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Can I Fight a Parking Ticket in New York City?

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In 2018, New York City expected to collect as much as $631 million in parking fines. And with the amount collected in fines increasing each year, the city of New York will likely have collected even more this year. What’s interesting is that the city makes three times more in fines than it receives from legal parking meters.

The amount of money NYC collects from parking fines could be a lot less if more people realized that not every New York City parking ticket that was issued to them was valid.

What You Should Know Before You Pay Your Parking Ticket

It may seem that the easiest route is to simply pay after receiving the ticket, particularly if the fine doesn’t seem that hefty that you. The city’s department of finance has even made it easy to pay your tickets by giving you the ability to pay online, by mail, or at one of the various business centers.

But whether it’s $60 for parking in a general no parking area or $180 for parking in a zone reserved for people with disabilities, that’s still money you’ve worked hard to earn. If you were to get at least one ticket a month, you could be paying thousands in parking fines a year without realizing it.

Because of your busy lifestyle, you may also worry that you’ll forget about paying the ticket and end up incurring additional ticket fines. So instead of disputing parking tickets because you think it’s not worth the fight or you want to avoid paying late penalties, you go ahead and pay the ticket. However, here are a few things you should know before you give up and give in to that pesky orange envelope.

Issuing officers can make mistakes. Parking tickets are issued by traffic enforcers who are just as human as you and I and just as prone to error. Even an issuing officer can have an “off” day and record the make and model of your vehicle incorrectly, rendering the ticket defective.

The officer may look at a scene and miscalculate how close you were parked to a fire hydrant. According to the law, you cannot stop, stand, or park your vehicle closer than 15 feet from a fire hydrant. Even a trained eye can misjudge the distance. 

Issuing officers have also been known to forget details, cite the wrong violation code, or incorrectly state the date and time of the infraction. In their haste, their handwriting may become illegible, or they may forget to sign their name or list the county. The plate number and plate type may have been stated incorrectly. All these things make a ticket invalid.

You shouldn’t be ticketed if your car was disabled. What if your vehicle has broken down suddenly and you can’t move it? You may be able to fight the ticket if you can prove that your car wasn’t illegally parked as you were waiting for the vehicle to be fixed or towed away.  

Disputing a parking ticket is easier than you think. It’s a common misconception that fighting a parking ticket is a lot of work. You may think it involves time, effort, and more money to request a hearing. After all, there may be an in-person hearing involved and evidence to present.

Gathering evidence for your parking ticket dispute is as easy as pulling out your phone to take a photo of the scene. It can be a photo that shows how far you were parked in relation to a fire hydrant, pedestrian ramp, bike lane, or no parking zone. The photo may also show that there isn’t a visible “no parking” sign nearby. Parking meters have also been known to malfunction. And sometimes, it’s as simple as carefully inspecting whether the ticket was issued in error or contained mistakes that make it invalid.

There are also various methods of disputing a parking ticket. You can pick the method that is most convenient for you.

How to Dispute a Parking Ticket

The NYC Department of Finance website will recommend four ways to fight a parking ticket – online, by mail, in-person, and via their app.

The problem with using any one of these four methods to fight the tickets is that you’d be relying on the same department that issues and collects parking fines to be the ones to help you win the dispute. With Ticket Wiper, you have a non-government company that has a team of experts dedicated to helping you get your NYC parking ticket dismissed.

With Ticket Wiper, there is no bot filtering and screening your tickets. Each ticket you submit is reviewed, tracked, and processed by real people who are parking violation experts. With decades of experience, we have a track record of getting an average of 60% of tickets dismissed. We know exactly what to look for in order to dismiss the parking ticket entirely.

While our experienced ticket wipers can work with very little information, providing evidence can improve your chances of winning by as much as 10%. With Ticket Wiper, there’s no need to defend yourself with a good story to prove your innocence. What we do is look for defects on your NYC parking ticket. All you have to do is use the Ticket Wiper app to either enter the ticket details or let the app scan the NYC database for your plate number.

