Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Beat the Government in the Parking and Speeding Tickets Game

Watcha you gonna do, when the tickets are for you?

It's no secret that a lot of parking tickets and speeding tickets are handed out becasue of speed traps and parking traps. These are crooked big revenue generators for some towns and cities. Lifehacker explains how to get the edge back:


Parking tickets and speeding tickets are extremely common, partially because they're easy laws to break without being aware of it and also because they make a lot of money for the city. That said, they're the sort of trouble that's pretty easy to circumvent.

The city government loves their parking tickets. So many of these things get handed out that you could end up with one even if you didn't break the law. Either way, the first thing you want to check for is a mistake. According to parking expert Eric Feder, if anything on the parking ticket is wrong—from the date to the location to the cited violation—you have an easy out. You can even get out of a ticket if the writing is illegible. If anything is off or wrong on your citation, contest it and you should be able to get it dismissed without much trouble.

If a mistake was made and the citation was real, you're not necessarily out of luck. Sometimes street markings are confusing or unclear. If that's the case, photograph your parked car, the area around it, and any relevant signs to show as evidence for when you're in court. You can't argue ignorance to the law, but if the law can't be easily understood you can argue that.

You're also in the clear if your parking violation was the result of an emergency. For example, if your engine overheated and you had to run to a convenience store to get water to cool it off, your receipt can be used as proof to show what you were doing when the ticket was issued. This is the case for virtually any emergency, so long as you have proof. Technically you could fake an emergency to get out of a parking ticket, but you should really try an honest approach first. Most judges are pretty good BS detectors (or bologna detectors, as the case may be) so think twice about trying something dishonest.

 There's no surefire way to beat a speeding ticket, but if you're polite, don't talk back, and do everything the officer says, you have a better chance. As we've learned before, so long as you're polite you can ask questions like:

■Can I see the radar?
■When was the last time your radar gun was calibrated?
■Where were you when you clocked my speed?
■Were you moving when you clocked my speed?
You don't want to push it if the officer says no, but these questions—when asked politely—lets the officer know that you were paying attention. If you're having no luck in the moment, you can always call or write the officer after receiving the ticket. The officer has the authority to drop the ticket entirely, so if you're nice, apologize, and ask nicely to be given a chance you might actually get one.

Just like with parking tickets, police office Mark Brazel says a mistake on a speeding ticket is grounds for dismissal. If you are cited, read the citation carefully and look for any errors. If you're just a few yards from a speed limit increase that would put you within 7 miles of the speed limit, you'll want to know this as well. Both of these things can help get your ticket dismissed in court.


  1. I did manage to nullify a parking ticket once due to an error, but the odds are low on any one ticket actually having an error. It never hurts to check though.

  2. Nice information, but I find the whole tone of this article offensive. Be polite and don't talk back? Yes, you don't want to offend the local thuggery as they're robbing you.

  3. sounds like good advice, but I think I'd rather have the cop make the mistake on the ticket and have the mistake show up in court. In Florida, the officer has up until the time of trial to amend a faulty ticket. I've never talked my way out of a ticket, but I also turn the engine off when I get pulled over, I've heard they like that.

  4. Beg the state for forgiveness. YUCK.

  5. This article is misleading.
    In my state, and in others where I've traveled, the administrative hearing officer ("traffic court" judge) will permit changes or corrections to the citation by the issuing officer; errors or omissions will not invalidate the citation.
    Also, in my state (possibly others), the defendant in a speeding charge has only one hour before the hearing to inspect the radar/laser unit used in his case. Obviously, there is no opportunity to conduct discovery (administrative rules) and no way to adequately test the detection device.
    Unless you have overwhelming, indisputable evidence that the charging officer erred or made a false charge, you will pay the fine and take the safety course to avoid points on your license. Even then, the defendant is subject to the hearing officers decision whether such evidence will be suppressed in hearing.
    The traffic statutes and rules are stacked against drivers. Fines are substantial sources of revenue that the state will not forsake, justice be damned.

  6. As someone who has been pulled over at least 20 times, and getting only 4 tickets, let me give my advice on how to get out of a ticket. (assuming you're not breaking other laws or have warrants for your arrest)

    1. When you get pulled over, get out of the car immediately. You don't want the officer to start writing a ticket before you speak to him. He will then get out of his car.

