How Do You Handle Undeserved Parking Tickets?

It’s bad enough to be stuck with a parking ticket when you deserved to get dinged, but much worse when you were obeying the rules and still got hammered due to a glitch.

Brett says he’s received two Washington, D.C. tickets for violations he didn’t commit. He’s fought them by mail but hasn’t received a response.

He writes:

I am a resident of Arlington, VA. Living in such close proximity to Washington, D.C. means an occasional romp into the city. In the last 6 months the D.C. DMV has fined me for two parking violations I have not committed. I have fought the tickets via their mail adjudication system, yet they are still holding me liable despite seemingly conclusive evidence of my innocence.

The first is for $100 for not registering my tags in D.C. This would be hard to do considering I have been a permanent resident of Arlington since June of 2007. I have had the same landlord the entire time I have lived in VA. The D.C. DMV’s evidence against me is that an officer spotted my vehicle parked on the same street twice within 180 days. It was the street my girlfriend was living on at the time. I have plead my case via mail to the DMV providing overwhelming evidence that I am a resident of VA and therefore not legally obligated to register my car within D.C. Despite this evidence, D.C. is still charging me with the violation. I have contemplated sending them the $100 check with a date of 12/1/2050, but I’m not sure if I can get away with that, legally speaking.

I also received a $25 citation for an expired parking meter. The ticket was issued at 9:26 PM, but the meter did not require payment after 6 PM. I have plead my case via the DMV’s website’s adjudication system. I am still awaiting a decision.

How do I fight the D.C. parking ticket machine? I am innocent and am not high on paying $125 for fines unjustly levied against me. Hiring a lawyer would probably cost more than the fines. Is there any legal action I can take against the D.C. DMV for levying these fines without cause? I’m so frustrated with these municipal monkeys who can’t put two and two together.

The idea to send a post-dated check is definitely the wrong course of action, since banks can and will cash checks regardless of the date.

If you’ve fought parking tickets and won, how did you do it?


Edit Your Comment

  1. LOUWEEZY says:

    Dunno about DC, but in Chicago, this has happened to me several times. When a digital photo of proof won’t suffice, I have contacted the Alderman’s office & explained the situation with the details. They have always helped & made the tickets disappear. Maybe contacting the governing office where the non-violation occurred could help.

  2. xspook says:

    DO NOT send them a post dated check. Banks don’t care about the date and they will honor it.

    Contact someone in the Mayor’s office? Find a local news outlet that feeds on this stuff?

    • SideshowCrono says:

      That has nothing to do with the banks. Check the laws regarding checks and you’ll find that post dating a check means aboslutely nothing. Once its signed, its active.

      I would often pay friends of mine back with checks dated 2100 and beyond. Just because I thought it was funny for some reason.

    • squirrel says:

      I don’t think the news outlets will help anymore. People are pretty much fed up with the constant obvious money-grabbing stunts by local governments and these local governments have simply learned not to care.

      Look at California.

  3. E-Jungle says:

    I always go somewhere in person, makes it harder to dismiss the case for them.

    • spamtasticus says:

      Sometimes. I once got a parking ticket because I refused to drive around an armored car that was stopped in the middle of the street. If I had driven around him I would have crossed a double yellow line and driven against traffic toward a blind corner where cars often legally turn in fast. The ticketing officer walked up to me and told me she was giving me a parking ticket. I told her I was not parked, etc, etc, etc. I fought it in court, explained everything to the judge in detail, the parking attendant did not lie to the judge and they still made me pay. The Judge’s response to my complaints where “appeal it”. Turns out an appeal is $240 non refundable. Nice freaking racket.

      • mandarynn says:

        Just curious, but did the officer refuse to ask the armored truck to move? Or perhaps offer to hold traffic so you could drive around?

        • spamtasticus says:

          There is an “Inside” deal between the parking authority and the armored car companies so they are allowed to do whatever they want. I asked the judge afterwards for the amount of cash I have to stuff in my car before I’m allowed to park on the street. She did not laugh.

        • spamtasticus says:

          To add something further. What I now do to retaliate for this and many other transgressions by my dear dear city is I fight every single ticket that I receive. No matter what.

      • kujospam says:

        Legally you have the right to cross the double lines if a car is parked in front of you. It’s when they are moving, called a pass, that you are not. But I’m not a lawyer, and that law might not be true where you live.

    • ugly says:

      I’ve never been able to go somewhere not in person. How would that even work?

  4. blogger X says:

    Write your Congressman a letter, including copies of the documentation you have sent and received from the DMV. Hopefully that will get you some satisfaction. If your local news station does a “what’s bugging you” report, try to use that as well

  5. noinamg says:
    you can try news 7 on your side, i have seen them do some things like this before

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      Double to this. Or NBC 4 has done it for Arlington tickets before as well (in that section of Clarendon I think it is) where the meters are all on private property so you THINK you’re off the hook after 6pm except the private meters stipulate feeding them 24/7 unlike city ones.

      I’m dealing with DC for my own ticket and was on hold last week for an hour, so good luck to you!!

