What to do if You Get a Parking Citation
Parking citations are a common annoyance for drivers. Whether you forgot to put your quarters in the meter or left your car for longer than you intended, the sight of a fluttering piece of paper shoved underneath your windshield wiper can cause even the most good-natured driver to mutter under his or her breath. Here’s what you need to do if you are issued a parking citation.
How to Proceed
Retrieve the citation from your windshield and move your vehicle as soon as you notice it. Many drivers make the mistake of trying to “get their money’s worth” of a parking citation.
Parking tickets are usually issued by metropolitan police departments or organizational parking officials. For example, many colleges and universities have a specific organization that is responsible for the regulation of parking on their campuses.
Look for payment information on the ticket. Most parking citations do not require you to go to court, like traffic citations, unless you have repeat offenses. The amount that you owe should be clearly printed on the ticket. You should also find a mailing address to which you can send a payment.
My meter was broken! If you feel that you need to dispute the parking citation, you should contact the police department or parking organization for more information. You may be required to submit your request in writing or appear in person at the office.
Repeat offenders often find that letting parking tickets go unpaid has severe consequences. Some cities and campuses have put into place a system that allows drivers to have up to three or four unpaid parking citations. If these are left unpaid, a “boot,” or large metal cap, will be locked onto one of your vehicle’s wheels the next time you are issued a parking ticket. This boot will only be removed when the balance is paid in full. As you can imagine, this is a huge inconvenience that is easily prevented by promptly paying for your parking tickets.
While many drivers overlook parking tickets as reprimands for poor parking practices, parking citations are a serious offense. In many cases, drivers are issued a parking ticket because they have left their car in an area or position that puts others in danger.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Driving-Tests.org. He has been writing for beginner US drivers for several years.
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