    2. Take it as a good sign if he asks to search your vehicle or wants to look in before he speaks to you about being pulled over. That means he's thinking 'drugs' and not about your speeding ticket. Allow him to look in your trunk etc...

    3. When he asks you about speeding or whatever, just claim ignorance, don't defend yourself unless he's clearly wrong. Just be vague and say you were going with the flow of traffic. The more you talk the more info you are spilling. He's better at this than you, and he'll use it to screw you.

    4. Don't be polite, but don't be aggressive. Treat him as an equal. When he's confused by your behavior, but finds nothing in your car, he'll feel a little foolish that he wasted your time. Voila, no ticket.

  7. "When you get pulled over, get out of the car immediately."

    Umm that's a great way to get out of a ticket, but end up in the obituary. Kind of a wash I'd say.

  8. Parking ticket traps by cities usually target people who cannot appear to contest the ticket. I am from NY State and I have had to travel to Boston 8 times in the past few years. In all 8 instances, I have gotten a parking ticket, even though I was parked totally legal. Once I even got a ticket while parked in a private parking space with the permission of the owner. Obviously, the Boston parking police are targeting cars with out of state plates, as they know it would cost more for a person from out of state to return to contest the ticket than to just pay the ticket.

    The traveling with the flow excuse never worked for me in upstate NY, as the officer simply states that all the cars were speeding and he could only stop one and I was the "lucky" one.

    As stated in a previous post, here the officer can also amend the ticket at any time, right up to the judge's decision, so mistakes don't cut it. The biggest scam here is that when one goes to contest a speeding ticket, one finds oneself in court with 20 other people with speeding tickets and before the judge arrives, the assistant DA comes into the courtroom and yells out, "Everyone who pleads guilty will have their citation speed dropped to 5mph over the limit for the lowest possible fine amount and point amount. If you don't agree to this, you will have to take your chances with the judge." Since all speeding tickets are for 10mph over or more, this quickly takes care of the crowd, getting revenue without taking up court time. I have even had a rural area judge tell me that if I paid a fine, he would rule against the speeding violation and change it to a non-point violation. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!

    However, one time my wife did win with a judge in our local area when she asked the officer to see the radar reading and he said that he had already cleared the reading from the radar gun. The judge ruled in her favor, but we always wondered if it was because of the radar gun clearing, or if it was because of being a woman and being known for volunteer work in the community.

  9. geoih... you find it OFFENSIVE to hear advice about being polite? Who raised you? I have "talked" my way out of tickets I have deserved by being polite and engaging with the officer. These are people who are doing a job. Treat them as such and you may find yourself paying less to the "government thuggery."

  10. Postpone your hearing as late as possible. The police officer plans to be in court on a certain date for about 20 tickets HE issued. Rescheduling means he has to come just for you. It's not worth it to the system, so he doesn't appear; you do - you win. Present score on this approach: 4 - 0.

  11. When I was passing through Texas I was pulled over for speeding. Here's the story. The highways in Texas pass through towns requiring you to slow down and speed back up often. I didn't slow down fast enough. I saw a white Chevy truck come speeding up behind me so I pulled to the right lane. The truck stayed directly behind me. I thought it was a crazy person. Then I heard a siren so I pulled over. The officer didn't put on the lights. When he got out of the vehicle I saw he was in a uniform, but didn't fully trust that he was an officer. He said one statement. "I need your license." He was short and direct. No niceties at all. When he got back to truck the lights came on. He must've realized that he hadn't turned them on. Without those lights I didn't know for sure if he was a real police officer. The truck was poorly marked. Nothing visible from the front. Only side markings that you can't see in your rearview mirror. Anyway, I decided to try to get out of this ticket. It was an unnerving experience. I thought a crazy person had pulled us over. Because the officer was unprofessional and didn't ask any normal questions I called the Judge and let her know my feelings. She said she can't dismiss the ticket for how I was pulled over, BUT she can for something on the ticket. There was an error and I needed to see it and let her know what the error was. The officer wrote my license info on the ticket, but put my Issuing State as TX. I'm not from TX. That was the error. The judge asked me fax a copy of my license so she could make the dismissal official.

