A parking ticket can ruin anyone's day, and unpaid parking tickets carry serious consequences. In some cases, a warrant may be issued for your arrest if you ignore your parking tickets. Because parking tickets are issued when drivers aren't present, they are periodically issued in error or unfairly. In order to contest your parking ticket, you need to write a well-crafted letter appealing the citation.
Determine which municipality issued the citation. Parking tickets may be issued by counties, cities and townships. Your parking ticket will state where the ticket was issued. In some cases, parking tickets may provide a customer service address or directions for appealing the ticket. If this information is not available, address your letter to the clerk of the court in the city or county in which the citation was issued. You can find contact information for the clerk of court by calling your local government office or by looking online for the website for the local magistrate court.
Research relevant local traffic laws. If you're not sure if your parking ticket was fair, you'll need to review the ordinances pertaining to parking in your area. See Resources for a link. You should cite a specific code section in the letter in order to explain why you should not have got the ticket.
Write the letter. Use simple, succinct language and clearly outline why you believe you should not have received the ticket. Avoid name-calling, rude language and blaming the person who issued the citation. Your letter should be as professional as possible. The letter should follow standard business format and be typed. For more information on drafting a business letter, see Resources. Send the letter via certified mail with return receipt requested to ensure that the recipient actually receives the letter. You should also send a copy via regular first class mail because some courts may not accept certified letters.
Include any documentation you have that proves your case. Copies of the local municipal code, photos of your car when you received the ticket and car park receipts will all help to document your case.
Call the clerk of court if you don't receive a response within 10 days. Some municipalities will schedule a hearing at which you can contest your parking ticket. You can represent yourself without a lawyer at this hearing. Be sure to take all documentation and any witnesses to the hearing.
If you are contesting numerous parking tickets, have large fines or there is a warrant out for your arrest, you need to hire an attorney.
Tips and warnings
- If you are contesting numerous parking tickets, have large fines or there is a warrant out for your arrest, you need to hire an attorney.