Automobiles

In D.C., No More Due Process for Parking Tickets

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TheNewspaper.com reports:

In an attempt to stem the loss of revenue from motorists contesting parking tickets, cities are effectively eliminating the traditional due process rights of motorists to defend themselves at an impartial hearing. By the end of next year, Washington, DC's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not allow anyone who believes he unfairly received a citation to have his day in an administrative hearing.

"DMV will complete the phase-out of in-person adjudication of parking tickets in favor of mail-in and e-mail adjudication by December 2008," the Fiscal Year 2008 DMV plan states.

The move is intended to allow automated street sweeper parking ticket machines to boost the number of infractions cited well beyond the 1.6 million currently handed out by meter maids. As one-third of those who contest citations in the city are successful, the hearings cut significantly into the $100 million in revenue tickets generate each year.

Under the DMV's plan, motorists will only be able to object to a ticket by email or letter where city employees can ignore or reject letters in bulk without affected motorists having any realistic recourse.

And this is cute:

In Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, motorists cannot challenge a $100 parking ticket in court without first paying a $275 court fee. If found innocent, the motorist does not receive a refund of the $275.

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  1. Yep, that’s it. Moving to New Zealand…

  2. Can’t this suit be solved simply with our pal the Seventh?

    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Thank God the Bill of Rights isn’t inflation adjusted.

  3. But does the 7th apply to DC…?

    1. actually it would apply to DC because DC is a federally controlled city. but it may not apply to the states.

  4. IANAL, but I would think this could be easily challenged in court and defeated.

    The rapacious nature of the government seems to be increasing at an exponential rate. I suppose that’s good, because people won’t react until the government seriously overreaches, and the slow approach is in its favor.

  5. Mo, it’s not a suit and because it’s an administrative action where there is no possibility of jail time they get around all kinds of niceties we chumps have come to expect as American citizens.

  6. It seems ,due to the wide scope of law,every one is now a law breaker.The trivial are the most enforced due to the huge pool of money received in fines and costs.The law is now a tool to make money for cash strapped cities.

  7. I know you guys think that parking tickets are simply a revenue mechanism, rather than, in this case, punishment for getting in the way of street cleaning. So in the real world, where the city continues to own and clean the streets, how do you propose to actually enforce parking rules?

    1. In the “real world,” street sweeping isn’t necessary on a daily basis in an area without a high amount of foot or car traffic.

      A coworker who, on the very first day the street sweeping law went into effect on his block, had his car ticketed and towed to another illegal parking spot, where he received another ticket…all before he came home from work and realized it.

      I absolutely believe cities have the right to ticket unlawfully parked cars, but DC is resorting to Guerrilla tactics.

  8. IANAL, but I would think this could be easily challenged in court and defeated.

    Except for our fine tradition of judges simply ignoring laws that inconvenience their delusions of grandeur.

  9. So in the real world, where the city continues to own and clean the streets, how do you propose to actually enforce parking rules?

    No one is saying we shouldn’t enforce parking rules.

    I think the point is that when the enforcement is done incorrectly, we as citizens would like some recourse other than “bend over and take it, sucka!”

    But I guess that’s not really a popular idea anymore, as Radley has pointed out again and again…

  10. What D.C. needs is more heavy smokers, in order to increase cigarette tax revenues. Remember, kids: smoking is your patriotic duty.

  11. Can anybody explain why Boston always seems to be a bastion of tyranny?

  12. Any word of a court challenge to this?

  13. I think the point is that when the enforcement is done incorrectly, we as citizens would like some recourse other than “bend over and take it, sucka!”

    True enough; I suppose the presence of cameras on the trucks probably makes them think they can do without that due process stuff.

    No one is saying we shouldn’t enforce parking rules.

    I have read here time and again that parking fines are a tool for raising money and nothing else. How do you enforce parking rules without fines? Or are the fines too high? I don’t think are; or else I wouldn’t see illegal parking on every block.

  14. I AM THE LAW!!!

  15. I’m interested in challenging it, if and when it’s enacted.

    Assuming I still live within easy driving distance of D.C., that is.

  16. And people wonder why the cities are dying.

  17. “I know you guys think that parking tickets are simply a revenue mechanism, rather than, in this case, punishment for getting in the way of street cleaning. So in the real world, where the city continues to own and clean the streets, how do you propose to actually enforce parking rules?”

    I don’t know how it is in other cities but in San Francisco it is definitely more about revenue than actually getting the streets clean. The parking enforcement people show up 5 minutes before the no parking time begins. The second the clock hits the prohibited time they slap tickets on every vehicle. The street sweeper may not be by for another hour but it doesn’t matter. And if you park your car after the sweeper has left and parking enforcement comes by they will still give you a ticket.

    Add to this the fact that you have to pay for a residential permit just to park on your own street and the fact that they will give you a ticket for not blocking your wheels even on a very slight grade and it’s normal to spend hundreds of dollars a year just to park your car on a street you are already paying for with taxes.

    Oh and most of the streets are filthy.

  18. Obviously, the fines for illegal parking are not high enough. A ten thousand dollar fine and confiscation of the vehicle would fix the problem.

  19. Rywun-Fairly and with due process sounds good to me.

  20. Thank you D.C. Whenever I’m getting down in the mouth about my hometown, Washington D.C. always comes to the rescue. I know things could be worse.

  21. Pepe’s comment reminded me of seeing the vast fleet of NYC towtrucks headed up the West Side at 5:59AM.

  22. FTOYHK, WTHI IANAL?

    Aggh! iih is possessed and speaking in tongues! Quick! Grab some holy water!