Conclusion

Not only can you dispute New York City parking tickets, but you should. With Ticket Wiper, you don’t have to worry about incurring late fees. The moment your ticket goes into the Ticket Wiper system to begin the dispute process, we place a ‘penalty lock’ on the ticket, which freezes it until a verdict is reached. Ready to win? The Ticket Wiper app is available on the App Store and Google Play.

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The How-To Guide to Dispute NYC Parking Tickets

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Over 11.7 million parking tickets were issued last year in New York City alone. But what’s more shocking than the billions of dollars worth of parking fines is that 80% of people don’t bother disputing the ticket and just pay it. After all, not paying your parking ticket can come with serious consequences that include further penalties on top of what you already owe. 

Receiving a parking ticket also gets your license plate placed in the system as an offender. And when a law enforcer accesses the database and runs your registration, they will ultimately discover all your outstanding parking tickets. 

But that’s not all; if the tickets go into Judgment the Department of Finance may go beyond booting and towing by taking other enforcement actions like suspending your NY State vehicle registration and garnishing your wages. They may even refer your account to a collection agency. Debt collectors are notoriously relentless, and you may end up hounded with threatening calls at home and work. 

But while it may seem like paying your parking ticket is the only way to avoid all the trouble, many people don’t realize that fighting the ticket is easy and painless. You may win the case and not pay the fine at all. In this guide, we will talk about common parking violations and fines, reasons and ways to dispute parking tickets, and a few other tips and tricks. 

Common Parking Violations and Fines 

New York City has a long list of parking rules and regulations. They are outlined in detail, along with their violations codes and corresponding fines on the NYC.gov website. Each fine amount includes a $15 New York State Criminal Justice surcharge. To give you an idea of how much you could potentially spend on parking ticket fines and fees, here are some of the most common parking violations: 

  • Under Code 20, parking in a General No Parking area where parking is not allowed by sign, street marking, or traffic control device will cost you $60-$65 depending on where you are in NYC. 
  • Under Code 27, parking in a zone reserved for people with disabilities comes with a $180 fine. 
  • Under Code 37, parking in excess of the allowed time on the parking meter will cost you $35 or $65, depending on whether you’re parked on Manhattan 96th St. & below or other areas. 
  • Under Code 40, stopping, standing, or parking closer than 15 feet from a fire hydrant will result in a $115 fine. 
  • Under Code 48, stopping, standing, or parking within a marked bicycle lane comes with a $115 fine. 
  • Under Code 67, parking in front of a pedestrian ramp will cost you $165. 

Common Reasons to Dispute a Parking Ticket 

There are as many reasons to contest a parking ticket as there are reasons why parking tickets make an appearance on your windshield. Here are some of the common reasons to contest a parking ticket: 

The car became disabled. – It can happen that your car has broken down, and it’s waiting to be fixed or towed away. The ticket issuer may not have realized that there’s no way you could move it. 

The parking meter is broken.Muni-meters (municipal parking meter) can be found on most street blocks and avenues throughout New York City. To use a meter, enter the parking space number and insert coins or a NYC Parking Card to purchase time units. Press the green button and collect your receipt. But what if the muni-meter is broken? You can park in the spot; however, you risk receiving a parking violation. You may be able to fight the ticket if you prove the muni-meter was broken that day and if you did your duty of reporting the broken meter on the 311 NYC website.  

The parking ticket was issued in error. – Issuing officers can make mistakes. If you read the parking ticket and do not agree with the violation, you have every reason to fight the ticket. 

Why Contesting a Parking Ticket is Always Worth the Fight 

You may think that disputing a parking ticket is more trouble than it’s worth. However, it’s better than paying a fee that you don’t deserve. It would surprise you how often it happens that challenging a parking ticket in NYC is as easy as reading the ticket and focusing on any errors made by the issuing officer that may render the ticket legally invalid. 

