April 24, 2024 at 2:37 am

He Got A Parking Ticket And Isn’t Told What Law He Broke, So He Turned The Tables In The Most Vicious Legal Way Possible

by Chris Allen

Source: Reddit/AITA/Pexels

Gotta love a good ol Reddit story broken out into chapters.

And who doesn’t love a story about revenge on a parking enforcement system?

They just seem to be the bane of everyone’s existence, especially when you least expect it.

Ones that are as obtuse and secretive as possible just make them appear beyond shady.

Like it’s all a money grab.

And when you’re a university student, those tickets seem even more nasty.

But what if you could get back not only that ticket, but overturn the entire operation?

Well this story here is sure to leave you feeling good inside.

Don’t want to tell me what that parking ticket is for? OK. I’ll get that ticket thrown out in court… along with jeopardizing any ticket the city wrote on that same form.

The ticket

This was mid to late 90s in a northern Midwest, mid-sized city. Parking near my apartment near a university was only on-street parking. Bad in the best of times, it got miserable in winter with alternate side parking eliminating half the parking on major streets such as where my apartment was.

The morning of the ticket.

The confusion was palpable. We’ve all been there.

Failing to find any parking, some nights I would risk it. Sometimes I got a ticket. Sometimes not. But at least I typically knew why I got the ticket, until one morning.

I was cited for violation number 27. I had no idea what that was all about. It wasn’t an alternate side violation. Not an expired meter issue. Not a loading zone thing. I just didn’t know what it was.

What did I do wrong?

This confrontation when OP went to pay was frustrating to say the least.

I went by the office to pay the ticket and I asked the clerk, “BTW, what is violation number 27? I don’t know and don’t want to get ticketed for whatever it is again.”

Her reply set me off, “We don’t have to tell you.”


OP then explains to Gen Z what a paper check is.

They dug a little deeper into this mystery.

Uh, excuse me!? I took my check* out of her hand and picked up my ticket. *(It was the 90s. I told you it was a long time ago! We used to write out little slips of paper called checks that the recipient could take it to the bank and deposit. Half you kids reading Reddit have probably never written a check. I’m old. Sue me. Now get off my lawn!)

I asked her who could tell me. She shrugged, “Maybe the prosecutor’s office?” she replied. I left, ticket unpaid.

But guess what, a brick wall at the prosecutor’s office as well.

I stopped by the prosecutor’s office, ticket in hand, to ask. I apologized to the receptionist for such a ridiculous waste of time. I just wanted to know. And she rolled her eyes at me. I got nowhere there.

Digging in my heels, doing legal research

Cue the 90s montage music.

To the library, ya know where books live!

For a poor recent college grad I certainly wasn’t going to waste my money with a lawyer but was hard headed enough to want to know what violation number 27 was before I paid it. I resolved to go to the public library* and pull out the law books with the city ordinances and state statutes.

*(Library, a physical building with actual printed books where people used to have to go to look up information before everything was online. I’m old. I told you. And stay off my lawn!)

I settled in , flipped through pages, cross referenced ordinances and statutes, and found something interesting. Possibly it was very interesting. I checked the court date on the ticket and made up my mind. I would damn well fight City Hall.

So OP made a discovery…

On to fight this thing!

Court time

I showed up in court. Some paperwork was handed out to those of us who were present. Just before it was to be my turn the prosecutor graciously offered to let me pay the ticket plus court costs to make this go away. Uh, it is a damn parking ticket. I’m already here. Why bother?

Then OP dropped the smackdown in the courtroom.

After waiting my turn I stepped before the judge. The judge said a few things. The prosecutor said a few things. And then it was my turn. “Your honor, I move to dismiss the ticket based upon a Due Process violation on the 14th Amendment.”

I think that prosecutor might have gotten whiplash, her neck snapped so fast.

And the judge loved what she was hearing here.

I told my story. I just want to know what violation number 27 is. I looked. It’s not in the law books. Not in the city ordinances. I am being charged with something without being told what it is.

And the judge smiled a bit, turned to the prosecutor, and said, “I’ve been waiting for someone to bring this up.” The prosecutor’s jaw dropped.

OP wasn’t done yet.

Let’s really stick it to these bureaucratic weasels.

“Your honor”, I went on, “state statute requires certain elements to be on any citation for it to be valid. Among those things is a citation to statute or ordinance. And there are a couple other issues with the ticket. It does not conform to the statutory requirements for a citation. ”

The judge turned to me and asked if I had the ticket. “Yes ma’am, I do”. And she asked if I had the paperwork that was handed out when I arrived in court. I did.

The prosecutor’s pulse must have been racing right about here.

And then the good judge took a few moments to walk us through that paperwork to show that neither the parking ticket nor the paperwork contained the requisite statutory elements for a citation or summons.

Then the judge advised she would take the matter under advisement.

The verdict

This was a slap in the city’s face heard round town.

A few weeks later I got a big manila envelope in the mail with the judge’s order. In clearly written legalese she went step-by-step through my argument, the requirements in statute and ordinance, and the utter failure of the city to write * a single valid parking ticket on their standard form in many years. *

(Years ago parking enforcement officers actually took a pen and physically wrote in ink on a three-part pre-printed parking ticket form. Barbaric, I know. They didn’t have hand-held computers to print them out. This was just a few years after we figured out that banging two rocks can make a spark to start a fire. I told you I’m old. And what did I tell you about staying off my lawn?)

Vindication in every sense of the word.

She detailed that the city, to allow their parking enforcement officers to write tickets faster, used their own list of violation numbers (Expired meter is #1, No Parking zone is #2…) that did not correspond to any section numbers of the statute or ordinance. If you didn’t have the list you just might not know.

And the judge threw out my parking ticket as a Due Process violation of the 14th Amendment.

And in case you were wondering.

Oh, and that violation number 27 was parking too close to a handicapped ramp.

I didn’t see it under the snow.

My bad. Didn’t matter.

I had moved out of town by then.

One person, among a few, was tired of the “I’m old” schtick.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

Another person praised the value of fighting a ticket.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

And one commenter wanted to remind OP that plenty of these “old” systems are still firmly in place.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

While one Redditor was heavy on the sarcasm.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

Nice try violating my Constitutional Rights.

If you liked that post, check out this story about a customer who insists that their credit card works, and finds out that isn’t the case.