  6. PBallRaven says:

    Was being discharged from Navy. Parked on dock (with permission from OOtD) while loading my gear off the ship into my truck. Shore Patrol writes ticket and puts it on my truck. I crumple up ticket and throw it out of the window as I drive by the SP shack on the way out of the gate for the last time.

    • stevied says:

      What, did you think the SP’s ticket couldn’t follow you into civilian life?

      They might not be able to dock your pay and kick you down a grade but they can still make your life a living hell when they want to.

  7. Portlandia says:

    Sending them a post dated check will do Nothing…not sure what you think it will accomplish anyways…but they will just process the check and your bank will honor it. Banks stopped looking at post dated check years and years ago.

  8. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I’m kind of doing the same thing in NY. I have parked there for years and got a ticket for parking in a “No Standing” zone. What really pisses me off is that parking rules should be common sense. You shouldn’t need a lawyer present or a copy of the statutes on hand to decipher the hieroglyphs to know if you can or can not park somewhere.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Sorry, no standing is pretty clear. That means not only can you not park, but you can’t stop your car and wait in it either.

      • Hoss says:

        The words aren’t clear at all, are they? The regs say you can stop to let someone in or out, but not for other purposes

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        But the problem was where I was parked was right next to a yellow curbed area, and also had No Parking on signs on the building: (my car was parked right where the GMC is parked in that image, but this occured at 5:30-6pm)

        My confusion was/is that in NJ, you can’t idle for more than 3 minutes, and there is a similar law in NYC, as newly put up signs as you exit the tunnels alert you to. Since there were at least two of these yellow curbed and wall signed “No Parking” zones within the pole signed “No Standing except postal vehicles” zone, I understood this to be an area they didn’t want trucks idling in, except postal vehicles, which is understandable due to the depot across the street(When I arrived the depot was closed, roll down doors shuttered, etc… as it was well after 5pm, and if I had seen it open, I would have moved on because I don’t mess with the USPS. ;) ) I’m not adverse to walking, so if I had thought I couldn’t park there, I would gladly drive a few blocks away to find a spot and hoof it, which I did after coming back to my car and discovering the ticket. But the No Parking areas are what confused me, as if you can’t stand, why would you also need multiple marked/signed No Parking areas in the same “zone”?

        • chiieddy says:

          That GMC and the car in front is parked illegally. There’s a sign post with a sign attached and an arrow pointing towards the yellow curb that says ‘No Parking Any Time’. That means between that sign and the other on the other side of the no parking zone, there is no parking, ever.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            What sign with an arrow pointing towards the yellow curb that says “No Parking Any Time” are you talking about/seeing? There is the No Standing one, and another below it, pointing down to the other end of the street that says “No Parking between 9-10:30am on Tues and Fri”, but there is no sign that says No Parking Any Time on that side of the street. And if you go down the street with Street View, you will see no other “No Stopping” sign on that street. If No Stopping supercedes No Parking, then why the inclusion of No Parking Zones in the No Stopping zone.

            • dangermike says:

              Is it possible to park without stopping?

              • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

                Not sure. That’s why I was so confused. I thought “stopping” meant parking with the engine idling, w/someone behind the wheel, like I have seen people do.

                In hindsight, I can see what the zone meant, but I am not lying when I said I got out of my car, checked the signs, looked up and down the block, and really thought I was OK at the time. Since there was No Parking zones and signs & No Parking during certain period signs on that side of the street, I thought parking of those non-yellow areas was ok, and because I was across from the depot, they were trying to cut down on the noise of idling vehicles.

        • Ophelia says:

          Regardless, that’s where the sign is, that’s where the no standing zone starts. It’s not entirely clear where it ends (there should be, but isn’t, another sign at the opposite end of the 2nd yellow curb area, which is what I think they intended)

          No standing = no parking.

    • AnthonyC says:

      A few years ago I was in NYC and couldn’t decipher the parking signs. So I asked an officer who was across the street whether I could park where I was. He read all the signs, and told me he couldn’t figure it out either. And is job was to write tickets for cars on that block.

  9. banndndc says:

    you probably just misread the sign on the 2nd one. they extended the meter hours to ten in some places. unfortunately the sign they posted is a bit confusing. it says 2 hours until 6pm and then below it says meter until 10pm.

    the first one is more difficult. let’s be honest. it was your girlfriend’s street. i am sure you have parked in the residential parking area well over two times in the past year. it would be perfectly reasonable for the parking attendant to assume you were someone who recently moved there and did not switch over your plates etc. yeah it sucks, but you probably should have included reasoning for why you were always there. (oh, and always go in person if you actually want to fight it) oh well, DC is still nicer than Arlington when it comes to non-residents parking in residential areas.

    • hymie! says:

      it would be perfectly reasonable for the parking attendant to assume you were someone who recently moved there and did not switch over your plates etc.

      Perhaps. But it is also perfectly reasonable that a copy of his current lease (with dates) would be exculpatory evidence regarding his true residency.

