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How to Avoid a Parking Ticket in 15 Steps

How to Avoid a Parking Ticket in 15 Steps
Written by Oana Schneider

You’re in a hurry to run an errand after work and once you go back to your car, you find a parking ticket tucked under the windshield wiper. It has generally been a bad day and you don’t want to pay the fine for the ticket on top of it. So what can you do?

Starting from pleading ignorance to admitting that you really made a mistake, there are plenty of ways to talk yourself out of a parking ticket. Before enumerating what these ways are, let us take a look at why such tickets are issued by police officers in the first place.

In any major city or town in the US, parking and speeding tickets are common. Most drivers find parking and speeding laws pretty easy to break. Another reason is that parking tickets make a lot of money for the local government. In fact, so many parking tickets get handed out on a regular basis that you could end up getting one even if you did not actually break the law. In the next section, we will be counting down the top 15 ways on how you can talk yourself out or avoid a parking ticket.

How to Avoid a Parking Ticket in a Delicate Manner

Nobody’s perfect and almost every driver will get a parking ticket at one point or another. Although accepting your punishment is the right thing to do, there are times when you simply want a solution to get out of the violation – without having to actually pay the penalty. Here’s how to avoid a parking ticket without making it worse for yourself:

1. Avoid getting parking tickets in the first place

What’s the number one thing that you can do to avoid a parking ticket? Avoid it in the first place. This may seem like an obvious solution but you will end up saving a lot of time, effort and money by avoiding parking in areas which are restricted. Before leaving your car somewhere, look around and read the signs. Make sure that parking is allowed before actually getting out of your vehicle. and this is how to avoid a parking ticket!

2. Check for a mistake on the parking ticket issued

If you want to find out how to avoid a parking ticket, the best way is to check your ticket. The next thing to do is to check for a mistake on the parking ticket issued. Read the details – starting from the date to the location. If any item on the parking ticket is wrong, you can easily contest it. The same thing holds true if the writing is illegible.

3. Know when police offers check parking meters

Are you parking in an area where there’s a time limit? If yes, make it a point not to park there at the beginning or end of the time limit. Let’s say that the parking meter turns off at 5pm. The officers will most likely check the meters fifteen minutes before 5pm, so you are most likely to get a ticket if your car is parked there. When looking up ways on how to avoid a parking ticket, most people forget about this method.

4. Check on the statute of the parking ticket

Notice statutes are a city requirement to make people aware about how citations are enforced. To contest your parking ticket, look for dilapidated or worn out signs, painted curbs or supposedly visible white lines which are hardly noticeable. Remember that all policemen know every trick on how to avoid a parking ticket too!

How to Avoid a Parking Ticket in 15 Steps

Check on the statute of the parking ticket!

5. You can talk yourself out of the parking ticket if there’s an emergency

If you’re legitimately dealing with an emergency like a relative rushed to the hospital, being late for a funeral or any other personal story, you can easily talk your way out of the parking ticket. How to avoid a parking ticket? Fake an emergency and clear your conscience as soon as possible! 

6. Know what not to say when issued a parking ticket

Here are the things that you should NOT say when being issued a parking ticket:

  • “Officer, there’s no sign saying that I can’t park here.”
  • “I don’t know the law.”
  • “This is totally unfair.”
  • “I’m just about to move my car.”
  • “I can’t afford this ticket.”

Police officers know the most typical excuses used by drivers who are trying to avoid a parking ticket, so steer clear of these expressions. It’s better to simply admit that you were in the wrong and apologize, in which case you might get lucky and have the officer let you off with just a warning. the question is how to avoid a parking ticket when they’ve heard all the excuses?

7. Know how to appeal the ticket

When it comes to parking violations, you are not necessarily presumed innocent until proven guilty. The mere fact that you were issued a ticket means that you are in violation of traffic laws. So what can you do to get out of it? Present good evidence which will overcome the presumption that you are indeed guilty of violating traffic laws. File your appeal within the window. Although there are some cities where you’ll be required to pay the fine first then appeal, some cities will not take your fine while an appeal is still pending. How to avoid a parking ticket when you are proven guilty already? Well, that’s a different matter.

8. Know how to challenge the offence

To challenge the parking ticket, tell the proper agency that you are going to defend the case. Parking tickets are anywhere from $150 to $200, and there’s no reason why you should give this amount to the city government that easily, especially if undeserved. Learn about the process of filing an appeal for the parking ticket. Most people, when looking up how to avoid a parking ticket, they can legally fight the ticket.

9. Pull over immediately and relax

For speeding offences, pull over immediately if a police officer is after you and relax. Follow the instructions of the officer accordingly. Remember that a parking or speeding violation is generally a minor offence, so there really is no need to look guilty – even if it is your first time to be pulled over while driving. 

10. Do as the officer tells you to do

How to avoid a parking ticket very efficiently? Do as you’re told. Once you put your car to a stop, smile and do as the officer tells you. If he or she asks for your license and registration, produce the requested material. Be quiet and cooperative.

