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There's nothing like returning to your car after an errand to find a piece of paper stuck to your windshield.
Sure, you can hope that it's a junk flier advertising something you don't need, but it's probably a parking ticket. An evil, evil parking ticket.
A parking ticket may be a strict liability offense, but that doesn't mean you can't fight it. In fact, there are dozens of ways to fight a parking ticket. Here's our top five.
1. Double check your ticket. Parking enforcement is in a hurry these days, trying to drum up revenue for the city. Check to make sure that all of your car's identifying information is correct, as well as any facts about where your car was parked. If it's wrong, you may be able to fight the ticket.
2. Take a picture. You may not be able to use your cell phone while driving, but you can definitely use it while parking. If you decide to fight a parking ticket, evidence is crucial. So, if your parking ticket was given for an offense that is visibly not true, snap a photo of it.
3. Look up the law. Sometimes the action underlying a parking ticket may have a legally valid excuse. Double parked? There may be a time limit, or it could be permissible if dropping off a passenger. In the red? Maybe the law excuses emergencies.
The fact is that you won't know how to a fight a parking ticket if you don't look.
4. The car was occupied. Some parking statutes require that the car be left unoccupied at a red curb or in front of a fire hydrant. If someone was in the vehicle, you could always argue that it was easily moved in case of emergency.
5. Fight it. Unless you have a glut of parking tickets for which you most certainly need an attorney, a half-hearted attempt to fight a parking ticket could work out in your favor. Parking enforcement--or police officers--don't always show up, causing the prosecutor to negotiate down your ticket.