  23. Northport NY will give multiple tickets to the same car. They leave a ticket on the car, one hour or so later when they pass by again, they leave another, and at the end of the day there can be several on your car. If you go to court you will hear “you could have moved your car after the first ticket”, which is of course absurd because no on continuosly checks their car fo tickets.

  24. FTOYHK, WTHI IANAL?

    Let me clarify. Read: “For Those Of You Who Know, What The Hell Is ‘IANAL’?”

    As far as the tickets thing goes, after a consistent history of parking, speeding, and numerous other types of tickets, all my appeals (whether in MI, Canada, MA, or IL) have been rejected. So why have the stupid system first place?

  25. FTOYHK, WTHI IANAL?

    Aggh! iih is possessed and speaking in tongues! Quick! Grab some holy water!

    😀

  26. IANAL=I am not a Lawyer

    Now, tell us what the hell FTOYHK is; it doesn’t show up on a Google search.

  27. What bothers me is the fact one third of contested tickets are thrown out.So 33% are getting tickets they don’t deserve and the city wants to make it almost impossible to to get a day in court?This smells of revenue enhancement.

  28. IANAL=I am not a Lawyer

    Now, tell us what the hell FTOYHK is; it doesn’t show up on a Google search.

    Because I just made it up 😉 See my 11:04 comment.

  29. Ah, never mind.

  30. What’s all the fuss? If you get a parking ticket, and the cop shows up and either lies or is their regular incompetent self, you end up paying anyway. Is there anybody that believes those hearings are fair and impartial?

    The city should encourage more people to challenge their tickets, and make a mint off of the court fees. Sure, it’s a total bastardization of due process and the American system, but what isn’t these days?

  31. So, what, are these DCers now unhappy about their being stripped of due process? To them I say:

    1. it is not like you are enfranchised anyways, and
    2. don’t be crybabies, go ask the victims of the Patriot Act if they like not having the right to due process.

    (I am being sarcastic, there should be due process, even if lousy and inefficient.)

  32. iih, FYI IANAL = I AM NOT A LAWYER

  33. What’s all the fuss? If you get a parking ticket, and the cop shows up and either lies or is their regular incompetent self, you end up paying anyway. Is there anybody that believes those hearings are fair and impartial?

    Lamar, see my post at 11:04. Actually the only time I won an appeal was in Ontario! MI once gave me back $15 of a $40 (double) parking ticket.

  34. FTYOHK = For Those Of You Hoo Know?

  35. Let me clarify. Read: “For Those Of You Who Know, What The Hell Is ‘IANAL’?”

    I am not a lawyer

  36. FTYOHK = For Those Of You Hoo Know?

    I am gonna get you for that, but it is not like I-ANAL sounds any better!!

  37. Come on people, Sam Adams could have gotten a mob in the streets over less.

  38. OK, people, lets not threadjack this discussion. I seriously apologize. But that ought to teach people a lesson not to overdo the whole acronym thing. You know, there are those of us who are internets ignorant!

  39. I still “owe” NYC some two grand in parking tickets.

    In the city, they usually yearly publish an article in the Daily News or the Post about people who owe tremendous amounts in parking fees (wasn’t there a Seinfeld episode related to this?), on the order of $50,000. I was always amazed that they couldn’t track these few people down, but I’m glad they don’t have that kind of reach.

    They also do the occasional story on how much different emabassies and consulates owe in parking (they have diplomatic immunity and ignore the tickets–NYC is their playground). It’s quite a lot.

  40. You know, there are those of us who are internets ignorant!

    TANSTAAFL.

  41. The second the clock hits the prohibited time they slap tickets on every vehicle.

    Why not? They know they shouldn’t park there–perhaps a ticket will drive the point home. How hard is it to read a damn sign?

    which is of course absurd because no on continuosly checks their car fo tickets.

    If I was knowingly parked illegally, I most certainly would be checking continuously.

  42. Episiarch:

    How did you get away with that? I have been told that in MA they will get you no matter what. MA has been described as a “Police State”.

  43. TANSTAAFL

    That one I do know.

  44. And I read it as I’m anal. It’s that Norman Mailer thread sticking in my mind I guess.

  45. IANAL DOESN’T MEAN “I AM NOT A LESBIAN?” THIS DEVELOPMENT DISTURBS THE URKOBOLD AND MAKES HIM WANT TO DELETE SEVERAL POSTINGS.

  46. How did you get away with that? I have been told that in MA they will get you no matter what. MA has been described as a “Police State”.

    I don’t know how the Massholes do things. In NY, at least a few years ago (it may have changed) parking tickets were administrative and were not linked to your ability to re-register your car, renew your driver’s license, etc. That may have changed in order to get people like me.

    Also, there are a jillion cars in NYC and though there are a fleets of tow trucks, for them to find a “marked” (tow it!) car is like playing the lottery.

    Then I sold the car that had the tickets, ditched the plates, and that was that.

  47. I’m interested in finding ways to streamline the process. But things like the $275 fee just don’t make sense. Why challenge a $100 parking ticket? It’s not a moving violation. You’re just doing it over the money and / or the principle of it.

    I don’t want to see people’s ability to have justice diminished. But we do have to keep in mind there is a small group of people who abuse the system. They’ll fight any speeding ticket or parking ticket simply in the hope the person issueing it doesn’t show up and they get off on that.

  48. You know, there are those of us who are internets ignorant!

    *coff*google*coffcoff*

    I keed, I keed :p

  49. Well, yet another reason to live on the other bank of the Potomac.

  50. In Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, motorists cannot challenge a $100 parking ticket in court without first paying a $275 court fee. If found innocent, the motorist does not receive a refund of the $275.