Remember, the issuing officer is just as human as you are and prone to making mistakes. They may misjudge how close you’ve parked from a hydrant or misread a sign. 

An error such as incorrectly describing the make and model of your vehicle can be enough to make the ticket defective. Other mistakes by the issuing officer may include forgetting to sign their name or incorrectly stating the time and date of the infraction. Illegible handwriting and signatures can also make the ticket invalid. The ticket might not even cite the statute you violated at all. It would surprise you what gets left out or is done incorrectly when issuing officers hastily scribble on parking tickets.  

Ways to Dispute a Ticket 

If you’re planning to dispute a ticket, request a hearing as soon as possible. To avoid paying late penalties, dispute the ticket within 30 days after the ticket was issued. After 30 days, $10 is added to your fine amount. If 60 days pass and you still haven’t paid, another $30 is added. 

After 90 days, the penalty fine goes up to $60 and is added to the original fine along with both penalties. The violation goes into judgment, along with a 9% interest per year that will be added to the total amount due. While you can request a hearing up to one year after the date of judgment, you not only have to pay the original fine but also all the outstanding penalties. You can dispute a ticket online, by mail, in person, or by mobile app. 

How can I dispute a parking ticket online? 

You can dispute a ticket online by visiting the NYC.gov website. You will need to specify if you are the owner or operator of the ticketed vehicle or a broker disputing the ticket on behalf of a client. You will need to enter the violation number, the 10-digit number that appears on your ticket. On the following pages, you will need to submit your defense and any supporting evidence. After the online hearing, expect the hearing decision by email from the Administrative Law Judge. 

How can I dispute a parking ticket by mail? 

If you have no access to a computer, you can fight parking tickets by traditional mail. On the back of the ticket, you will find the NYC Department of Finance’s postal mailing address. Place the ticket in an envelope along with a letter explaining why you believe you are not guilty. Add photos of any evidence that may help prove that the ticket was issued to you in error. The Administrative Law Judge’s decision will also be sent to you by mail. 

How can I dispute a parking ticket in person? 

If you want to dispute your parking ticket in person, find the Department of Finance Business Centers closest to you. It is not necessary to have an appointment, and you also don’t need to have an attorney present. However, walk-in hearings are on a first-come, first-served basis over regular office hours. So if you work over the regular workweek, it may mean having to miss a day of work just to dispute your ticket. 

How can I dispute a parking ticket via the NYC Pay or Dispute app? 

NYC Department of Finance also has the NYC Parking Ticket Pay or Dispute app. The app allows you to look up your tickets by violation or license plate number right from your phone. The app allows you to pay your tickets with a credit card, debit card, or eCheck. The app also allows you to view all your saved tickets, license plate, and dispute history. 

Gathering and Presenting Evidence 

One of the most important aspects of disputing a parking ticket is providing evidence to prove the ticket was issued in error. Almost everyone these days has a smartphone that comes with a good camera. 

When you find a parking ticket on your windshield and before you pull out of the allegedly illegal parking spot, pull out your phone camera to take photos of the scene. What if your parking ticket claims you’ve exceeded the time on the parking meter? However, when you check the meter, you find that it’s broken. Snap a photo to prove the parking meter is defective. And what if the parking ticket states that you’re parked in a no-parking area, yet the ‘no parking’ signs are hidden from view due to ongoing construction work or tree branches? 

It’s crucial to take a photo of the scene as it is on the day you received the ticket. After all, much can change from now until your case is reviewed. The construction may be cleared away, the tree branches may be trimmed, and the parking meter may be fixed. 

Take photos that tell the whole story. Include the street names or building addresses in the pictures as much as possible. You may have to cross the street or walk away a few yards to snap a photo of the entire side of the street where you are parked. The photo should show where your car is relative to the street sign, fire hydrant, marked lane, pedestrian ramp, and so on. Alternatively, the photo you take may prove that there were no visible signs anywhere on the block. 

