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How To Fight A Parking Ticket In California

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Finding a parking space in large cities is still a hassle. While most people keep circling for minutes before they find a space to park their vehicles, some do not shy away from parking illegally.

The latter lot is often slapped with a parking ticket with a hefty fine. However, in many cases, people receive parking tickets even after abiding by all the parking rules and regulations.

If you think your parking ticket is overall unfair, we have some news for you. You can fight a parking ticket and save yourself from paying any penalty.

Here is how you can fight a parking ticket.

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Do not pay the ticket

Once you have decided to dispute the ticket, don’t pay the fine as reversing the payment is very difficult. Leave the parking ticket unpaid and wait for the hearing.

Review the ticket for any mistakes

Go through the ticket thoroughly to check the information the officer wrote on the parking ticket. Ensure that the information is accurate. Any mistake on the ticket is an opportunity for you to avoid an unfair fine coming your way.

For instance, if the officer had mentioned a BMW on the ticket while you were driving a Ford, the officer is surely at fault. However, if the officer wrote “silver” while your car was “gray”, it won’t make much of a difference. You need to collect more evidence.

Also, if you find any scribbled text or information that has been altered, you stand strong chances of winning because, in some cities, ordinances forbid officers from changing information in a parking ticket.

Click pictures

You will have to provide evidence to prove that you are not at fault. Hence, click pictures of the scene as soon as you get an unfair ticket. Take pictures of the location where you parked your car, parking meter, markings on the curb or road, and relevant signs.

If there is any obstructed sign that is not visible from the position where you parked your car, click a picture to prove it. If the yellow paint on the curb ended just before the position of the parked car, click a clear picture along with your bumper. These pictures pose strong evidence against your ticket.

Take videos

If the parking meter where you parked your car was broken, use it as evidence. Showing it in action will make your case strong. Hence, take a video instead of clicking a picture of the broken meter.

Take your phone and place it at an angle where the read-out of the meter is clearly visible. Now, make a video of you putting money. This video will give a clear account to the judge that you were trying to put money, but the meter wasn’t registering, and you will win the case.

However, ensure that you take a video immediately after spotting the ticket on the car. If you wait and the meter gets fixed in the interlude, you will lose strong evidence.

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Gather witnesses

Talk to the people present at the scene who agree that you don’t deserve the ticket. Jot down their names and contact numbers as they can testify at the hearing.

Write a dispute letter or dispute the ticket online

Once you have collected the evidence, write a dispute letter and send it to the parking ticket office. Check out your ticket for instructions on how to dispute it. You will find the address of the parking ticket office on it. Take the help of an expert to write a dispute letter for you. They will help you frame a formal letter describing all the relevant details. Attach the evidence, including pictures of the scene, witness statements, etc.

You can fight the ticket online through a physical mail or mobile app. Consider reaching out to a professional even if you are applying online. Apps like WinIt help people fight their parking and traffic tickets. All you need to do is take a picture of your ticket and submit it to them. If you have lost your ticket, you can use the app to look for tickets issued on your license plate. Share the evidence that can prove you innocent. And leave the rest on them. They will handle the dispute for you at only 50 percent of the fine.

Whatever route you take, be prompt. If you send the letter after the cut-off time, you may have to pay late fees and penalties. Make sure you take action within 30 days of getting the ticket.

You can expect a response within a few days, but if you don’t get their response, reach out to them to find out whether or not they received your letter.

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Attend the hearing

The applications with weak evidence require a hearing. If your proof fails to resolve the case, you may have to attend the hearing. In that case, take the copies of your evidence. Describe everything to the hearing officer. Show them the pictures and the videos you took at the scene. If you have witnesses, call them to testify.

In certain jurisdictions, it is mandatory for the officer who wrote the citation to appear at the hearing. If the officer who wrote your ticket doesn’t appear at your hearing, the hearing officer may dismiss your parking ticket.

Several cities do not conduct physical court hearings; hearings happen on the phone or online.

Speak the truth

Many people dispute a parking ticket only to avoid the penalties. They fail to provide evidence and incur extra charges. Some even present fake evidence and land themselves in trouble.

Dispute the parking ticket only if the ticket is invalid. If you parked the vehicle illegally, own up to it and pay the fine.

The bottom line

With the companies that lay a helping hand, disputing parking tickets is easier than ever. If you have a robust defense, you can prove that your ticket is invalid and prevent yourself from paying an unfair fine.

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