    WHAT!!!!!!! I just sent in an appeal for a $40 parking ticket in Boston! They do not say anything about a $100 ticket. In fact the notice says very little! I read it carefully. That is plain theft!

  51. The current definition of U.S. federal, state, and local government: “[A] small group of people who abuse the system.”

  52. Shem: Yeah, I agree, but it also ticks the hell out of me when you have to go look up every new (at least new to me) internet acronym.

  53. They’ll fight any speeding ticket or parking ticket simply in the hope the person issueing it doesn’t show up and they get off on that.

    I have tried that twice in MA, and never got off on it. The last one I got, I just paid the damned thing.

  54. And I read it as I’m anal. It’s that Norman Mailer thread sticking in my mind I guess.

    Exactly how I read it.

  55. I have received a dozen or more parking tickets in DC, some of them deserved (parking is terrible in most parts of the city), many of them not. At least one was for disobeying a sign that was not visible due to vegetation. I have never contested one but I can see why many would want to. In the late 1990s, parking tickets seemed to be the only part of the DC government that actually functioned.

    A meter maid once informed me as I was waiting in my car (in a legal spot) that I had numerous outstanding tickets that I needed to address. Not being aware of these alleged outstanding tickets, I spent half the day on the phone trying to find more information on these tickets. I went through a dozen or more DC government people before somebody was finally able to tell me that I did not have any outstanding tickets and the meter maid had been mistaken (or lying).

    DC has made great strides over the past decade but remains a city that is fundamentally unfriendly to citizens, both its own and commuters and visitors.

  56. Why challenge a $100 parking ticket? It’s not a moving violation. You’re just doing it over the money and / or the principle of it.

    For some of us, it is over the money. Here in Georgia, I pay less than $100 annually for car registration and ad valorem tax. $100 gets me a month worth of gas. To randomly spend another $100 per parking ticket, especially if it was issued by mistake or malice, is not an option for me.

  57. But we do have to keep in mind there is a small group of people who abuse the system. They’ll fight any speeding ticket or parking ticket simply in the hope the person issueing[sic] it doesn’t show up and they get off on that.

    Sorry, a few people gaming the system a little is NOT an excuse to give away our (few remaining) rights.

  58. “The second the clock hits the prohibited time they slap tickets on every vehicle.

    Why not? They know they shouldn’t park there–perhaps a ticket will drive the point home. How hard is it to read a damn sign?”

    My point was that it’s about revenue not street cleaning. If it was about street cleaning they would only ticket cars that were actually in the way of the sweeper not ones that were parked there an hour before it came by or an hour after.

    When you live in an extremely densely populated city, parking illegally is unavoidable. When I get home from work I generally have to go 5 blocks away from my apartment to find a spot. And the spot is often one that has street cleaning the next morning. It’s not that I can’t read a sign, it’s that I park in a different spot every day and the times and days for street cleaning change from block to block.
    360 days of the year I remember to move my car if I need to but the 5 days I don’t = $200 for the city. The same city that forces me to buy a permit to park on my own street and also taxes me for it and that can’t police the street enough to avoid my car being broken into 4 times in 1 year. Not to mention that the street is really dirty despite the weekly street cleaning.

    You seem to think that the majority of people are deliberately parking illegally. Most of the time it is forgetfulness. Between the tow away zones, loading zones, construction zones, street cleaning, etc. it’s pretty damn hard to find a parking space you can actually leave your car at overnight. And if you don’t drive your car every day, and it’s parked 5 blocks away, it’s very easy to forget which day you need to move it.

  59. But we do have to keep in mind there is a small group of people officers who abuse the system. They’ll fight issue any speeding ticket or parking ticket simply in the hope the person issueing[sic] receiving it doesn’t show up and they get off on that.

    That is fact in MA as police friends tell.

  60. “That is fact in MA as police friends tell.” —> “That is fact in MA as my police friends tell me.”

  61. “Sorry, a few people gaming the system a little is NOT an excuse to give away our (few remaining) rights.”

    Sorry, this is how the system was set up. Notice how there is no proof required? No photographic evidence? Whenever the system relies on an officer’s good word, it is going to be corrupt and biased. Most officers justify lying and many are just flat out incompetent. Magistrate judges are usually burned out hacks who need nothing more than a lying cop to put any particular case in the ‘adjudicated’ bin.

    The system was bullshit to start with. Removing it is just more honest.

  62. Rhywun –

    To me it’s simple:

    There should be absolutely no criminal matter, and no civil matter with a dollar value over $20, decided without a jury trial. Only the defendant should be able to waive a jury trial.

    Period.

    The state should also not be able to assess a court cost fee to a defendant, even one that is found guilty. Doing so is just as outrageous [or even more outrageous, really] as charging a fee to vote.

    If the statute or rule being enforced is not worth the expense to the state of maintaining a court of law, then get rid of the statute or rule. That may make it inconvenient or expensive to enforce parking regulations, but I honestly don’t give a damn. If the state has set up a public parking system that can only be maintained by dispensing with jury trials and setting up kangaroo courts, well, that was just bad planning by the state. Next time set your parking system up differently.

  63. Lamar:

    But the people have entrusted these officers. They do represent the people of the state! How dare you, sir, accuse the people of choosing bad police officers! They have been hand selected. They are infallible.

  64. I’m pretty sure that the only way to avoid a parking ticket in Washington DC is to get a building permit.

  65. Pepe, you just made a great case for living in the burbs. Will the last one out of NYC, Phila., D.C., Boston and other such hellholes, please turn off the lights.

  66. When you live in an extremely densely populated city, parking illegally is unavoidable.

    It’s totally avoidable if you don’t have a car, which is quite easy in an extremely densely populated city. If you must have one regardless, then you have to live with the consequences of very limited parking.

