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Fighting a Ticket


Q: A cranky parking officer gave me a ticket I don’t deserve! How do I lose this orange envelope without giving up any green?

A: You’ve got a good shot when you take on the Parking Violations Operations bureau, says spokesman Rob Roman: Of 1.5 million tickets contested last year, 900,000 were dismissed or reduced. To fight the system, search the ticket, the street, and your soul to figure out whether you’re just whining or you have real grounds for dismissal (a broken meter, a ticket with wrong information, a missing sign). Then photograph the meter or the signpost, making sure to capture the whole block and the street sign; get a witness’s statement if you can. Write a passionate-yet-detailed letter of explanation. Then mail it all in with the ticket (marked not guilty). Keep copies of everything. If you have digital photos, you can also appeal online, at The PVO may take months, and you may get late-payment notices. Ignore them. You don’t owe the city a dime unless they reject your plea, in which case you have seven days to pay—and plot your appeal.


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