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March 6, 2004

Free Parking Ticket Help

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:17 pm

I recently suggested that bar associations, law students, or even local governments, start doing more to help recipients of parking tickets learn their rights.  In the past week, I located two examples of government-sponsored websites with such information:


no parking neg

City of Chicago: Contesting a Parking Ticket — on this “I Object” webpage, Chicago lists each defense available for challenging a parking ticket, and supplies an email link for asking questions.  You need to check your local ordinances, of course, but this information would be valid in many communities:

  1. The respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation.

  2. The cited vehicle or its state registration plates were stolen at the time the violation was issued.

  3. The relevant signs prohibiting or restricting parking were missing or obscured.

  4. The parking meter was broken or malfunctioning through no fault of your own.

  5. The facts alleged on the ticket contain inconsistent or inaccurate information, or the facts fail to establish that the violation occurred.

  6. The illegal condition described in the compliance violation did not exist at the time the violation was issued.

  7. The compliance violation has been corrected prior to the hearing; provided, however, that this defense shall not apply to [various violations listed in particular sections of the City’s regulations]  


The National Parking Adjudication Service — It’s no surprise that a comprehensive site is available with parking-ticket information in the United Kingdom.  “The National Parking Adjudication Service is an independent tribunal where impartial lawyers consider appeals by motorists and vehicle owners whose vehicles have been issued with Penalty Charge Notices (or have been removed or clamped) by councils in England and Wales enforcing parking under the Road Traffic Act 1991.”  At the site, you’ll find information on Challenging Your Ticket, plus links to relevant Regulations and Legislation.

If visitors to this site know of similar webpages, please leave a pointer.  If bar groups, law students or local traffic departments don’t know where to start, I hope they’ll get some good ideas from the Chicago and UK websites.


  1. David: What’s your take on speeding tickets? I just did a search and found some relevant self-help sites. As for parking tickets, in my neck of the woods, they are generally three to five dollars, and generally valid (as one who receives about one per week, I know)–I just pay them. For most consumers, wouldn’t the lost opportunity cost of challenging even a $25 ticket (i.e., spending time fighting the ticket that could be better spent on other pursuits) lead to a decision just to pay the ticket? I can see the other side, though: if I had to pay $25 because the meter was broken, that’s worth a fight. (But as a lawyer, I’d be able to show up at traffic court, cut in front of the hundreds of people waiting in the benches, and get the immediate attention of the prosecutor, who’d probably cancel the ticket because I’m a lawyer–now *that’s* unfair.)

    Comment by Evan — March 7, 2004 @ 8:58 am

  2. Hi, Mr. Schaeffer. As for speeding tickets, I think there should be a lot more of them — and none of this hanky-panky of reductions to “parking on the pavement” if you bring a lawyer to court, but no plea reductions if you’re on your own.

    On parking tickets: I guess that a lot of parking authorities count on ticketees paying to avoid the transaction cost – you know, tiny nuisance suits [a concept I’m sure you learned about in trial lawyer school]. It would be great if there were a way to have a first level of challenge to a ticket online, or through a phone-in system. Of course, that would put a dent in municipal income.

    The special treatment lawyers get when they receive parking or speeding tickets really irks me.

    Finally, let me point out that $25 is truly a lot of money to a very large portion of the American public. Traffic courts should at least be held in the evening, so that working folk can assert their rights without losing pay (or getting fired).

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 7, 2004 @ 4:38 pm

  3. On the sub-topic of traffic court at night, that’s how it’s done in most municipalities across the river from my office in St. Louis County. There are *92* municipalities in St. Louis County; I can’t say all of them have a traffic court, but I think most do. And those that do of which I’m aware hold traffic court at night. There are quite a few firms in St. Louis and St. Louis County that do nothing but speeding tickets. And quite a few areas of town where you’re likely to get a speeding ticket if you’re not very careful. The municipalities earn their money (a friend got a ticket for receiving a kiss on the cheek while driving 35 mph) and so do the lawyers.

    Comment by Evan — March 7, 2004 @ 5:11 pm

  4. I was wondering if there is anything I could do to drastically reduce some parking tickets.I had a truck stored on private property that was issued tickets for expired tags and inop vehicle for flat tire.Had 43 tickets in ten months that is 10,000 in fines.My license was suspended for this and I keep getting caught for driving.I don’t have that kind of money to make a big enough down payment.I don’t feel this is right and hope there is something I can do.Anything that could help would be apreciated.

    Comment by Paul — June 1, 2008 @ 2:37 am

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