    If it was about street cleaning they would only ticket cars that were actually in the way of the sweeper not ones that were parked there an hour before it came by or an hour after.

    Again, it comes down to reading the sign. You may think it’s not fair that the city doesn’t expend the extra time and effort required to follow the sweepers around and only ticket those cars that are directly in front of the sweeper. For them it’s obviously easier, faster, and less expensive to just follow the rules on the sign and ticket everyone breaking them. Of course, if they put cameras on the street sweepers then they could do what you want if they so choose.

  67. I pity city dwellers.

  68. I pity city dwellers.

    Yeah, living without the expense and hassle of a car, and within walking distance of almost everything I need sucks. Thanks for thinking of us!

  69. Instead of just an uncontestable fine, there should be more done to halt the plague of rampant overparking that threatens the security of our nation and our nation’s children.

    Any car left in a no parking zone should be crushed into a metal cube by a mobile car crusher, then ticketed in place. The owner of said vehicle should then be charged towing and recycling fees to remove the crushed car.

  70. Why any city’s residents put up with street sweeping is beyond me. You know what, I know how to use a broom thanks. I’ll keep that portion of taxes, not pay parking tickets and towing fees, and just sweep my own damn street.

    Thank god I don’t have to deal with it at the moment. But my two years in New Haven were hell. I’m sure the tow truck lobby had the whole city gov’t on bribe-payroll.

  71. just sweep my own damn street

    And when your neighbor can’t be bothered, and the garbage that collects there blows over to your area, and brings rats, don’t come complaining about the increased court costs required to settle such disputes 🙂

  72. Pro Lib: The current definition of U.S. federal, state, and local government: “[A] small group of people who abuse the system.”

    Me so happy, me want to cry.

  73. I pity city dwellers.

    The Big Leagues are scary for players who don’t have the bat speed.

  74. This isn’t about cleaning the streets.

    If the object of parking tickets was to get cars out of the way so that the street sweeper could get by [or any other utilitarian concern related to roads or their maintenance] then any system that had high enough fines would provide the proper incentive for drivers to move their cars.

    If clean streets were the object, it wouldn’t matter if the city made money or lost money adjudicating the tickets, as long as the tickets were issued and people moved their cars.

    Taking away the right to contest the ticket therefore has absolutely nothing to do with the utilitarian end of the ticket policy, and everything to do with making sure the city makes money on issuing tickets.

    The Boston policy is similar. A $100 ticket would seem like a sufficient incentive to get people to feed the meter. The only reason to structure the court cost that way is to make it irrational to contest the ticket, even if you’re innocent. There can be no other motivation for the city to act in this way but to make sure people don’t show up and fight their tickets, so that the revenue stream will exactly equal the number of tickets issued and so that the city can avoid paying the expense of having sufficient court space and personnel to actually adjudicate its laws in a way that’s compliant with the Constitution.

  75. The Big Leagues are scary for players who don’t have the bat speed.

    City life sounds like the Negro Leagues to me.

  76. Meanwhile, suburban life is T-ball.

  77. So is city life versus country/suburban life a new GO TEAM GO thing?

    There are positives and negatives to these different lifestyles, that’s why different people choose them. Being a city dweller does not make you super-special-sophisticated, nor does it make you an idiot for dealing with the hassles.

  78. If the object of parking tickets was to get cars out of the way so that the street sweeper could get by … then any system that had high enough fines would provide the proper incentive for drivers to move their cars

    The fact that cars continue to litter the path of street sweepers (and that double parking, speeding, and every other fine-able offense is still rampant) would seem to indicate that the fines are not a deterrent. Which is weird, because most people don’t have wallets overflowing with cash but when it comes to parking & traffic violations they sure behave as if they do. I suspect what’s really going on is that many people think they can “get away” with it–perhaps based on previous experience

    Being a city dweller does not make you super-special-sophisticated, nor does it make you an idiot for dealing with the hassles.

    Nope. But it does make you shit upon by 90% of the posters here. And from my point of view the hassles are far fewer than in the sub/ex urbs. Providing this point of view which is foreign to almost everyone here is my raison d’etre (how’s THAT for sophisticated?). Hah.

  79. Oops, I got sidetracked…

    I suspect what’s really going on is that many people think they can “get away” with parking and traffic violations–perhaps based on previous experience getting away with fighting a valid ticket or on friends’ tales of getting away with it.

  80. Rhywun,

    Many posters here live or have lived in the city–I was in Manhattan for 7 years. No offense, but spare us the persecution complex. Just because one or two posters go “u must be an ijit for living in da citeez” doesn’t equal 90%.

  81. The Big Leagues are scary for players who don’t have the bat speed.

    joe, Liked it. A lot.

  82. Adding fuel to the fire. I’m a city dweller. If I had kid’s, I’d burn rubber on my way out.

  83. My biggest gripe about parking tickets is they are less about easing traffic congestion and all about making money.

    One of the offices I used to work in was on a street that prohibited parking after 4 PM. The spaces were metered for other times during the day.

    Based on my observations there was plenty of confusion about this rule (there were a couple signs posted but obviously many people didn’t see them) and after 4 PM I’d be out front of my office and routinely watched cars getting towed daily.

    The purpose of prohibiting parking after 4 was to ease traffic congestion, but of course that was totally negated with the onslaught of tow trucks tying up the right lane confiscating everyone’s vehicle which only made the traffic worse.

    The solution to the problem wasn’t a real solution, it was just a money grab for the city and the impound yard.

  84. I was in Manhattan for 7 years.

    And you’ve complained about how awful it is many times, to general agreement from the peanut gallery.

    spare us the persecution complex

    I’m merely providing some perspective. No “persecution complex” here–90% is a reasonable guess of the proportion of anti-city commentary I’ve read over the years.