    • muddymaesuggins says:

      +1. i live in dc and the person here obviously is parking in residential parking, which i dont appreciate, but that aside, if you make frequent trips into the city and annoying park in our residential parking, you can apply for a ROSA exemption – look it up on the dmv website.

      also, +1 about the meters – you still have to pay at meters after 6pm, there just isn’t a time limit of how much money you can put on the meter.

      so, sorry, no sympathy for the OP

      • MauriceCallidice says:

        “is parking in residential parking, which i dont appreciate”

        So, residents of the district shouldn’t host guests who drive cars?

  10. MDSasquatch says:

    I work in DC and luckily take the bus in to the office, but anyone who has spent more than a day or two in the District can tell you, the officers that write tickets are the hardest working folks I’ve ever seen. They are incessant.

    I recommend you go to the ticket office in person and don’t leave until you have resolution in writing, if you let this go too long, they will have no problem at all administering the boot to your car.

  11. Bativac says:

    Interesting — I am going through the same process of contesting tickets. I received three parking tickets which I do not think were deserved. I don’t live anywhere near DC but was visiting a few weeks ago. I wrote them (well, I used their website to submit a letter) and haven’t heard back.

    I am curious as to what possible penalties I may face should the tickets remain unpaid. I have no other tickets (parking or otherwise) in my name. Will this follow me around? Will it show up on some future credit report? Should I only be concerned if I find myself parking my car in Washington, DC again?

    • goodfellow_puck says:

      Yes, it will follow you. They’ll eventually send it to collections and your credit report. If you do find yourself in that area again, they’ll take great joy in booting your car. Choose wisely!

      • ecwis says:

        Why do you think they’ll put the ticket on your credit report? My sister received a parking ticket from Washington DC and never paid it. They sent the account to a collection agency but they never put it on her credit report. I’ve never had a parking ticket posted to my credit report and I’ve never paid one.

    • ecwis says:

      The main concern is whether the city will boot or tow your car. Tickets very rarely show up on credit reports. You should only be concerned if you find yourself parking in DC again. If you do park in DC again, you might be able to get a fresh start by getting a new license plate. I have received over twenty parking tickets and I haven’t paid any of them. Most of them were dismissed by writing to the City.

  12. Supes says:

    You live in Arlington? As bad as DC is, Arlington is 100 times worse….. take about a place where officers are on a power trip!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The cops were out at Rosslyn a few weeks ago, ticketing jaywalkers! I’ve never been ticketed for jaywalking..I’ve jaywalked in front of a cop car, too.

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Oh I’ve seen them doing that down in Clarendon too – I remember thinking “wow, as if Arlington isn’t getting enough revenue from parking tickets..”

        Also, can you guys even begin to fathom what that towing company behind the Mercedes dealership down on Quincy St. must rake in each weekend? Makes me sick!

        • Bremma says:

          I got towed in Alexandria last year (my brand new car, even). It was 125 to get it out of tow, so yeah, they probably make bank.

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          Here is boston everyone jaywalks, and the fine is $2. I’ve never seen anyone ticketed. I was in Seattle last month and was amazed at how everyone waited for the light. Apparently the fine is over $40, and tickets are common.

      • rogueuk says:

        This was for the StreetSmart safety awareness campaign. They were targeting all safety violations as a publicity stunt. For what it’s worth, the police gave out 33 citations to drivers and 50 warnings (not tickets) to pedestrians and cyclists*. If you feel that jaywalking across a busy 5 lane road isn’t unsafe, go right ahead and do it.


    • BlisteringSilence says:

      Don’t want a ticket? Here’s a Top Gear Top Tip ™:

      Don’t break the law.

      I’ll never understand people like you that complain when they break the law, and then are surprised/shocked/confounded/angry when you get punished for it.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Do you assume that anyone being punished is automatically guilty of something?

      • dwasifar says:

        Hey, thanks, that’s great advice!

        You know, sometimes people get tickets when they haven’t broken the law, though. I seem to remember reading something about that somewhere. Let’s see, where was that? Oh, yeah, I remember… it was right at the top of this page. You might want to scroll up and read it.

        Since you clearly haven’t yet.

        • FredKlein says:

          There’s one thing you learn in prison- everyone is innocent.

          Same goes for parking infractions. No one every admits they did it. It’s always a mistake or a confusion, or the parking enforcement officer being mean and writing tickets for nothing.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Well then, let me tell you a fun story.

            I got a ticket in a parking lot in White Plains, New York approximately 10 minutes after paying for parking. We took the ticket in, along with our receipt (which showed the fact that the ticket was issued after we had paid for parking,) and the judge dismissed the ticket.

            Sometimes there are mistakes, and that was one such case.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            Well then, let me tell you a fun story.

            I got a ticket in a parking lot in White Plains, New York approximately 10 minutes after paying for parking. We took the ticket in, along with our receipt (which showed the fact that the ticket was issued after we had paid for parking,) and the judge dismissed the ticket.

            Sometimes there are mistakes, and that was one such case.

  13. RandomHookup says:

    The wheels of justice move slowly. You submitted your appeal and you are awaiting a decision. They haven’t told you “no” yet. Unless there is a penalty of some kind that is forcing you to act, then wait it out. You can also pay the fines now to avoid any late payment penalties and then get a refund if you win your case.

