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I hate parking tickets. There, I said it. If I’m caught speeding I know what I did wrong. But most of my parking tickets come from misunderstanding confusing parking signs or copying what other cars have done. Luckily, there may be ways to avoid paying your next parking ticket.

Can you dispute a parking ticket?

If you can prove that you were issued a parking ticket wrongfully, you have a good chance of disputing it and not paying it. Even if there was a mistake in the way the parking officer wrote the ticket you may win a dispute.

Parking enforcement officer leaving a ticket on a black car.
Parking enforcement officer | Pixplus/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

Firstly, you are going to want to collect evidence for your dispute–according to Readers’ Digest. Take a picture of exactly where you car was parked. If the ticket was for being too close to a curb or fire hydrant, get photos of how far you were from that curb or fire hydrant.

You also want pictures of any parking signs that are confusing or contradict one another. Get pictures of anywhere the paint is wearing off the street’s curb or off the borders of a parking space. Finally, if you are dealing with a broken parking meter, get evidence that the meter does not work.

What if there’s a ‘typo’ in my parking ticket?

One common way to avoid paying a parking ticket is to point out mistakes the parking enforcement officer made in your ticket. This can be anything from where your car was parked to what kind of car it is.

Jaguar with a parking ticket | Eric Ford/Jason Kirk/Online USA via Getty Images

Drivers have contested a ticket because the original parking ticket was illegible, had the wrong date/time, contained incomplete information on the vehicle’s make/model, license plate, year, etc. Some drivers have even avoided a parking ticket because the parking officer messed up the ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ designation next to the address where parked. So really examine that ticket and look for any mistakes.

If signs are simply wrong or contradict one another, you can also use that ‘typo’ to get out of your parking ticket. You can’t be expected to know where to park if the city didn’t make it clear.

After you’ve collected evidence you want to not pay your ticket, and complete your appeal within the time alotted for such appeals. Some municipalities will need a letter. Others may even have an online form ot appeal your ticket.

What are inadequate reasons for a parking ticket appeal?

Your city has likely heard all the possible reasons people have for appealing a parking ticket. Many reasons that admit fault won’t get you out of a parking ticket. These can range from “I don’t know the law” to “An official OKed me parking there.”

Parking ticket | Ole Spata/picture alliance via Getty Images

Is Sleeping in Your Car Illegal?

If you just claim that you can’t pay the ticket, the court may set up a payment plan, but they won’t forgive your crime. If you are fighting a ticket and say you were “about” to move your car, the judge won’t care. And whatever you do, don’t say “I’ve been parking here as long as I can remember.” If you do, your admitting past offenses that won’t help your case.