  85. Still waiting for Rhywun to explain to me why the state should be able to impose its fines without the benefit of a jury trial.

    So far all you’ve come up with it “fines aren’t a deterrent when there’s a chance you’ll be found not guilty”, which is kind of a douchebaggy kind of argument.

  86. And you’ve complained about how awful it is many times, to general agreement from the peanut gallery.

    There were great things about the city, and annoying things. Wow, how complex.

    There are a lot better things to get worked up about than a few people slagging city life.

  87. There are a lot better things to get worked up about than a few people slagging city life.

    Yes, such as getting fined for parking in an area where you know you are subject to fining 🙂

  88. Aww. I thought “IANAL” stood for “I’m A Nymphomaniac And Lonely.”

  89. Now, tell us what the hell FTOYHK is; it doesn’t show up on a Google search.

    Behold the awesome power of teh Google . It does now.

    A little scary, actually, how quick it is.

  90. Aww. I thought “IANAL” stood for “I’m A Nymphomaniac And Lonely.”

    Sorry, it was supposed to be I?ANAL.

  91. Still waiting for Rhywun to explain to me why the state should be able to impose its fines without the benefit of a jury trial.

    I don’t believe in removing the due process. But I wouldn’t expect a jury trial for anything under whatever it costs to raise a jury–which is a lot more $20.

  92. I wouldn’t expect a jury trial for anything under whatever it costs to raise a jury–which is a lot more $20.

    So what form of due process would you consider in lieu of a jury trial? The current “your word against the cops and the cops are always presumed correct” system doesn’t seem to be working too well on the civil-liberties front.

  93. Thank God the Bill of Rights isn’t inflation adjusted.

    Mo, there was nothing in the constitution about parking tickets.

    *ducks*

  94. I definitely do not agree with the way they are changing the system and think it should rightfully be struck down in court. To keep this from happening, here are some easy solutions:

    1) Don’t illegally park. Inevitable you say? BS! Walk the extra 5 blocks, God knows I can use the exercise, can’t you? But you’ll be late? Start out earlier. The orld does not revolve around you.

    2) More convenient public transportation = no parking tickets for the users, a cleaner environment, lower gasoline bills for users, smaller roads = a win all around!

    3) If you do the crime, pay the fine. Gaming the system may end up benefiting you but it causes pain and misery for the truly unjustified ticket receivers who now have no recourse because of your selfish a**holeness.

    Oh, and by the way, quit being so lazy that you can’t write out the whole word. You’re not texting here and our language is under enough attacks that you are not helping things. IMHO (LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  95. The current “your word against the cops and the cops are always presumed correct” system doesn’t seem to be working too well on the civil-liberties front.

    You’re right. I dunno…. raise the parking fine to $1,000? I can’t think of any other way to make it a deterrent without draining the court budget.

  96. LMAO

    OK, I googled that one alright!

  97. ITA

    And googled that one alright, too. Hell, this is an entirely new language this internets thingy.

  98. Finding out what tickets you have is easy, you just type your license plate number into the DC DMV web site. I’ve heard all sorts of bad things about the DC government but everything auto-related, registering/getting tags and parking permits, getting a license, paying tickets, etc, has been pretty easy. Not that I’m happy about the loss of due process.

  99. “I don’t believe in removing the due process. But I wouldn’t expect a jury trial for anything under whatever it costs to raise a jury–which is a lot more $20.”

    The jury trial system is not supposed to be convenient and free for the state. That’s not its justification. It SHOULD be expensive and inconvenient for the state to exert its authority over the citizenry. That might make the state more hesitant to try to criminalize trivial matters.

    “You’re right. I dunno…. raise the parking fine to $1,000? I can’t think of any other way to make it a deterrent without draining the court budget.”

    I would actually support you in this. As soon as people started getting fined $1000 for being 5 minutes over on their parking meter, they’d join together and burn down City Hall. Woo hoo!

  100. The dodgiest thing about towing for street cleaning is that private companies are also making out like bandits. Boston, for example, has contracts with 11 towing companies that are free to tow any car that the police ticket for street sweeping. They make $200 a pop.

    A couple weeks ago after the World Series, Boston put up signage at 7 PM the night before a parade allowing them to begin towing cars at midnight. When I went to bed at 11, the parade areas were still entirely full of cars, because the signs were put up after people got home from work.

  101. In 02/2007 I got a notice from San Diego that I had two unpaid parking tickets.
    Turned out they where rental cars, one from AVUS from 2001 and one from Enterprise from 2005.
    Their investigator said that they where mine and that I had to pay.
    I told him that I had never visited the place where the tickets where issued, and that I have never rented from AVUS. He told me that DMV gave him my info and that indeed it was I who had rented the cars. So I told him why doesn’t he take me to court and prove it. Turns out that CA have these nice new laws that exclude parking tickets from the court system. He said that if I could not prove that it wasn’t me, he could just get the money from my tax returns.

    Now I am from Sweden and live in CA since 1998. The name on the tickets happened to match mine, first and last. I called both rental companies and some how managed them to send me the rental agreements. I mailed them to San Diego. They called my up and said that they dismissed my case, but that they had already sent a notice that would affect my credit. But they would send another to remove it, should only take 6 months they said. He also admitted that he did not expect me to go through all this to prove I was innocent, he thought I would just pay the fines.