    How long has it been and how long did the city say it would take for a decision?

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      Heh, “no” could be in the form of a bench warrant or a revoked license. I wouldn’t assume it was still in the works…

      • RandomHookup says:

        Perhaps, but has he even asked anyone for a status? You can always pay to avoid the penalties and then deal with the appeal. It seems premature to try to go fight the system if you don’t even know where things stand.

    • gafpromise says:

      No, he definitely should not pay the fines. That’s an admission of guilt and he’ll have a real fight on his hands getting it refunded.

      • RandomHookup says:

        In some areas, if you don’t pay the fines you will be hit with late fees if your appeal is denied. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

  14. Daniellethm says:

    This reminds me of the last parking ticket I got. In the lot I was parked in, there were different signs on some spots, like “24 hour parking” and “2 hour parking”. Luckily I got in a 24 hour parking spot, then spent the night at a friend’s place. The next morning I come out to a ticket on my window, and chalk marks on my tires.

    So I called the number on my ticket and told them “I’m not paying this, I haven’t moved my car and am still in a spot with a sign that clearly says 24 hour parking.” They sent their ticket jockey out, who mumbled something about someone must have switched the signs. I corrected him, as I park in this lot at least 2-3 times a week and that it had always been 24 hour in that particular spot.

    The guy has the audacity to accuse me of switching the signs to get out of a $10 ticket, so I call his supervisor, who apologizes profusely and says I won’t have to pay. Small victories ftw.

    • repeater says:

      The company that runs my apartment’s parking lot acts like this all the time, and it drives me nuts.

      Shouldn’t I be the one that is indignant that I got a ticket by mistake? Not them?

      I always call up and try and be friendly and reasonable. “Hi. I got a ticket for parking in my own parking spot again. I have a parking pass tied to that plate number and my pass is affixed to my car like it always has been, can we check to make sure that my account is in good standing? It is? OK, this looks like a simple mistake, can we fix it?”

      And then I get a half hour of strange accusations about me being the mastermind of some parking scam ring where I scrape off my parking pass with a razorblade, swap it with another car for just an hour, and then somehow affix it back on my car in a way nobody can detect juuuuust in time for the lot attendant to swing around for the next check.

      Ooooooor, the guy who checks the lot just made a dumb mistake. Shouldn’t I be mad that the lot guy is too lazy to check the passes? Or keeps keying in the wrong plate number? Or is so unaware that they failed to notice the same car has been parked in the same spot for like seven years?

      The best I can ever get from escalating it to management is that they clear up the ticket, at the cost of another speech about how they are on to my little game and that is the last time they are gonna let me get away with it. I usually just hang up once I have a confirmation number, since trying to interject or counter anything they say just makes them yell louder.

      What is it with parking enforcement and common sense?

  15. snobum says:

    DC’s parking meters are very confusing. They recently added evening time periods to meters. The confusing part: It’ll say “2 Hour Limit 9am-6pm” and “No Time Limit 6pm-10pm”. In most cities, this means you only need to feed the meter between 9am and 6pm. Not in DC. This means you still need to feed the meter until 10pm but you can park longer than 2 hours.

  16. dizzy says:

    I was watching some movie where the girl parks her car in an illegal zone then pulls out a parking ticket and puts it underneath her windshield wiper so they won’t write her one, thinking someone already has.

    It amused me.

    • Mom says:

      I don’t know about where she is, but most places, they’ll just stack another ticket on top of the stack that’s already there.

      • tbiscuit360 says:

        You forgot the part about them sticking more and more tickets on the window while a dead body lay in the back seat.

    • msgogo says:

      I actually used to do that in college. Worked on campus with the campus parking people, and paying off one ticket per semester was way cheaper than buying a parking pass!

  17. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    The most fun solution is to not park at all. Put a brick on the gas pedal, open the door, tuck and roll.

    • rpm773 says:

      You also have to wedge something the steering wheel, producing a slow turn, if you want to have any hopes of the car coming back to you when it’s time to head home.

  18. PhiTauBill says:


    Appeal the “by mail” ruling and fight the ticket in person as per the procedure outlined at this link: With the evidence you state that you have, you should win.

    According to their website (, they should have first issued you a warning, and that may be another defense to their alleged violation beyond the proof of non-D.C. residency that you possess.

    Lastly, if you are going to continue to be a frequent visitor to DC, apply for the one year exemption a outlined below.


    Registration of Out-of-State Automobiles (ROSA) in DC
    What is ROSA?

    ROSA stands for registration of out of state automobiles. Automobiles housed in the District of Columbia for 30 consecutive days are required to be registered and display a valid DC inspection sticker and tags when parked or operated on public space. The Metropolitan Police Department monitors residential areas for the presence of automobiles not in compliance with DC registration requirements. If an automobile has been observed a second time within a thirty-day period, a warning notice may be issued indicating the automobile is eligible for the issuance of a citation and/or impoundment unless one of the following actions has been taken.

