Friday, May 20, 2011

Parking Tickets

About a year ago, my co-worker received a parking ticket from the City of Los Angeles. Or at least, he thought he did. There was a red parking ticket envelope under the windshield wiper of his truck, but nothing was inside, it was just an envelope.

Later on, he called the agency in charge, and they told him they could not verify or deny that he had received a parking ticket. They said it was possible that it was not "put into the system" just yet.

Eventually he forgot about it, until he received a "Notice of Delinquent Parking Violation" letter from the Parking Violations Bureau. Not only did he owe a fine for the ticket that he did not receive, he was now responsible for a "Late Fee."

After calling the Parking Violations Bureau, he was given no sympathy and told right then that he had to pay, or face more fines. He decided it was not worth the fight and paid the total fine of over $100.

Recently, I also received a parking ticket, but my circumstances were different. I parked in a "Yellow Loading Only" zone, and went into the store right in front of the space. I was not in the store for 2 minutes when I saw the Parking Enforcement Officer writing a ticket for my car. Being more "in-the-know" about where a person can park legally than most, I decided that I would just let it go, and fight this ticket in Court.

You see, once an Officer starts writing a ticket, it is too late to do anything about it, and it must go through it's paces before it can be dismissed.

However, the business owner was not happy. It's bad enough that the Economy has hit all businesses hard, he did not want his customers to be deterred from shopping in the area by being in fear of getting a parking ticket.

The business owner went outside and told the Officer that I should not get a ticket. The officer explained, rightly, that I did not have Commercial license plates, so I was not legally parked in the Yellow zone.

The business owner reminded the Officer that everyone has 5 minutes to park in a Yellow zone. The Officer agreed, but stated that I was parked there for more than 5 minutes.

The Officer was told again, that I just entered the store, placed my order, and was paying for my goods when I noticed I was getting a ticket, so it was less than 5 minutes.

The Officer left the scene, and the business owner came back into the shop looking disgusted. I told the business owner that it would be okay, and that I would fight the ticket. When I went to my car, I did not find a ticket. The Officer had left without leaving one. The business owner was relieved, and I thanked him for saving me from getting a ticket and the hassle of fighting the ticket.

I received a "Notice of Delinquent Parking Violation" letter from the Parking Violations Bureau on the very day my fine was due, Thursday, May 12. It was too late to do anything about it, and I worked the next day, Friday. I was off on Monday the 16th and went to protest this ticket. I was told to fill out a protest form, and wait for a reply in 10-14 days.

Just 4 days later, my protest was denied. They stated that I waited too long to fight the ticket, and forfeited all of my rights to fight the ticket.

I was now responsible to pay the fine plus the late fee.

Oh, I'm going to fight this one for sure. I may not win, but I sure will make them work for it.

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