A step-by-step guide for how to beat a parking ticket

Tradesmen and other small business owners who use their vehicles are well aware of the risks of parking tickets. They can be expensive and, at times, unfair – but did you know that as many as half of all penalty charge appeals are won by the driver?

We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on how to appeal a parking ticket to give you a fighting chance of hanging onto your hard earned cash.

Prepare an appeal

First and most importantly, if you think you want to appeal a parking ticket, make sure that you don’t pay it. Many people choose to pay because the charge may increase after a 14 day period, but by paying you will hinder your chances of success.

Next, remember that a parking ticket appeal process can be lengthy – some can take several months. It probably won’t be necessary to hire a lawyer, but you need to do your homework and make sure you know the law.

Check the kind of ticket

It’s important to note that there are two different types of parking ticket, and the way in which you fight it will depend on which one you receive.

If you’ve parked on private land, you will have received a Parking Charge Notice. In order to fight this, you will need to appeal to either the Parking on Private Land Appeals organisation or the Independent Appeals Service, depending on which professional body the parking company is affiliated with.

If you are parked on council-owned land, you will receive a Penalty Charge Notice. In these cases, you have 14 days to contact the council making clear that you want to fight it. You will then have a further 28 days to make your case. If your case is rejected, you can then take it to arbitration with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in England and Wales, the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal in Scotland, or the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (NI) in Northern Ireland.

Find your mitigating circumstances

In order to fight a parking ticket, you need to have ‘mitigating circumstances’. Take a look at the list below, which covers the main mitigating circumstances for appealing a parking fine:

  • Sign marking. Signs regarding parking rules must be clearly visible and not obscured. If, for example, you can’t see the signs because of poor lighting, you may have cause for appeal.
  • Ticket visibility. If you bought a ticket but it wasn’t visible, for example because it fell off the dashboard, either the council or parking company may take this into account.
  • Three-minute rule. If you are given a ticket within three minutes of arriving, you may be able to argue that you had gone to find a ticket machine.
  • Unable to buy. If the ticket machine is broken, take a picture to use as evidence.
  • Emergency stop. If you can prove that your vehicle had broken down, or that you had to stop for health reasons, this may also be grounds for appeal. If you are arguing on health grounds, you should consider getting a letter from a doctor.

To maximise your chances of success, make sure that you have as much supporting evidence to hand when you make your case – and be prepared to argue your case.

Have you successfully fought a parking ticket? Let us know in the comments.

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