How to fight a parking ticket.

And why you should always fight a parking ticket in NYC.



Why you should always ask for a hearing.

Let's face it, they give a lot of parking tickets out in the Bronx.   But NYC does make it easy to pay or fight a parking ticket.   You can do it in person, by mail and on the Internet.   It is almost always worth your time to fight a parking ticket to take advantage of the City's “Reduced Fine Program.”

Under the Reduced Fine Program, the City will offer to settle your ticket for a lesser amount prior to a hearing.   It is not available for all parking tickets, but it's worth filing for a hearing to see if they will offer you a reduced fine.   If you take the reduced fine settlement, you are giving up your right to fight the ticket and your right to appeal.   On the other hand, if you turn down the reduced fine settlement and are found quilty, you will be giving up the reduced fine offer and will have to pay the full fine.   If you are going to just plead guilty and pay the fine, just file for an online hearing or hearing by mail and get the reduced fine, if offered.

How to request a walk-in hearing.

You can walk into any Department of Finance Business Center for a hearing between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.   You do not have to go to the Business Center in the borough where you got the ticket or where you live.   If you got your ticket in the Bronx and live in the Bronx, you could still walk into the Queens Business Center for your hearing.   The following are the Business Center Addresses; Click on any address for HopStop directions:

Bronx: on the 2nd floor of  3030 3rd Avenue, Bronx, N.Y. 10455 (at 156th Street).
Manhattan: 66 John Street, New York, N.Y. 10038.
Queens: 144-06 94th Avenue, Jamaica, N.Y. 11435.
Brooklyn: 210 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 .
Staten Island: 350 St. Marks Place 350 St. Marks Place, Staten Island, N.Y. 10301


Before you are called up for your hearing, you may be offered a reduced fine as a settlement of your ticket.   Agreeing to the reduced fine, if offered, gives up your right to fight the ticket and your right to appeal but you will get out of there quicker with a reduced fine.   You can take the reduced fine and leave or you can proceed to fight the ticket.

The New York City Department of Finance has a very helpful brochure which you can download from the Internet in PDF format to help you understand your ticket and what you should argue as a defense.   There are always two types of defenses: If you intend to fight your ticket, you should thoroughly read this brochure before going to the Hearing Center.   Make sure that you know what evidence you can and should bring with you and that you are prepared to go forward with the hearing that day.

How to request a hearing by mail.

To fight a ticket by mail, you need to draft a letter explaining your defense to the ticket.   If your main goal is to get a reduced fine, still plead not guilty and provide an explanation.   Use the New York City Department of finance's online brochure to figure out what the best defense would be.   If your main goal is to defeat the ticket, make sure that your explanation fits within the defenses contained in the New York City Department of Finance brochure and make sure you attach any other proof that you have.   For example, if you are claiming that you had an emergency that kept you from moving your car, attach a copy of the hospital record that shows you or a family member was in the emergency room at the time that you received the ticket.

Make sure that you check the "not guilty" box at the top of the ticket and mail the entire package to:

NYC Dept. of Finance Hearings by Mail Unit P.O. Box 29021, Cadman Plaza Station, Brooklyn, NY 11202-9021

Mail your packgage to this address even if you live or got your ticket in the Bronx.   While the package can just be mailed in, it's a good idea to send it at least certified mail so that you can later prove that it was received.   If you're having trouble getting to the post office to get it certified, just send it by regular mail so you don't get additional penalties for being late.

Shortly after receiving your hearing by mail request, you may receive an offer of a reduced fine.   If you accept the offer, you must pay the fine and are giving up any right to fight the ticket or appeal.

How to request a hearing online.

To fight a ticket online, first do a ticket search to locate your ticket by either the ticket number or your plate number.   Follow the directions after finding your ticket for pleading not guilty and requesting a hearing online.   Use the New York City Department of Finance's online brochure to figure out what your best explanation might be.   If your main goal is to defeat the ticket, make sure that your explanation fits within the defenses contained in the New York City Department of Finance brochure and make sure you attach any other proof that you have. Make sure that you check the "not guilty" box before submitting your request.

Shortly after receiving your hearing by mail request, you may receive an offer of a reduced fine.   If you accept the offer, you must pay the fine and are giving up any right to fight the ticket or appeal.

How to pay your fines or get a payment plan.

If you accept the reduced fine settlement or are found guilty, you can pay your fine online, by phone, in person or by mail.   To find out how much your fine is likely to be go to violation information.   You can also download all the parking violation rules and regulations from this site to prepare to fight your ticket.

If you can't afford to pay your ticket you may be entitled to a payment plan.   The requirements are kind of strict and a payment plan will only allow you to pay half of the amount you owe over time.   In order to be eligible, you must: You can ask for a payment plan by going to any of the Finance Business Centers without an appointment.   If your car was towed, however, you should make an appointment before you go by calling (212) 440-5477.

When you go to the Business Center you will need:
  1. Your current drive'rs license.
  2. The registration for the vehicle.
  3. The insurance card for the vehicle.
  4. Proof of your income such as a recent pay stub.
  5. A down payment of at least half of the amount owed.
  6. You can be required to give other proof by the collector
If your vehicle has been towed and you have between $350.00 and $500.00 in debt you must pay the second half of the judgment within 45 days.   For all other cases, a payment plan will be worked out with you by the finance collector.

How to appeal a decision.

If you have elected to go to a hearing either by mail, in person or on the web and you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal the decision.   In order to appeal the decision, you must file an application for the appeal within 30 days of the original hearing decision and you have to first pay the amount of the fine and any surcharges.   If you can't afford to pay the fine, you can request an application to proceed as an indigent person to be heard by the appeals panel.   If you can't show up at your appeal when scheduled, you muHiding the appeals board by calling (212) 361-5990.   Applications for appeal and applications to proceed as an indigent person are both available on the finance departments website at Appeal forms.