  102. I just moved to Northern Houston, from Boston. I lived in a city called Somerville. The street I lived on was public parking, but had posted street cleaning times. Many of the people in the neighborhood felt that it should be permit only and had everybody sign up (I refused). The city decided that the street should be permit only because of the request and without notice installed Permit Only signs and ticketed everybody on the street. I suspect they did it early in the morning because when I came out to catch the bus the signs were new and I hadn’t seen them the night before. Considering the amount people pay for auto taxes in MA, and how *horrible* the streets are I feel that its largely a way for the cities to make money.

    The residents dont help though and in the winter actually make it harder to keep the streets clean (by putting their snow in the street, which is then pushed into cars and back into their driveways by the plows) its not like the plows remove the snow, they just push it out of the street.

    When I lived in San Francisco, my big problem with their parking tickets was that parking enforcement is too lazy to get out of their truck and usually put the ticket in the space between my hood and my fender *NOT* under a windshield wiper. Half of the time I wouldn’t even know I was ticketed until I got a late fee notification in the mail, at which time I’d send the amount for the original ticket without the late fee and I’d never hear from them again. Which proved to me that it was simply a way for them to cash in.

    And yes, I move too much.

  103. Rieux:

    I got a ticket on the day of the World Series game for literally 2 minutes and came out to find a $40 ticket. They were like hiding somewhere waiting for someone to commit a parking violation. And that was on one of the side streets a couple of blocks from the park. The officer handed me the ticket without looking me in the face. She must have felt like she’s steeling something from someone because I was clearly made a very very minor infringement. They are nothing but opportunists. Where are they when there is no World Series Game?

  104. for parking for literally 2 minutes

  105. That’s not its justification. It SHOULD be expensive and inconvenient for the state to exert its authority over the citizenry. That might make the state more hesitant to try to criminalize trivial matters.

    Fair enough, but parking enforcement is not a criminal matter. And to those people who follow the parking and traffic rules, the annoyances caused by the large number of people who choose to ignore them are not trivial.

    As soon as people started getting fined $1000 for being 5 minutes over on their parking meter, they’d join together and burn down City Hall. Woo hoo!

    I see it more as a way to get selfish, inconsiderate people to realize what assholes they are by hogging space and causing everyone else to circle the block and tie up traffic, but if the result is the same….

    Anyway, as for parking and traffic enforcement in general, I don’t see much difference between opportunism and deterrence. How do you deter infractions without being seen as an “opportunist”?

  106. I arrived at the local Police Station to pay a ticket and noticed that their clock indicated I still had 18 minutes of parking left from the time the Officer “ticketed” me.

    I politely pointed this out to the Desk Sergeant who just as politely informed me, “Buddy, it’s a hell of a lot easier to get a $100 bucks from you than it is to find a new policeman…just pay up and walk away.”

    I promised to be back in 18 minutes when I was “officially” guilty and he laughed. It has been 12 years…I wonder sometimes if he is still waiting…he looked old at the time the way most Desk Sergeants look…retired or dead now maybe??

  107. iih, reminds me of the time I was riding my bicycle through Cambridge. I went through a redlight (there was no traffic and I slowed down to look). Considering that people jaywalk and ride bikes through intersections all the time I figured it was the norm. A bike cop stopped me and started threatening me with a ticket. A pedestrian who saw what I had done started yelling at the cop because clearly they were not doing their job properly. There was a car double parked across from where they were sitting and had stopped me for well over 10 minutes. The pedestrian went on to say that if they were so concerned with the traffic why hadn’t they ticketed the double parker? The pedestrian was then threatened by the cop and I was given a warning.

  108. Rhywun,

    I guess I am still confused. Are you really saying that if the cost of the fine is low enough, you should have absolutely no recourse at all? None?

    In that case I fine you $20. Send it to my house.

  109. Quoting…..Anvilwyrm | November 12, 2007, 3:10pm | #

    Rhywun,

    I guess I am still confused. Are you really saying that if the cost of the fine is low enough, you should have absolutely no recourse at all? None?

    In that case I fine you $20. Send it to my house.

    PLEASE ALSO SEND ME $45 each and I will absolve you of all FUTURE parking violations!!

  110. Should you be able to contest it if the penalty is only 1 day in jail?

  111. Are you really saying that if the cost of the fine is low enough, you should have absolutely no recourse at all? None?

    No, I’m saying you get five minutes in front of a judge. That’s the way it works now, right?

  112. I thought “IANAL” stood for “I’m A Nymphomaniac And Lonely.”

    Depends on the website you where you see it, Stevo.

  113. I never said you should get no recourse. I said a trial by jury was too expensive for the fines levied.

  114. Rhywun,

    Got it, I misunderstood. Thank you for the clarification.

  115. Jeremiah:

    I yelled at a cop once for a similar double standard but can’t remember the circumstances. It was not Boston police, though. I do not have the guts to face these dudes.

  116. City life sounds like the Negro Leagues to me.

    Thanks, ed. It usually takes a little longer to get that out of city-bashers.

  117. I took the little one to court this morning over a speeding ticket. She’d pleaded not guilty and the case was set for trial today. We were told that there was no time for her trial and offered deferred disposition and a fine. She is already on probation for a speeding ticket and we explained that she wasn’t guilty of this one. They offered deferred anyway, reduced the amount of the fine that they originally offered and said that the conditions of the first probation would satisfy the second.

    We ended up taking the deal because it was a sure shot at avoiding a guilty verdict if the trial was rescheduled. A sure shot at keeping two tickets off her record made me throw principle out the window. Insurance rates for a 16 year old are expensive without violations.

  118. Yeah, living without the expense and hassle of a car, and within walking distance of almost everything I need sucks. Thanks for thinking of us!

    Invariably this is the only response I ever get when I ask people why they live in cities (besides people who do so because they need to be close to work or college). Those don’t strike me as compelling reasons to put up with being elbow-to-asshole with strangers, bums, filth, noise pollution, smog, and 24/7 commotion.

