Got a Wrongly Issued Parking Ticket? Here’s How To Appeal It
You’re walking back to your car, and there it is. The dreaded little white piece of paper propped under your windshield wiper. You check your watch and realise you’re still within your time limit. How could this have happened? And what can you do to contest the parking ticket and clear your record?
If you’ve found yourself in this uncomfortable situation – you aren’t alone. Something ticket officers don’t want to hear, is that wrongly issued tickets and fines are more common than you think. Oftentimes, council workers may miss resident parking permits on car dashboards. A couple of calls can resolve the problem!
A couple of pointers worth knowing:
- It’s surprisingly not unusual for parking fines to be wrongly issued.
- Wrongly issued fines require hard evidence of your innocence to stand a chance of being lifted.
- Many drivers have received compensation for parking fines that were wrongly issued, so don’t lose hope.
The council doesn’t always get it right
Across New South Wales, more than a million parking tickets were issued in 2020. In Melbourne alone, about 15, 000 parking fines are waived each year. With penalties up to $531 – which is what you’d pay for wrongly parking in a disabled zone in the Premier State, fighting a fine can be worthwhile. In fact, Australians have received millions of dollars in compensation over the last decade for parking fines and infringement notes that should have never been issued.
Do you believe you weren’t parking illegally and have been wrongly fined? Instead of paying the fine to “be done with it”, the team at Novus has put effort into research to help you collect hard evidence and prove your innocence.
Ground Rules you need to follow
Now that you know it’s not impossible to win a ticket dispute, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. The easiest way to save money and keep your record clean is to do your best to avoid getting a parking ticket in the first place.
You can do this by simply:
- Carefully read all the signs around where you’ve parked to ensure the parking is legal on that day and time, and for as long as you planned to be parked.
- If you’re paying metered parking, pay as directed.
- If your city council offers a parking app, use it! It makes the process simple and effective.
- If you easily lose track of time, you can even set a reminder or alarm for 10 minutes before your parking time is up to make sure you don’t stay beyond the time you’ve paid for.
Followed the rules but still got a fine? What are your options?
If you’ve played by the rules and have still been hit with a parking fine, you can choose between three pathways:
- Pay your fine: You can bite into the sour apple and pay up. Remember if you want to dispute a ticket, then do not pay it! If you pay for your ticket, you can’t challenge it later.
- Dispute your ticket: If you have enough evidence to make your case, you may choose to appeal to the council whose parking officer issued the fine.
- Take your case to court: If you think it’s worth the time and money, you may contest your case in court.
Whatever you decide to do, you have 28 days from the date the ticket was issued to take action. If you miss the deadline, you’re risking further penalty fees.
- Parking and speeding tickets are common reasons for hefty fines. But did you know that tailgating is illegal, too and can result in a $439 fine and 3 demerit points, depending on where you live?
What are the most common reasons for incurring a fine?
Whilst this may come as no surprise, learning the most common reasons why tickets are issued in the first place will help you avoid future tickets.
- Parking without paying at a ticket metre
- Overstaying allotted time in your parking spot
- Parking where the road is marked with a yellow edge line
- Parking in residential parking spots without a valid permit
- Parking in disabled parking areas without a permit
- Stopping in a ‘no stopping zone’
What should you do if you see the ticket being issued?
If you’re returning to your car just as the officer writes your ticket, now is not the time to confront the officer. Once a parking fine has been issued and put into the system, the ticket officer doesn’t have the power to cancel it. We recommend waiting until the officer has left the scene, as your case is now out of their hands and there is no point arguing about it.
What excuses work in winning a parking fine dispute?
The key to successfully making your case is to take a close look at the parking ticket itself and focus on errors that render it legally invalid. Has the model of your car been correctly described? Are the date and time stated right? Did the officer sign their name?
Here are a few other defences we’ve found to work:
- Incorrect penalty notice: The offence regulation code does not match its title, or the make and registration on the notice do not match your vehicle
- Obstructed parking signs: The parking sign was obstructed by trees or vandalism
- Missing parking signs or markings: No signs indicating your parking spot was not legal
- Missing or obstructed road markings: Parking bay markings were not clearly visible
- Faulty parking meters: The meter wasn’t operating
- Parking tickets: Your parking ticket confirms you paid to park and did not overstay
- Medical emergency or vehicle breakdown: You can prove there was a medical emergency or that your car had broken down
Commonly used excuses that don’t work
Don’t waste your time with appeals that rarely end well for the contestant:
- I forgot to check the sign.
- I didn’t know the law.
- My appointment went longer than I thought.
- It was raining/I was in a rush.
- I am visiting and don’t know the area.
- I was on my way to move my car.
- I can’t afford this ticket.
If you’re using any of these reasons, then we are sorry to say, you likely don’t have a valid reason to dispute your ticket. Now that we’ve covered the most common reasons why tickets are wrongly issued, let’s talk about what to do when you find yourself having to fight one.
Appealing your wrongly issued parking ticket
If you choose to appeal to the council whose parking officer issued the fine, start by gathering evidence. If you choose to dispute your fine, you need to gather as much proof as possible to arm your case.
Gathering sufficient evidence
Photos of the area where your car was parked are the best form of defence. This includes evidence of possible obstructions of parking signs like trees or poles, as well as pictures of the parking meter in case it was faulty.
Appealing a parking ticket online
Thanks to the internet, appealing your parking ticket is made relatively easy. Your infringement notice will mention where you can lodge an appeal online or who to call for more information. Alternatively, check your local council website for details.
The council’s online form will save you from writing a lengthy appeal and mailing it via post. When you are filling out the form, make sure to word it right. We know how frustrating it is having to appeal a wrongly issued fine, but it’s important to remember to not let your frustration show and approach the situation with a level head.
Tips for writing your appeal
- Be brief and clear.
- Mention the exact location, date and time of the ticket.
- Explain how and why you parked where you did.
- State the reason why the ticket may not be valid.
- Using legal arguments to support your case.
- Mention relevant attachments and evidence.
- If you have photos, number them and mention these numbers.
Following up on your dispute letter
Once you’ve submitted your appeal to the council, you will receive a written response to inform you whether your appeal was successful or not. This may take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.
- If you have been successful, you won’t need to take further action.
- If you have been unsuccessful, you will need to either pay the fine or request another review.
If you choose to contest the decision and request a second review, you should supply additional evidence to make your case. This can include more photos or an eye-witness statement supporting your claim. The statement needs to be signed by the witness and contain their correct contact information.
- If you had a medical emergency, add a doctor’s statement, again signed and sealed.
- Did your car break down? Add the receipt from your mechanic to proof you weren’t at fault.
Contesting your parking ticket in court
Going to court is often the last resort in appealing a parking fine and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Fighting a parking ticket in court can result in significant costs, should your appeal be denied. If you lose, you will not only have to pay your fine but the occurring costs of both the court and council.
If you’re in the unlucky position to have been fined for a parking crime you didn’t commit, don’t fret. If it falls under the circumstances listed above, you can expect a favourable outcome and dodge paying for the blatant mistakes made by others.
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