    Recurring visitor (frequent short term visits) report to a DMV service location and prove non-residency by presenting a copy of the original lease, deed or mortgage statement and a utility bill no more than 60-days old. The documents must be in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle. A copy of registration in your name is also required. You may also mail the required documents to:

    DC Department of Motor Vehicles
    ATTN: ROSA Exemption
    PO Box 90120
    Washington, DC 20090

    If mailing, your ROSA exemption receipt will be sent to you within 15 days. The ROSA exemption is good for a one year period.

    Temporary residents (more than 30 days) must register their vehicles or apply for the reciprocity permit.
    Note: Bring the warning notice posted to your automobile with you.
    What if I live with someone and the lease, deed or mortgage is not in my name?

    You must provide all of the following:

    A statement from the homeowner attesting to the fact that you reside at their home.
    A copy of the lease, deed, mortgage or a current utility bill (60 days or less) in the homeowner’s name.
    A copy of the homeowner’s drivers license or non-drivers identification.

    What happens once I receive the ROSA exemption?

    Once you receive an exemption from ROSA, your vehicle license tag number will be entered into the District’s ticket management system. The exemption applies to ROSA enforcement only. All other parking regulations apply. You will receive a receipt for your records indicating the exemption expiration date (365 days).

    What happens if I get a ticket for failure to secure DC tags?

    You may contest the ticket by mail or in person. You should present the same documents presented to receive the ROSA exemption.

    What happens after the one year exemption period?

    If you receive another warning notice, you may repeat the exemption process above.

    Note: ROSA is not a parking permit, and it does NOT exempt a vehicle from DC parking regulations.

    • AI says:

      Holy shit that ROSA stuff is retarded. What a cash grab that is.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Welcome to Washington D.C. If you drive a car, you are going to have an interesting visit.

        • One-Eyed Jack says:

          Roger that. DC is the only place I’ve ever gotten a parking ticket. My dad got a parking ticket there, too, a couple years ago, and successfully appealed by mail with photos clearly showing he had parked legally.

      • Krobar says:

        Did you read a fee amount listed in there? I’ve read it twice and I’m not seeing it (not that I doubt it could be a cash grab, just wondering how much it is!)

  19. hymie! says:

    I have plead my case via the DMV’s website’s adjudication system. I am still awaiting a decision. How do I fight the D.C. parking ticket machine?

    How about waiting for them to answer before you assume that they have denied your appeal?

  20. Dragon Tiger says:

    DC is going through a major fundraising effort through parking violations (on several streets the meter expiration time is now 8pm, not 6pm). The District (helpfully?) has painted demarkations as to where you can park, which often helps when you’re looking for a spot. However, the areas indicated don’t always mean it’s legal to park there. In one spot where the line goes all the way to the stop sign, I was ticketed for parking within 25′ of a stop sign. Also, several years ago they towed my car from a street that was not marked as a snow emergency route, saying it was parked on a snow emergency route. That was decided in my favor (I assume, never having heard anything further from the District on the matter).

  21. Shadowfax says:

    This kind of crap, and the nightmare DC traffic, is why I *always* took the Metro everywhere when I lived in DC.

  22. T Daniels says:

    I got a parking ticket while eating lunch in my corrupt city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. They ticketed me because the meter didn’t accept all of the money I put in. The meter was labeled for times it would credit for each nickel, dime, and quarter it accepted. However it only registered the quarters I put in, not the two dimes and nickel. I didn’t have any more quarters with me and thought that I would be able to make it back in time before the meter ran out. Turns out I was 2 minutes late, that’s right 120 seconds. Well wouldn’t you know I already had a ticket on my car. The local parking authority office is where I was off to next. They said the meters only accept quarters. I explained that the meter said it accepts nickels and dimes and they could easily just open the meter and see that I did in fact put in 2 dimes and a nickel. (they would be on top) They said I should have known that they only accept quarters and it is my fault. My options were to pay $10 that day, $20 that week, or a non-refundable $40 court cost (win or lose) plus the $20 if I lost. So that is $10, $20, $40, or $60. I chose $10 and decided not to go back to town for lunch ever again.

    • T Daniels says:

      Plus they will also ticket you for parking in a spot for more than two hours. Even though there are no signs stating that there is a two hour limit.

    • FerretGirl says:

      I hate Scranton. A friend and I had to hike through there on our way somewhere else and we were hauled in for vagrancy and hitchhiking. True, we were vagrants, but we weren’t bothering anyone or hitchhiking. We were just walking. We didn’t stop, beg for money, busk, dig through trash, pee in public, nothing. Just walking. For hauling us in and for what they did to us after I hope all the police there rot in hell.

  23. thewildboo says:

    I once parked on a street (in Syracuse, NY) in the morning, where street parking was completely legal and the street was full of cars, only to return in the afternoon to find it now a “temporary no-parking zone” (for a football game) and a hefty parking ticket on my windshield. Since I live 300 miles away I pled my case by mail but was denied and ended up paying the ticket. That’s a nice revenue-generator they’ve got there.

