How to Dispute Parking Tickets – Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on January 22, 2021 by Greg

Got a parking ticket that you swear isn’t correct? To the surprise of many, human error occurs all the time when it comes to parking tickets. If you found a mistake and want to dispute your parking ticket, look no further! Our guide will share everything you need to do for the best chances of winning when you contest your ticket. We also share how to contest, what circumstances entail a dispute, and more. 

Possible Reasons to Dispute Your Parking Ticket

  • Ticket is illegible
  • Wrong date of issuance, time, or county
  • Incorrect or missing vehicle information (wrong license plate number, plate type, vehicle color, model year, vehicle manufacturer, etc.)
  • They didn’t specify whether you were parked in ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ the address in question
  • You were given a ticket for not having a parking permit, but your permit was displayed
  • The signs were wrong – perhaps they gave incorrect information or weren’t visible 
  • You weren’t the owner of the vehicle at the time (you’ll need to prove it)
  • Your car was stolen (you’ll also need to prove this)
  • You were overcharged 
  • Malfunctioning parking meter

How to Dispute a Parking Ticket

1. Take Pictures

The first step is gathering evidence. You probably already received the ticket and left the scene, so it might be too late for this step. Even so, it’s good to remember for future situations. If you suspect your parking ticket is unfair, take photographs of the scene for evidence. You’ll want to photograph the location of your parked car, markings on the road or curb, parking meter, relevant signs, and anything else that falls into what makes a parking ticket invalid.

2. Don’t Pay the Fines

Paying your parking violation assumes liability, and makes it much more difficult to reverse the payment. If you insist on appealing, make sure you leave the ticket unpaid until after your hearing.

3. Write Your Dispute Letter (or Dispute Parking Ticket Online)

Back in the day, writing a letter was the only way to contest your ticket or request a hearing. Although you can still write a letter, disputing online is the way most people choose to send their dispute. You can dispute online, through the mobile app, physical mail, or even in-person when you get an NYC parking ticket. The same applies to most major cities.

The ticket will typically share instructions on how to appeal the ticket, including the parking ticket office address to send your letter to. Make sure to send the letter before the appeal cutoff time to avoid late fees and penalties – this is typically 30 days after your ticket was issued. 

4. Attach Evidence to the Letter 

You’ll need to include any evidence that supports your claim. This might include photos of the scene of the incident, signed witness statements, a receipt for vehicle repairs or towed services if your vehicle was disabled when you received the ticket, etc. 

When you send your letter, make sure to purchase tracking information and keep the return receipt. Check out a few parking ticket appeal letter templates to see how you should write your letter. 

5. Call to Confirm

If you don’t get a response within a few days, make sure to call the office to confirm they received your letter. Let them know you have a tracking number that says when your letter was delivered, and ask when you should expect a response. 

They get hundreds of inquiries a day, so it’s a given that some of them will be overlooked.

6. Attend the Hearing (If Needed)

You won’t always need a hearing, but sometimes they’ll request it if the evidence wasn’t enough to resolve your case. Make sure to bring copies of the evidence you sent and speak clearly to the hearing officer. 

For some cities, there are online or phone hearings rather than a physical court appearance. 

7. Don’t Lie

These suggestions are only for cases where your ticket truly is invalid. If you’re just looking for how to get out of a parking ticket, be careful. You will be subject to extra charges if the court finds out you were lying or using fake evidence.

How to Dispute Parking Tickets

Writing Your Appeal Letter

When writing your letter or describing what happened online, you’ll need to be professional. They won’t take you seriously if you write in emojis. Make sure to address them warmly and give specific details about the situation – there are plenty of templates available online if you’d like more assistance! 

How to Pay Your Parking Ticket?

If you’ve looked through these tips for how to contest a parking ticket, you might have decided your ticket is illegible. Wondering how to make a ticket payment? 

There are plenty of ways to pay – the easiest is to pay online. Other payment options include pay by mail with a money order or check, pay in person at their office, or pay by phone. You’ll typically need your citation number or vehicle license number to make a payment (usually just the citation number for online payment).

They typically accept both credit and debit cards for online payments as well as phone and in-person payments. You can set up a payment plan for your parking fines if you’re qualified. 

Bottom Line

As long as you have a strong defense, you should be able to dispute a parking ticket easily. There are plenty of circumstances that could make a ticket invalid – don’t always assume that the parking officer who wrote your ticket is right!

Quick Links to Parking Tickets by City