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Challenging Parking Fines and Penalty Charge Notices

Most parking fines and penalty notices are normally justified on new and used cars alike; this article is about challenging tickets that you consider to be unfair. Think carefully though, as it could end up costing you more than the original fine, with related late penalty payments, known as ‘charge certificates’. There are two ways to challenge your ticket – informally and formally – the most common and easiest being informally, for which, as with a formal challenge, you have 28 days to complain.

cancelled parking ticketHowever, an important point to remember for both private vehicle owners and the motor trade, is that if you submit your challenge within 14 days, should it be rejected, you will usually only have to pay 50% of the fine; the same as if you had paid it quickly without contesting. The same applies to a formal challenge and, with both, you must provide solid evidence to support your claim. If you wish to challenge a fixed penalty notice, then you will need to visit a magistrates’ court; the information on how to do this will be found on the back of the ticket.

What would be considered as unfair?

Parking laws are there to keep you and your vehicle safe, if your vehicle is parked unlawfully it could get damaged and potentially affect your insurance policy in the event of claiming. There are generally no exceptions and these laws include delivery vans, vehicles using trade plates and lorries. For example, if you are blocking a school gate or parking on yellow lines, then you should not be surprised to get a ticket. However, there can be many reasons why a parking fine has been issued unfairly – some of these include:

  • The parking signs or road markings were unclear
  • Technological faults
  • Overzealous parking attendants
  • Your car had broken down
  • You have a genuine reason for not being able to return to your vehicle in time
  • You were only just out of time, (there is usually a 10 minute period of grace)
  • The parking meter was broken so you were unable to pay
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Proof is vital if you are planning to appeal your fine, and, with today’s mobile phones, photographic evidence is easy. Take a picture of any unclear signs, lines or markings, the meter in question, where your car was parked and other significant information. Independent witness statements are very useful, together with anything else that you feel may be relevant. Remember to gather proof of mitigating circumstances, such as receipts from a recovery company if your vehicle had broken down.

Important things to be aware of when challenging a parking ticket

When challenging, don’t pay the penalty as this will be taken as an admission of liability. The exception here is if your vehicle has been towed away or clamped, then you will have to pay first and appeal later. If you’re on a parking meter, you can be fined for going to get change, but not for leaving your vehicle to put money into the machine. Take note also that, with both new and used cars, it is the owner that is liable for the fine, not the driver.