  119. You forgot gangster city governments, Jim Bob.
    And extortionist unions. I’m speaking of Northern cities, to be fair.

  120. Hey, I watched 1970s television sit coms, too!

  121. Having sampled both, I prefer the suburbs to urbs.

  122. Those don’t strike me as compelling reasons to put up with being elbow-to-asshole with strangers, bums, filth, noise pollution, smog, and 24/7 commotion.

    Well, owning a car shapes your entire life so those are pretty compelling reasons. Just ask yourself if you could live without one. You would likely have to re-arrange your entire life. Anyway, I’m not much of a misanthrope, so strangers don’t particularly bother me. Bums? Ignore ’em. Filth and noise pollution–you got me there. The suburbs are all over the city in that respect. Dead silence bothers me more than a little noise, though. Smog? Don’t notice it. Commotion? Love it.

  123. Yes, cities are a lot more dynamic that suburbs. You have to put up with a lot more, and you get to experience a lot more. You see more bums, you see more geniuses.

    People have different levels of tolerance for novelty and stimulation.

  124. Suburbs are annoyingly uniform.

  125. “Fair enough, but parking enforcement is not a criminal matter.”

    This is absolutely false.

    If the state can compel me to behave a certain way or pay a fine, it’s a criminal matter.

    “No, I’m saying you get five minutes in front of a judge. That’s the way it works now, right?”

    Right, but:

    1} This article is about municipalities that don’t want you to get that five minutes, and you’re defending them; and

    2) If 5 minutes in front of a judge is so fair, why don’t we do everything else that way?

    “the annoyances caused by the large number of people who choose to ignore them are not trivial.”

    If it’s not trivial, the state can rustle up a jury, or it can defy the Constitution.

    Look, you may think I’m just fucking with you, but I’m not. In a host of ways the modern state wants to micromanage its citizens’ lives in ways that require it to dispense with several Constitutional protections. Your “Aw, come on, we can’t run these traffic courts if we have to do jury trials” attitude is duplicated elsewhere, whether we’re talking about asset seizure, drug courts, tax courts, the FISA court, etc. I say fuck ’em. Do it the right way or don’t do it. You want your parking problem to simultaneously be too trivial to warrant the basic protections of the Constitution [or hell – the Magna Carta] but at the same time be this terribly important matter to the citizenry that the state must act on. It can’t be both.

  126. We were told that there was no time for her trial and offered deferred disposition and a fine.

    “Deferred dispostion” usually requires a guilty and/or nolo plea. Check the fine print, but I doubt the little one now has a clean record.

    Oh, and IAAL.

  127. This is absolutely false.

    Ask yourself who is the plaintiff, and then tell me it’s a criminal matter.

    This article is about municipalities that don’t want you to get that five minutes, and you’re defending them;

    No I am not. I NEVER defended that. What I did was bring it slightly off topic by speaking against the common attitude around here that parking tickets are merely for revenue enhancement.

    If it’s not trivial, the state can rustle up a jury

    The state is not likely to waste time and money to raise juries for comparatively insignificant civil matters. You obviously think such matters are not important enough for the state to get involved in. So tell me, how would you propose to settle them? Please keep it within the realm of reality.

  128. People have different levels of tolerance for novelty and stimulation.

    Don’t leave out the different levels of tolerance for high taxes, crappy services, crime, shitty schools, and the rest.

    Cities are great places for young people who are indifferent to these things, and the very rich, who can lubricate their passage through city life with cash. For everyone else, well, YMMV.

  129. IAAL

    Duh… that is easy. “I Am A Lawyer”.

  130. YMMV

    How the hell am I supposed to know that this should mean “Your Mileage May Vary”? I mean, come on people!

    R C Dean- How come you know all that stuff and be a lawyer at the same time. What, do you say “OYH” to a judge whenever you have to object?

  131. “The state is not likely to waste time and money to raise juries for comparatively insignificant civil matters. You obviously think such matters are not important enough for the state to get involved in. So tell me, how would you propose to settle them? Please keep it within the realm of reality.”

    The state could simply limit its parking rules to those that are critical enough that it can tolerate the situation if X% of those ticketed demand a jury trial.

    Hell, I would bet that 99% of parking tickets written aren’t written for double-parking, or parking in front of hydrants, or other things that actually impede traffic flow or jeopardize safety – they’re written because people exceeded the time limit for parking, either at a meter or somewhere that parking is limited by sign. The state could very easily stop writing those tickets or manning those meters and all that would really change would be space turnover. I don’t find “increase space turnover in commercial areas” to be a compelling reason to dispense with the right to a jury trial, sorry. Oh, and revenue would change – both meter revenue and fine revenue. But if it’s not about the revenue we can ignore that – right?

  132. “Deferred dispostion” usually requires a guilty and/or nolo plea. Check the fine print, but I doubt the little one now has a clean record.

    Nolo plea it was but it does keep it off her record if she gets no more tickets. If she is pulled over again I suspect we’ll be screwed. She has to be very careful until the Feb. 10.

  133. I would have hired an attorney if everyone that I talked to didn’t seem like a complete jerk. Everyone of them said they would go for deferred on this ticket and that she would have been fully charged on the first for not meeting the terms of probation. (The part where she was to get no tickets before Dec. 4th.)

  134. RC,

    You’ve never lived in a city, have you? Tell the truth.

    My taxes are about 1/3 of what people in the burbs pay. They have to have higher taxes, in order to pay for the new schools they constantly build in a losing effort to keep their classrooms from being overcrowded.

    People who don’t know the first thing about cities always feel so free expounding on what they’re like.

