What do you do when you return to your parked car to find that distinct orange envelope shoved underneath your windshield wiper? Because most parking citations don’t require you to appear in court, most people accept their fate and pay the parking ticket without a fight. After all, not paying the fine can lead to the doubling or tripling of parking ticket fines. In New York City, your car can be booted if you end up owing more than $350 in parking tickets that are in judgment.
However, when it comes to parking tickets issued by the city of New York, paying the fine or risking getting your car booted or towed are not the only options. You can dispute the parking ticket to try to get the fine reduced or get out of paying the fine altogether. In this guide, we will talk about five methods of fighting a NYC parking ticket and the pros and cons of each method.
1. Fight Parking Tickets Online
If you want to avoid paying late penalties, request a hearing within 30 days after the parking ticket was issued. To dispute your parking ticket online, visit the NYC Department of Finance website and locate the Fines button. Clicking this will take you to a section that shows the Dispute a Ticket Online button.
You will be asked whether you own or operate the ticketed vehicle and if you are legally authorized by the vehicle’s owner to dispute the ticket. It will also ask if you are a broker disputing the ticket on behalf of a client. The system will ask for the parking violation number, which you can find on the ticket. A violation number is a 10-digit number that you can see on the front of the parking ticket, located on the right-hand side next to a bar code.
To request a hearing, submit the online form along with any supporting evidence, and a judge will review your case. Preparation is the key to a successful hearing by mail/web. Anticipate any questions the judge might have for you and be prepared to give a detailed account of the alleged parking violation.
If you have photos as evidence, ensure that you can prove the date and time the photos were taken. Because you submitted your hearing request online, the hearing decision will also be sent to you online via email. If the judge finds you guilty, you will have to pay the fine along with all outstanding penalties. Because everything is done online, many find this method of disputing a parking ticket as one of the most convenient.
2. Dispute Parking Tickets by Mail
Fighting your NYC parking ticket by traditional mail requires returning the ticket to the NYC Department of Finance. The department’s postal mailing address can be found on the back of your ticket. Before sending your parking ticket and photo evidence, be sure to make copies of all your documents. This includes the letter you will attach explaining why you feel you are not guilty of the violation.
When you request a hearing by mail, you will receive a response from the judge by mail. Some would think that this method of disputing a ticket is outdated because sending postal mail is not as common as it once was. There’s also the concern of mail getting lost and the time it takes for physical mail to reach the recipient.
3. Fight the Parking Tickets In-Person
Fighting a parking ticket in-person requires you to appear physically at one of the Department of Finance business centers. There are no appointments necessary. Disputing parking tickets in-person would be one of the more inconvenient approaches to challenging a ticket as it requires a physical appearance. Because hearings are only conducted Monday through Friday during regular business hours, this may mean having to miss school or work just to dispute the ticket. There’s also no telling how long you will be there because they accept people on a first-come, first-served basis.
4. Use Your Smartphone
The NYC Department of Finance developed an app for smartphones to make it easier for people to pay online or dispute their parking tickets as soon as they receive them. With the Pay or Dispute app, you can either pay the fine immediately to avoid forgetting and incurring late fees, or you can dispute the ticket. With the app, you can pay your tickets by credit card, debit card, or eCheck.
5. Mobile Apps That Help You Challenge NYC Parking Tickets
There are companies that help people fight their parking tickets through mobile apps. However, these apps and their services are all not created equal. There are apps that use Ai to screen and analyze parking tickets. While this sounds impressive, these machines can often miss details that only a human eye can detect.
Other companies also hire third parties to act as brokers to dispute your ticket. Essentially, all they do is go through the same method of disputing the ticket online via the website. While this lessens the hassle on your end, it doesn’t increase your chances of winning.
Then there are companies like Ticket Wiper, which never outsources to third parties and fights all tickets in-house. This means that when you call their customer service team, you’re talking to someone who is actually working on your tickets. With Ticket Wiper installed on your smartphone, all you have to do is enter the details of your ticket into the app, and the system will put a penalty lock on your ticket. This means your ticket is frozen and will not incur any additional fees until a verdict is reached.
While the first four approaches to disputing a parking ticket in New York City are easy enough, the problem is that they’re all methods offered by the same government department that is also responsible for issuing parking tickets and collecting the ticket fines. This means that these methods may not be as dedicated to helping you win your case.
If anything, these methods are more about ways to request a hearing than they are about successfully winning a dispute. Fight the ticket online, and you will get an online hearing. Dispute the ticket by mail, and you will receive the decision by mail. In-person hearings require time and effort, which many busy New Yorkers don’t have. And while the Department’s app is similar to other apps for disputing tickets, the reality is that it was developed to give people a convenient and faster way to pay their tickets.
When it comes to disputing a NYC parking violation ticket, your best chance of winning is to rely on the method that was developed to not only make disputing tickets easier but, more importantly, to ensure you win.