11. Honesty is the best approach

More often than not, honesty is the best approach to fight a parking ticket, a speeding ticket or any other traffic offence. Let’s say that you were pulled over for speeding. Admit to the officer that you were speeding and apologize. The less you talk, the better. On the other hand, there are instances when light banter might just work. You can engage the police officer in light conversation to provide a distraction from writing up the ticket. If you were engaging enough, you might be let off with a warning. How to avoid a parking ticket once you’ve been caught lying? Well, crying won’t help!

How to Avoid a Parking Ticket in 15 Steps

Honesty is the best approach to fight any traffic offence!

12. Say that you are late for a personal emergency

You could be late for work, for a funeral, for a wedding, a meeting or any other type of personal emergency. If this is your excuse, maintain eye contact with the officer and flash your sincerest smile. You can outright ask the police officer is you can receive just a warning. If you succeed, do not speed off or use your phone while driving away. The officer is bound to still have his or her eyes set on your vehicle, so behave accordingly. Being late might just top the how to avoid a parking ticket list, but don’t abuse it!

13. Admit that you were speeding and apologize

How to avoid a parking ticket in a decent way? Be responsible! As mentioned earlier, honesty is the best approach. If speeding is your offence and you got pulled over, admit that you were speeding and apologize. Again, it pays to ask the officer outright if you can be let off with just a warning so you don’t have to pay the parking ticket.

14. You’re either sick, or you need to go to the bathroom

If you’re driving a family car and there are kids in the back, you can use the excuse of needing to go to the bathroom. You can also use the sick excuse, in which case an officer might not want to catch what you have and let you off without a ticket.

15. Use an app to help you fight the parking ticket

Finally, use an app that will help you fight the parking ticket. A new iPhone app called Fixed helps fight parking tickets for you. The app will suggest reasons why the parking ticket could be invalid and provide you with instructions on how to file a proper appeal or prepare the paperwork.  If you use the app and you beat the parking ticket, you need to pay Fixed 25% of what the actual ticket would have cost. If you don’t get out of it, there is no charge for using the service. When it comes to ideas on how to avoid a parking ticket, honesty is probably the best solutions, but you can fake a few things if you’re a good actor. 

Drivers who get issued with parking tickets usually have an emotional, impulsive reaction to the officer. Remember that the calmer you deal with the situation, the better. Even if you think that the parking ticket is unfair, do not let your anger out on the police officer who issued you the ticket.

If you feel that the citation was issued erroneously, there is absolutely no reason why you should not issue a protest. This way, you won’t have to shell out your hard-earned bucks just to pay the parking ticket that you were issued. If our thoughts on how to avoid a parking ticket seem a bit forced, it’s because we believe you should always be honest and take responsibility for your actions!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

8 Comments

  • Paying for a parking ticket is a huge and unnecessary expense; spending $150 to $200 because you did not initially check for a sign can be a slap to the forehead. The best advice in this article is to simply be aware and observant. The second best advice here is to be honest with an officer. Like the article said, the officer already knows all the typical excuses. They will immediately lose respect if you try lying.

  • Checking the signs and the laws are the number one thing to do indeed. However, it is definitely unfair to be given a ticket if there are no signs anywhere. Is a “verbal agreement” of no parking here enough? I have heard people given tickets even if there are no signs everywhere, the ticket includes other minor traffic offenses too.

    Honesty is indeed the number one thing to have, coupled with sincerity. I have seen a few officers letting people off with a warning, based on personal experience.

  • Sometimes, you get a ticket that you cannot argue with, because you were quite clearly in the wrong. However, there are other times that they might not be fair – as signs may not have been obvious. If this is the case, you can certainly appeal. Also, not every parking ticket is even enforceable by law. It depends on who is issuing it at well. Sometimes, a ticket is more of an invoice rather than a law-enforced fine, and those cannot be chased or claimed. If you pay it, you are doing so voluntarily, and should always be absolutely aware of this. Being clued up about your rights is literally the only way that you’re going to be able to stay safe, so it is worth getting the information.

  • Good thoughts. Around here we do not have many parking meters but people can still get parking tickets. For example in the Winter it is illegal for people be parking on the side of the road in the winter as it snows a lot in Canada and such. You can get a fine for that. Everywhere I go usually has parking lots so I don’t have to personally worry about it to much.

  • In the city of Berkeley it seems like there’s some sort of parking scandal going on because even if you pay the meter they still give you a ticket which is exactly why I record and take pictures of the meter when I get out of the car.

  • There was mostly good advice through #8 but in #9-14 you meandered into speeding tickets. I expected 15 solid tips on PARKING tickets, not tickets in general. And when you said “steps” in the title it made me think you were going to lay out a process, one by one steps, not a bunch of different ideas.

  • The best advice I think when you’re already caught in the process is just to be courteous to the officer and acknowledge that you know they’re just doing their jobs. Also, don’t forget to keep a cool head. Most people unsurprisingly get anxious when they get stopped, but try to be dispassionate and impartial to the situation. This brings a professional vibe to your interaction and shows that you respect the authority of the officer. they might show some courtesy back and let you off with a warning instead of a ticket.

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