on the evidence you submitted. You do not have the right to offer new evidence on appeal.
(you have 30 days to appeal from the date the judge signed the Decision and ORder).
Denis Flynn says
Got a ticket for no standing anytime. Instead of an address, the agent put west of ave. 10ft north of ave. Can these types of directional be contested if an address was available?
Lawrence Berezin says
Good afternoon. Great question.
There are three accepted formats to describe the place of occurrent:
-Metes and Bounds. The metes and bounds description goes like this: “N/S E 92nd Street, 10′ E of 5th Avenue in NYC.” This translates to North Side of East 92nd Street, 10 feet East of 5th Avenue in NYC.
I always check to make sure the metes and bounds format was entered correctly. For example, Does E 92nd Street run East-West so that the sides are North and South? And, does the rule that regulated this location the same rule entered on the parking ticket.
If there is no North side of E 92nd Street you win, subject to presenting the proper proof, properly.
I use the NYC DOT Parking Regulation Map (Beta) and the DOT Parking Regulation Map (text version) to prove N-S-E and W.