Ask The Lawyer: Defending Parking Tickets - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Ask The Lawyer

Ask The Lawyer: Defending Parking Tickets

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Parking tickets seem to be the bread and butter of our city's economy.  Before I get into how to defend against the hated parking ticket, the mother in me feels compelled to remind you the best defense is an excellent offense.  Don't play Russian Roulette on the streets of LA as they chances are you will lose---and the grand prize will be a ticket requiring you to shell out the bucks.  Parking enforcement is out in full force—on bike, on foot, in a car, or cart and running in on expired meter, or a quick stop in the handicap zone, or a minute in a no parking zone will likely not work in your favor.

But let's say you don't play Russian roulette, you do read the signs, you did put money in the meter and you got a ticket anyway.  Can you fight it and if so, how?

CONDUCT BASIC RESEARCH:  READ THE TICKET and THE LAW

Meter maids, parking enforcement (who by the way are NOT cops) are people…people who make mistakes and people whose job is to generate income  for the city.  Since people are subject to errors, don't trust that the ticket for accuracy.  Make sure the date is correct, the make and model of the vehicle are correct, the time.  As you read the ticket you will find the violation or statute for the infraction committed.  Take a looksey at that Vehicle Code section and make sure the statute fits what happened.  For example, if the meter maid wrote, expired meter but the code was red zone you may have a winning fight.  While you are in the code make sure you read what the City must do to comply with the law as well.  For example, if the city must give certain notice, have certain signage etc. make sure the city complied with their requirements in enforcing it.

COLLECT EVIDENCE:

Once you determine that a ticket was issued in error, take photos, provide documentation as these are corroborating pieces of evidence that could bring credibility to your version of the facts.  Keep in mind in a he said, she said in terms of what the circumstances of a ticket the tie will likely go to the city.

BE CLEAR, CONCISE, and POLITE:

Whatever form you chose to take your fight (though I am a fan of going in person as it makes you more real and provides a human dimension to your case….and who knows the officer or City's rep may not show), be clear, concise, and HUMBLE.  Your personality matters.  Whether you fight your ticket in writing or in  person, succinctly state your case.  Less is more here.  Something to the tune of, "On _____ (date) I was cited for ______ Section.  This ticket seems to be in error because 1,2,3.  Don't come off as a jerk and be polite to the officer if they are present.  Your style and demeanor  could tip the scales.

While the above is the correct legal how to, I also suggest being practical.  Ask yourself:  how much is your time worth?  How many hours and aggravation do you want to spend in fighting this?

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