    • Nic715 says:

      I live in Syracuse and work by the University…this has happened to a lot of people I know. My car was ticketed by a University police officer in my work parking lot during a basketball game last year. Apparently they were being super diligent and assumed everyone in the lot parked illegally to avoid paying $20 for the garage and walked up to the Dome so they just ticketed every body. And if parking in Syracuse wanst bad enough, now they want to make the downtown area ‘more park-like and walkable’ by widening the sidewalks, adding more trees and eliminating street parking…thus forcing people visiting the shops, restaurants and bars to park in expensive public lots. Street parking is free after 6…the lots are at LEAST $5.

  24. crashman2600 says:

    You should contact Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry and offer him a couple crack rocks to make your ticket vanish.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      He doesn’t do crack anymore. Now he’s onto giving his best buddies high-paying positions within his little fiefdom.

  25. MrEvil says:

    I don’t know how you’d fight parking tickets. I’ve parked on Residential streets in Houston during permit only hours and never got a ticket on my F250. Wasn’t a fluke either, the vehicle in front of me and a vehicle behind me got tickets yet I did not. Must have been the “Farm Truck” plates I have on my F250.

  26. Kitten Mittens says:

    In some states/jurisdictions you can remove the matter from a municipal level court to a state court setting. Not sure how that works in D.C., but I’d do that and an overworked assistant D.A. would likely be very happy to dismiss the tickets and get you off their caseload.

  27. pikebike says:

    I have a feeling the OP isnt telling the whole truth.

    In DC, if you do not have a registered out of DC vehicle and park on the street where it states you have to have a registered vehicle with DC plates, they will give you a warning ticket. The ticket tells you that you either A) have to register your vehicle in order to park there, as well as register your vehicle for a DC parking permit (separate from registering for DC plates), or you can send in proof of residence outside of DC. This can be a bill or anything with your name on it at a different address. You mail that in to the DC DMV and they register your vehicle as a temporary visitor, for a year or something like that. You wont have to register your vehicle, and you’ll be able to park on the street. It also costs like $100 or something like that.

    My GF used to live in DC and this exact thing happened to her.

    So I have a feeling the OP forgot to mention he got a warning ticket, that or he got one 180 days ago, and now 180 days later because he didnt do anything, he got a ticket.

  28. PSUSkier says:

    I go down to the local police department and attempt to set the lobby on fire. It seems to get the message across. Besides, one of the fringe benefits of being is jail is you’re guaranteed not to get anymore parking tickets while in solitary confinement.

  29. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Isn’t there a next step in the process that involves pleading before a real live traffic court judge?

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yes, but then you will have to pay court fees and it’s usually not worth taking off a day of work for most people.

      In my city, the court dates also aren’t available until at least 4-5 months later…so it’s hard to know what will be happening in your life that far away.

  30. JayPhat says:
  31. RLars says:

    Has OP tried calling DC DMV? I received a camera speeding ticket in the tunnel under the capitol between 395 and M street….in a rental car….months later I get a notice that a warrant is out for my arrest for a $125 speeding ticket I never received. Rental company hung on to the violation until I racked up so many penalties you’d puke. DC DMV actually 3-way conference called with the rental company to get it squared away. Give it a try and they’ll probably work with you.

  32. RLars says:

    Has OP tried calling DC DMV? I received a camera speeding ticket in the tunnel under the capitol between 395 and M street….in a rental car….months later I get a notice that a warrant is out for my arrest for a $125 speeding ticket I never received. Rental company hung on to the violation until I racked up so many penalties you’d puke. DC DMV actually 3-way conference called with the rental company to get it squared away. Give it a try and they’ll probably work with you.

  33. RLars says:

    Has OP tried calling DC DMV? I received a camera speeding ticket in the tunnel under the capitol between 395 and M street….in a rental car….months later I get a notice that a warrant is out for my arrest for a $125 speeding ticket I never received. Rental company hung on to the violation until I racked up so many penalties you’d puke. DC DMV actually 3-way conference called with the rental company to get it squared away. Give it a try and they’ll probably work with you.

  34. RLars says:

    Has OP tried calling DC DMV? I received a camera speeding ticket in the tunnel under the capitol between 395 and M street….in a rental car….months later I get a notice that a warrant is out for my arrest for a $125 speeding ticket I never received. Rental company hung on to the violation until I racked up so many penalties you’d puke. DC DMV actually 3-way conference called with the rental company to get it squared away. Give it a try and they’ll probably work with you.

  35. RLars says:

    Have you actually tried calling the DC DMV? I had a $125 speeding ticket in the 395 tunnel at M Street in a rental car – rental company hung on to violation, didn’t notify me, and didn’t pay. I get notice from DMV saying there’s an outstanding ticket with penalties for late payment. I call DMV and they’re awesome. Actually 3-way conference call with the people Hertz outsources their violations to get everything resolved. Their contact numbers (202) 737-4404 (Adjudication Services) and their website:

  36. floodx says:

    On vacation at a beach in GA. Got one because the meter maid said I put the ticket upside down on the dash and he/she couldn’t read it (bunch of bull). Didn’t think I did however I have no way to confirm or show the receipt (w/ timestamp) to the city because I donated the extra time on my receipt to another vehicle that ran out and then I didn’t see the ticket under my wiper blades until I was on my way home (where is karma now?).

