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January 04, 2010

3 parking tickets, 3 askings. Let the games begin.

[I feel your pain! via]

If you wanted to appeal a parking ticket, what would be the best way to go about it?

Should you:
a) Look for inaccuracies in the way the ticket was written and argue that those render the citation invalid or untrustworthy?
b) Assert you had a parking permit properly displayed at the time the ticket was issued, which means you shouldn't have gotten cited in the first place? (aka a sorta, half, almost, goosebelly grey lie) (ok, fine, big fat lie)
c) Simply ask: tug at the appeal decider's heartstrings with an absurdly touching story about a preemie, then request clemency?
Ever in the pursuit of truth, your dastardly asker has decided to obtain not one but THREE tickets in December, so she could test each of these methods.

That's right. I was so excited to bring you the latest and greatest in parking ticket appeal techniques that between December 1 and December 4, I acquired three whole tickets. The first was for parking in my own driveway. The second two were for letting the meter expire.

Because the people deserve to know: Which method wins?

1) The "Invalid Ticket" method

I was cited for parking in my own driveway and touching the sidewalk with two wheels. In my appeal letter, I cited California Vehicle Code and tried to undermine the officer's competence.

CVC states that if the VIN (vehicle identification number) is visible on the dashboard, it must be written on the citation. My citation did not include the VIN, even though it is visible. Perhaps the ticket is invalid? Perhaps the officer was sloppy? Here's what I wrote:
I am writing to appeal citation number [###], issued on [##/##/####] at 8:40 a.m. I believe this citation is not valid for two reasons. California Vehicle Code section 40202 states that the vehicle identification number (VIN), if visible through the windshield, must be reported on a citation. Here is that code, for your reference.

The notice of parking violation shall also set forth the vehicle license number and registration expiration date if they are visible, the last four digits of the vehicle identification number, if that number is readable through the windshield, the color of the vehicle, and, if possible, the make of the vehicle. The notice of parking violation, or copy thereof, shall be considered a record kept in the ordinary course of business of the issuing agency and the processing agency and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein.

My VIN is visible through the windshield, yet it was not included on the citation, rendering that ticket noncompliant with California law.

2) Given that Officer [XXX] did not notice or record the VIN number, I do not know how anything he or she observed or reported on this ticket is trustworthy, hence presumed accurate. That is, if Officer [XXX] did not correctly record the VIN, how do we know he or she was not rushed, did not make other mistakes in issuing this ticket, including the very observation that my car was touching the sidewalk?

I have included two pieces of photographic evidence. First is a photo of the VIN number, and second is a second citation, obtained two days later, in which the VIN is reported. I provided the first so that anyone reviewing my case can see that the VIN is visible through the windshield, and the second image to show that another officer had no trouble reading these last four numbers.

Based on this information, I ask you to dismiss this ticket. Thank you for your time.


La Roxy

2) The "Lying Scum" method

Next, I got cited for having an expired meter in an area of a college campus where, if you possess a special permit, you can park for free around the clock.

A friend gave me his permit number (since it's not restricted to a single car) and I put that on the citation appeal form. He said if I need to go in to a hearing, he'll let me bring his permit. (Was the permit actually there? If a ticket and a permit walk into a bar and no one notices either of them, are they really there? Are any of us really every "here" or "there?" What is the meaning of life? Mommy?!)

Here is what I wrote:
Multi-use permit displayed on dashboard. Number provided in form above. Further documentation gladly provided.
3) The "Preemie in Danger" method


The last ticket I got, the very next day, was also for an expired meter. I had no good explanations or surprise revelations to resort to, and so I tried a different approach. The "Have mercy on me and indirectly participate in my good deed," approach. Here is what I wrote:
I am requesting clemency, mercy, or any leeway you can grant. I always dutifully either pay the meters or use a multi-purpose permit. That day I was on my way to my car, to move it, and on the way I stopped to say hi to someone who is extremely talkative. I realize I could have cut her off and gone to my car, but she was telling me about her new premature baby and I felt bad to say, "Gotta run! Hope she survives! Tell me another time!"

I know it's ridiculous to ask for mercy for something so trivial, but if there is any way you can forgive this, or give me a break of some sort, it would be a huge relief.

I was about to pay it, but I realized that I could at least try asking first.

Thank you,
La Roxy
Three tickets. Three askings. Results TBA.

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