If you choose to present your evidence online or via the app, you can upload the images of your evidence. For in-person hearings and disputes by mail, you will need to print out your photos. Remember not to send the originals via mail. 

If you received a parking ticket while waiting for your broken-down vehicle to be fixed or towed, documents that prove your car was disabled at the time the ticket was issued should also be included in your evidence. This may include receipts from a towing or repair bill indicating the time and date. You may even get witness statements who were there to attest that your car was disabled at the time in question. 

What to Do If Your Car is Towed

Sometimes a ticket is the least of your worries. What if you return to the spot where you parked to find that your car isn’t there? There are three likely scenarios why your vehicle is no longer where you parked it. The first is that is was stolen. The second is that it may have been relocated because there was a street fair or parade that occurred during the time it was parked. But if you parked illegally, chances are your car was towed and impounded. 

The Traffic Enforcement Division has several reasons why it may have towed and impounded your car. You have been double-parked or were blocking an intersection or tunnel. Maybe you were parked in front of a fire hydrant, which comes with a hefty ticket fee by itself. 

If you suspect that it was towed, call 311 or 212-TOW-AWAY (869-2929). Every borough has a tow pound, and your car will likely be taken to the one closest to where it was illegally parked. However, if they tow pound is full, it will be taken to a tow pound in another borough. 

Before you go to the tow pound to retrieve your vehicle, stop and think about what day it is. If it’s a major holiday like New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, the tow pounds will be closed, and no one will be there to release your vehicle back to you. If it’s a regular day, be prepared with the following: 

  • vehicle registration certificate (current) 
  • vehicle insurance card (current) 
  • valid driver’s license 
  • tow fee payment (cash, check, credit card, debit card, money order,) 

Don’t worry if all the required documents were left inside the car. The tow pound will allow you to retrieve them from your vehicle under supervision. Getting your car towed not only comes with a  parking ticket fee, but it comes with a regular $185 tow fee. And if you don’t retrieve your vehicle the same day it was towed, they add another $20 as an overnight storage fee. 

Other Ways to Dispute a Parking Ticket  

Disputing the parking ticket online, in-person, by mail, or via the app can be a hassle for a busy New Yorker or out-of-towner. While these methods are the ones recommended by the city of New York, there is another approach to fighting NYC parking tickets. 

Companies like Ticket Wiper have developed a handy app that makes contesting parking tickets even easier. With Ticket Wiper, just scan the parking ticket or type in the details on the app to get the dispute process started. Similar to the NYC Pay or Dispute app, Ticket Wiper gives you access to the NYC database. You don’t have to enter your ticket details manually. All you have to do is enter your plate number, and the Ticket Wiper system checks for any open tickets. 

With Ticket Wiper, there’s no need to stress yourself out with trying to prove your innocence or coming up with a valid reason why you were parked where you were parked. We use our vast knowledge and expertise to get tickets dismissed by finding things you have missed. We find defects on your actual ticket – from simple typos to the ticket being issued under the wrong section of the law. There may be missing information that you didn’t even realize was missing because you didn’t know what to look for. 

The best part is that the moment that your parking ticket goes into the Ticket Wiper system and we begin the dispute process, you don’t have to have to worry about late fees piling up. Once the process begins, your tickets are frozen until a verdict is reached. Ticket Wiper doesn’t charge anything when you submit a parking ticket. You only pay when your ticket gets dismissed.

Why is this a better alternative to disputing a ticket online, in person, by mail, or via the NYC Department of Finance app? With Ticket Wiper, there’s a team dedicated entirely to helping you save money and getting your parking tickets dismissed. Remember, the other methods recommended by the city are only to make the dispute process easier. However, it’s outside companies like Ticket Wiper that do the work to ensure you win. Ready to win? The Ticket Wiper app is available on the App Store and Google Play.

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