    My solution? Never go back to that beach – $20 fine for ignorance will cost them hundreds in tourist revenue…because we had a good time and enjoyed the week probably would have gone back. May have to stay out of GA too though with that vehicle?

  37. apasserby says:

    When I lived in DC some decades I never once received any parking tickets. Yet months after I moved to MD I began receiving at least 3-5 unpaid notices a month. Not one was for a vehicle I ever owned. I wasted a day and went to their office. Turns out that a ‘computer error’ listed close to 45 vehicles in my name. All were created the exact same day turned in the DC tags. Yet before the error could be corrected they wanted me to pay all the past due amounts. It was in the thousands by then. All had impound notices. I took the easy way out and said they had my permission to tow all of them. Never heard anything else.

  38. sqeelar says:

    Unique tourism effort. If we see your car more than once, we’ll make sure you never visit again.

  39. dwasifar says:

    Hey, thanks, that’s great advice!

    You know, sometimes people get tickets when they haven’t broken the law, though. I seem to remember reading something about that somewhere. Let’s see, where was that? Oh, yeah, I remember… it was right at the top of this page. You might want to scroll up and read it.

    Since you clearly haven’t yet.

    • dwasifar says:

      dammit, that was supposed to be a reply to the guy who said “don’t want a ticket, don’t break the law.”

      I don’t know why it didn’t thread properly. Please ignore.

  40. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    The last time I got a parking ticket was in Philly on halloween weekend, I was parking on 15th & walnut, the city has installed all these new parking meters where every few feet there is a computerized meter that you pay and it gives you a printout that you display on the car. While I was paying at the meter a PPA ninja appeared and was writing me a ticket! My friends and I see this and yell that we are in the middle of paying, the PPA guy however says he *has* to give me this ticket because he already started writing it. Luckily one of my friends had been videotaping us so we could document our impending debauchery, after the PPA guy was informed of the taping he called in to his supervisor and was given the go ahead to dismiss my ticket. He did tell me that next time I should “pay the meter faster dude”. SMH @ PPA they blow

  41. WagTheDog says:

    Before I got one of those silly personalized plates, I used to get parking tickets from LA. I live in San Francisco. My car has never been to LA, unless it’s going without me somehow. It took a while, but eventually they would take them off when I disputed them.

  42. sheriadoc says:

    When my boyfriend was moving out on his apartment in Boston he parked his car in front of the front door to load some heavy items. It was in a bus zone, BUT there were signs and pavement markings that led you to believe you could park in the first half of the bus zone. Yes, that is how Boston flows. Cars parked there regularly. Of course, the only time he ever parked there he got a ticket.

    So I immediately took pictures of all the signs, markings, and his car. Then I wrote up a nice letter (complete with picture evidence) explaining that all of those elements led one to believe they were parking legally. A few weeks later he got a letter saying basically: you were still parked illegally but we’re going to void your ticket.

  43. Lexasaurus says:

    In DC you can go into court and contest it in person– and you’ll probably have to, since the mail-in system is in my experience nonreponsive. I had to do it when I got a ticket in the mail for a car that clearly wasn’t mine. (I’d never parked in the neighborhood in question, and my car isn’t a red Jeep.) I went in, pointed out that the officer must have written the number down wrong or gotten the state wrong, and that took care of the problem. I hope you can afford to take time off work to do it.

  44. JonBoy470 says:

    My mom lives in Manchester NH and used to work in an office building next door to city hall, which is also where the parking enforcement office was. She got a ticket stamped ~10 minutes in the future one day, when the meter hadn’t even expired yet. The meter maid must have figured my mom wouldn’t make it to her car in time. My mom turned on her heels and marched straight into the parking office. Without preamble she inquired as to the time. Upon hearing the time, she responded, “Well can you explain then how I’m holding a parking ticket I received four minutes from now?” Then, without waiting for a response, she dropped the ticket on the counter, turned heel and walked right back out.

  45. framitz says:

    Pay by mail and send cash, send a couple of bucks more than the fine. Call the extra 2 bucks a contribution for training parking enforcement officers in an enclosed note. Send it registered mail with receipt requested.

    A friend of mine as done this several times and he always gets an entertaining response. Since the recipient often can not receive cash and it is a big hassle.

    Get back at the ‘man’ when he’s a dumbass, it’s worth the effort.

  46. Sean says:

    I remember a few years ago seeing a story on the news about a group of students that went around to parking meters in the town they lived in and put a quarter in and timed it to see if it gave the correct amount of time. A good percentage of them were off in their timing and gave shorter than what they should have.

  47. ShariC says:

    This is the result of the “wedding cake layer” justice system in the U.S. Like tiers on a wedding cake, crimes occurring at smallest top level get the most thorough attention and devotion to the truth (celebrity cases, big cases like serial murders) followed by the next layer down in which serious crimes are dealt with (murder) with a fair amount of scrutiny and time. The bottom layer of crimes that constitute small things like traffic violations are summarily dealt with and the next to the bottom layer (felonies and misdemeanors) are plea bargained down. The bottom two layers never get equal treatment relative to the top two layers because expediency is viewed as having more value than true justice.