  135. But then, we have zany superintendants in our buildings, and their one-liners as we discuss the latest mugging we suffered in the park helps get us through the day.

  136. Yes, cities are a lot more dynamic that suburbs. You have to put up with a lot more, and you get to experience a lot more. You see more bums, you see more geniuses.

    People have different levels of tolerance for novelty and stimulation.

    But novelty and stimulation aren’t only found in cities, you know. Try Antarctica: plenty of novelty and stimulation there, and nothing around but pure white snow. I was cold, but I felt alive.

  137. And down here in the south we eat biscuits and gravy at the white-only counter, as we discuss the latest antics of those uppity Negroes and the damn Yankees messin’ with our Southern Way of Life.

    joe, min’ yo’ business now. Heah me, boy?

  138. People who don’t know the first thing about cities always feel so free expounding on what they’re like.

    I lived in midtown Atlanta for most of last year, joe. I didn’t like it much.

    Is my opinion valid now, or do I need to bask in the divine light of your Master’s Degree? in order to have my opinion restructured?

  139. Like I said, some people have more tolerance of novelty and stimulation than others. Some people see a crowd of people on the street and feel invigorated, some people see a scary mob.

    BTW, Massah Jim Bob, I didn’t make any assertions about your old Kentucky home at all.

  140. Funny, I was talking about a Boston ticket that I got during the ALCS game. I got a letter in the mail today saying that the ticket is forgiven! 🙂

  141. Can’t say I’ve ever gotten an erroneous ticket, but it’s definitely a racket in the Northeast. Of course, city governments in the NE seem like a slightly more polite form of the Mafia.

  142. See more geniuses? Huh? Maybe in Boston, but probably not in most of the rest of the country.

  143. I learned what “prima facie” means, in the legal sense, many years ago when I challenged two erroneously cited Boston, MA parking violations. I challenged these tickets, first with a standard hearing then with an appeal to a judge. The hearing officer denied my challenge citing the MA law designating the issued tickets as prima facie evidence which was further explained in layman’s terms thusly: the fact that the tickets existed was unchallengable evidence that the violation had occurred. I pointed out that I had witnesses who could attest to the fact that I and my car were not in the city on the days I was issued the tickets. No matter says he, prima facie! He did encourage me to appeal, in front of a judge, a privilege for which I paid $100 (some years ago). When I finally stood in front of the judge he interrupted my defense to inform me that all I could appeal was a misapplication of the bureaucratic process, not the tickets themselves; reason: tickets are prima facie evidence! What of my $100 I asked? Gone says he.

    So I wrote an angry, yet civil, letter to the mayor the city of Boston, Ray Flynn. I was out $100 and didn’t feel any better. Bastards!

  144. Maybe that’s what prima facie means in Beantown, but not in the rest of the legal world.

    Even if the city makes out a prima facie case against you merely by issuing the ticket, you would still have the right to present your defense. Except in Boston, apparently. It could be, however, that Boston considers tickets to be an administrative “fine” rather than a criminal penalty, and as such the usual rules might not apply.

    Simply reason #5238583 not to move to Boston.

  145. The state is not likely to waste time and money to raise juries for comparatively insignificant civil matters. You obviously think such matters are not important enough for the state to get involved in. So tell me, how would you propose to settle them? Please keep it within the realm of reality.

    One might argue that the authors of the Constitution intended this as a check against the state getting involved in “comparatively insignificant civil matters.”

    I’d like to see a comparison of the average large city’s budgets for the following police divisions: Homicide, Parking Enforcement, and Property Crimes. I mean a real, proper accounting. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to suggest that Parking Enforcement might have the largest expenditures. It probably also generates the largest revenues.

  146. DC is not the only victim of blind enforcement of parking regulations. Let me provide a recent anecdote from my own parking ticket odyssey:

    Last month I drove from my home in Winter Haven, Florida, to Jacksonville for a trial that was to take place the next day. This is a distance of about 4 hours, so I decided to stay overnight at a house belonging to a friend who lives in Palm Coast, just north of Daytona Beach. I have stayed at my friend’s house before, sometimes parking on the side of the street, and other times parking in his driveway. His house is 2nd from the end of a cul-de-sac in a small subdivision, and there are no houses on the other side of the street.

    He asked me to park on the street because he and his wife were going to leave early for work the next day and he didn’t want to have to wake me up to move my truck, so I did. I parked my truck mostly in his front yard, leaving about one foot on the road, so that I would not block any other traffic.

    The next morning I awoke to find a parking ticket in my windshield for parking in the swale. I thought it must be some kind of joke, so I drove to the Palm Coast Sheriff’s sub-station to ask why I had received the ticket. I was told that it was illegal to park in the swale between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. by Palm Coast city ordinance. The deputy there said that the law had been on the books for about nine years now; it’s even posted on their website. Of course, I am a frequent visitor to the City of Palm Coast website, so I feel sort of stupid for missing that one.

    I did my best to nicely argue my way out of the useless (but costly at $25) ticket, but I was told my only recourse was to make an appearance at city hall to contest it. In the end, it was easier for me to just pay the $25.00 than try to track down their evasive city hall building or take a day off from work and drive 2 1/2 hours to Palm Coast for a case that I would probably lose anyway.

    Evidently the City of Palm Coast is making so much ticket money that it can coerce county deputies into driving around in subdivisions all night to write out tickets for completely innocuous violations. It’s amazing to me that deputies are out at 1:00 a.m. rigidly enforcing parking tickets, yet in ten years I’ve never seen a single person stopped in my own subdivision for loud soundmaking violations, which disrupt my evenings about 10 times per night or more. It’s funny what cities will or will not choose to enforce.

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