Last Updated on November 9, 2015 by Lawrence Berezin
This NYC fire hydrant is a parking ticket trap
Lurking underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, across from the entrance of 275 Park Avenue (Brooklyn) is a fire hydrant waiting to take your money. A wonderful client of ours got snared by this NYC fire hydrant ticket trap. Don’t let it happen to you.
Joe’s NYC fire hydrant ticket story
Joe parked his car under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway without incident for years, along with a gazillion other members of the driving public.A fire hydrant was recently installed in the sidewalk across the street from the entrance of 275 Park Avenue. Joe parked in his usual spot and went to work. Sadly, upon his return, he found an orange NYC fire hydrant ticket peering out from his windshield.
Joe knew he parked near the fire hydrant. But, didn’t think a car parked under the overpass was considered within the “15 foot no parking zone” of this fire hydrant.
If a fire truck arrived at the scene, it would have access to the fire hydrant by stopping on Park Avenue. Why would it stop under the overpass?”
Joe fought the good fight…and lost
Joe asked me for help. I did my homework and recognized this was a tough ticket to beat. Here’s why:
- The fire hydrant rule prohibits parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant…in all directions. In other words, front, back, side, angle, 360 degrees
- It’s difficult to prove how many “steps” existed between your chariot and the fire hydrant
- The best proof is photographs of a tape measure extended 15 or more feet from your car to the fire hydrant, which Joe didn’t have
- The Evil Empire was unforgiving when it comes to fire hydrant tickets
- A theory that depends on where a fire truck may park to fight a fire will not win
- NYC parking tickets are offenses that don’t require evil intent (mens rea). If you violate the strict letter of the rule, you’re toast
With that said, I offered to fight for Joe because:
- The place of occurrence was misdescribed. In my humble opinion, “opposite 275 Park Avenue” was not under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but was on the opposite side of Park Avenue (just like all place of occurrence descriptions)
- The warrior guessed that Joe parked “0” feet from the fire hydrant. This was clearly and totally wrong.
- Although a warrior’s guess is not a required element of a fire hydrant ticket, it goes to the weight and credibility accorded the warrior’s testimony
- The location of this fire hydrant was an ambush
Here are the documents and exhibits I submitted for the original fight and appeal
When you park near a fire hydrant, especially if your car is the closest to the hydrant, expect to get an NYC fire hydrant parking ticket…$115. I urge you to plan your defense before leaving the scene of the future parking “crime.”
- Take photographs of your car and the fire hydrant
- Step off the distance between your car and the hydrant
- If you keep a $2 tape measure in your glove compartment use it and take photographs
Do you agree with the original judge? Will we win Joe’s appeal?
Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.