    Chances that anyone will get a fair hearing on such violations are relatively low because the court system views the inconvenience to them in fairly handling them as outweighing handing out a fair result. You can pursue it, but ultimately, it will probably cost you more in time and/or money than it is worth than to simply accept the unjust charge and pay the fine.

  48. shadowsurfr1 says:

    I got a ticket from my University’s parking system once because I lost my entire set of keys (which really sucks, for the record). The particular lot I was in closed at midnight and on top of that, we had a massive snowstorm that night so the plowing guy was pissed my car was in the middle of the lot. Not only did I not get my car towed by communicating with them, I also got the $75 ticket appealed with proof of a new car key.

    Honestly, I would call them and figure out the status of your ticket. Just be as professional as possible and explain that you didn’t think you had to register your tag in DC and that the particular meter you parked at wasn’t enforced after 6:00.

    They’ve heard from many an angry parker on the fact that they shouldn’t have to pay the ticket for just about any reason you can think of. Be nice to them, they’ll be nice to you.

  49. barty says:

    I received a parking ticket about 10 years ago in Atlanta because my BUMPER hung about 10 inches over a yellow curb because the idiot in the spot in front of the one I parked in didn’t pull all the way forward. Now, get this, the guy who was taking up two spots didn’t get a ticket (same car was still sitting there when I got back 20 minutes later) and I PAID the meter and frankly didn’t give it a second thought about the minuscule amount my car was hanging over the yellow curb.

    I found the meter maid around the corner and just handed the ticket back to her. I scribbled down the ticket number and phone number to the parking office and informed them that I wasn’t going to pay it, nor waste my time going to their “court” to fight a ridiculous ticket. I never received any notice about not paying it, nothing ever on the credit report and evidently no warrants ever issued. I’m really not sure if it just got lost in the shuffle, but the statute of limitations has long since passed so I’m not really worried about it any more.

  50. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d bring the department of extortion, errr, parking to small claims court or something

  51. Cyfun says:

    Pay the fine in pennies.

  52. Dorkington says:

    I live in DC. They do give out a lot of tickets.

    Every time I’ve gotten one that I felt was undeserved, I sent them a well written letter. I explained the situation, and gave any proof that I had.

    Every time the ticket was waived.

    They seem to be pretty good about it.

  53. Dorkington says:

    Oh, and to add.

    It takes months for them to send you a response to your letters. As long as the letter is in by the ticket date, you don’t have to worry about them coming after you.

  54. heldc says:

    My fiancé and I got a parking ticket for not paying the meter in Dupont, except we had paid the meter via the new pay by phone thing. We’re going to send the ticket in and “deny” it, and I’m SOOO bookmarking this post in case they try to say we owe anyway.

  55. frescagod says:

    i just got a ticket in NW DC for “parking too close to a driveway.” umm…okay…there was a space of at least 4 feet between my rear bumper and the driveway opening, but “T Proctor” wrote me the ticket anyway. also, there was no “no parking” sign anywhere, only the green 2 hour zone 3 signs.

    i took a picture and will protest it, but i’m sure DC will say too bad. i just can’t believe that’s a ticketable offense.

    • skapig says:

      DC is banking on you lacking the motivation to fight such supposed violations. It’s no coincidence that they stepped up enforcement as the district began to have greater money problems than usual.

  56. guymandude says:

    Simple. Have them charged in federal court with racketeering. You situation does meet the necessary definition.

  57. skapig says:

    Based on my girlfriend’s experience, it takes a very long time to get a decision response via mail. Somewhere around a year for her. Worked in her favor though when they easily could have gone either way.

    DC seems to be going nuts lately with the parking tickets. The bottom line is that there is a serious shortage of parking. Like many other older cities, it simply wasn’t designed to accommodate the cars of its residents and certainly not those of its many commuters and visitors. Rarely is the solution to actually create parking, but instead to encourage public transportation and cracking down to make parking an even bigger pain.

    My friend recently got hit with a “same street in 180 days” notice while I was with him. We were visiting a local business (bar) as usual. Not a fine, but 2nd warning (3 strikes, i guess though a 1st was never received). To be fair, his VA registration had expired. However for some reason DC feels it’s ok to fine you for a crime that they haven’t actually proved. It’s up to you to disprove it after the fact. Naturally this is a time consuming process that they count on you not to bother with, either resulting in you avoiding driving to DC or scoring them more money on the next violation. Wouldn’t surprise me if the location they give you to fight it is not easily accessible to visitors.

  58. sopmodm14 says:

    i’ve gotten exactly 5x $20 parking tickets while at school….i don’t see how they make the same number of spots for faculty/staff vs students, when the ratio is more than 10:1……its built like a scam, and i just love how i’m rolling the aisles only to see the adjacent lot with 20 empty and unused spots on a daily basis

    i appealed to the highest level every time…they didn’t reduce or even forgive the first offense when i was a freshman

    nothin much i can do now, but all i know is when i’m an alum, they won’t get a single penny til i get reimbursed

    i was going to pledge a certain amount per annual year, but lets see if they’ll make the no-brainer deal… give me back my $100, so i can pledge to give $100 a year