You know that sinking feeling as you walk towards your car and notice something unsettling on the windshield. No, not bird poop, although that sucks too, but a frustrating parking ticket. You knew it seemed too good to be true to find such a great spot on a busy Saturday afternoon. And with all the money you'd just saved at your favorite clothing store's going-out-of-business sale, you are now going to have to shell it out anyway to pay off the damn ticket. But not so fast!
You may be able to worm your way out of paying it. Whether you don't think you deserve the ticket or you can't afford the hefty fine, here are five ways to get out of it.
Contest it ASAP
There's no time like the present, and every second counts. As soon as you can do so, start contesting the ticket. As per WikiHow, "Read the procedure and deadlines carefully. Your ticket will have information explaining how to contest the citation and how long you have after the citation was issued. Even though you may have as many as 30 days to request a hearing or contest your ticket, do it as soon as possible."
Do Your Park adds, "You can contest your ticket through mail, in person, or online. Evidence is an essential part in explaining your case; remember every detail before and after you got a ticket to find any evidence you feel might is important in getting you out of it."
Some ways to gather evidence? As per LAD Bible, "(Take) photographs. Snap any unclear signs, bay markings or lines, and areas where you believe they should be. Also take pics of where your car was, the meter and your ticket, plus anything else that might be relevant. Also, get some witness statements. If anyone will corroborate your story, get their details and ask them to sign a statement - e.g., if it was impossible to see the signs or you were loading or unloading goods from your car and you stayed within the rules."
Look for Errors
Another way to have an edge in getting out of a ticket is if you find errors on the ticket. Mistakes happen, so you could benefit from an officer's oversight. For instance, as advised by New York Parking Ticket, "Always, without fail, check for omitted, misdescribed, or illegible required elements on the front of your parking ticket. If you find a mistake, you win upon application. Pay special attention to 'place of occurrence.'"
WikiHow notes, "The mistake has to be a major thing. For example, if you drive a silver Honda Civic and the ticket lists a green Volkswagen Beetle, that's clearly not your car. However, if the officer wrote the ticket for a 'gray Honda Civic,' that's probably not enough of a difference to defeat your liability for the violation."
Leave a Note on Your Car
This one's a hit or miss, but it's worth the good old college try. Appeal to a kind-hearted law enforcement officer by being proactive. One example comes from a savvy driver from Wausau, Wisconsin who had to leave their car in a metered spot overnight. What did their compelling note say? "Please take pity on me, I walked home ... Safe choices. =)." And it worked! The officer only left a warning, with no fine. Take note of this idea before you're slapped with a ticket.
Get Aid from an App
Yes, "there's an app for that," even when it comes to fighting parking tickets. The #1 choice for managing and disputing parking tickets is Winit for Android and iOS users. Just take a photo of your ticket and submit any evidence you may have to the app, and their team will get on it. They won't charge you unless your ticket is dismissed. It's simple, quick, and they've saved their users more than 6 million bucks, so it's worth a shot!
Hit the Books
You were a good student, right? Well, get back to your studies and read up on how to beat the system with Beat That Parking Ticket by Haskell Nussbaum. Described as, "A complete reference guide for fighting tickets, whether by mail, web or in person," this paperback is filled with useful information and tactics to get out of your parking ticket from cover-to-cover. And you thought the Harry Potter books were page-turners!
Nobody's suggesting you break the law or do anything unsafe, but you don't have to be a movie star like Blake Lively to get out of a parking ticket. Just be sure to mind the speed limit!