  12. This is the most dishonest tax of all. Pretend to be enforcing useful laws, only to scam and steal money from the public. It sickens me. It also puts the street cop in the position of tax collector, resulting in resentment of law enforcement. Moreover, it takes police away from crime, which is rampant. In short, there is nothing good in any of this. Just another government evil.

  13. Quote from Anonymous 11:43 AM: "geoih... you find it OFFENSIVE to hear advice about being polite? Who raised you? I have "talked" my way out of tickets I have deserved by being polite and engaging with the officer. These are people who are doing a job. Treat them as such and you may find yourself paying less to the "government thuggery." "

    I find it offensive that, me going about my business, I'm somehow risking arbitrary violence against my person or property, unless I'm adequately subservient, to some stranger with a gun, supposedly acting to protect my rights.

    He may be doing his job, but I didn't hire him. Being a cop is a hard job, but if you can't do the job right when faced with some less than polite conversation, then I don't think you're qualified to be a cop and you need to find a new job.

    Of course, once you're a cop, you can pretty much get away with murder and not have to even worry about going to jail, let alone getting fired. With incentives like that, I can't understand why we have to kiss their asses everytime we interact with them.

  14. I don't like speeding tickets any more than anyone else, and parking tickets even more. I also got tickets for talking on my cell phone. There are sometimes people driving at ridiculous --and dangerously-- high speeds or quickly cutting in and out with little space between cars; all of which are dangerous to themselves and to others. I'm happy when those people are stopped by the cops. Traffic cops are doing what they've been told to do; it's their job, so I don't particularly hold it against them, as much as I don't like it. Sometimes they just give me a warning but sometimes not. Don't be a jerk and argue with the cop. I'm always nice to them and give them a big smile and say hi! and admit I was maybe speeding but didn't realize how fast I was going or I would have definately slowed down--that throws them off. If my wife or girlfriend is in the car I say that we were argueing and while I was careful to watch the road, not the speedometer. I think a lot depends on whether the cop has had a good or bad day, is constipated, had a fight with his wife, or whatever.

  15. "Cops are just doing what they've been told" is the truth. They've been told by whoever hired them to go and collect money at gunpoint from the citizens they are supposed to protect. Today's "law enforcement" thieves sit on the side of the road with the intent to take money from productive citizens (in most cases)and give it to their bosses (productive or not, and generally the latter). This conduct is not to make our roadways safer. It is to collect extra money which can be spent above and beyond what is already raped from the public through multiple layers of taxation and wasted by government hirelings and elected officials.If your points are low, make them give you a jury trial, if nothing else it costs them about $5000.00 to prosecute you for a $200.00 ticket. Besides, if your story is even halfway believable, you will likely be found not guilty and receive no fine or tickets and even if found guilty you will pay courts costs(which you would have had to pay anyway) and a fine which the jury sets between $0-the full price of the ticket.

    If everyone requests a jury trial it might be years before you have to appear in court. :)

  16. Though maddening, being polite is great advice if you're stopped for speeding.
    On several occasions I've been stopped for (genuinely) speeding, and I managed to get off with a non-points-on-the-license ticket...very likely because I was so polite. Good example of this what's known as a "highway plea bargain" is what's known as a "failure to obey a traffic control device"(got this a few years ago).

    My sister was stopped for going WAY over the speed limit, and she got off with (I'm not making this up) a "wasting natural resources (wasting gas)" ticket!
    Cops have MANY types of lower, cheaper, less damaging to your driving record tickets they can hand out to the non-obstinant, non-a hole speeders. These are only two I know of, there's gotta be a dozen or so more.

  17. Having fought three moving traffic violations myself, and hiring a lawyer for another I can tell you that most traffic courts in most states are the pinnacle of the "kangaroo court" mentality.

    When I was younger I was well read on fighting beating such tickets and I can tell you that I made good cases in 2 of the 3 cases I fought(I was too young and didn't know what I was doing on the first); I "settled" on one and lost on the other.

    The "settled" case I subpoenaed the cop car video and records of the cop;the video wasn't provided until 30 minutes before the trial which a jury was sat for(and waiting) and there were "no written record" according to the cop and judge. During this time I discovered the "judge"(magistrate) hadn't passed his multiple choice test to be officially seated and they had to drag his boss in to handle my case...the two judges and cop all gathered in a secretive circle whispering to each other before the start of the case with the sheeple jury looking onward; when I announced my objection on the evidence subpoena being delayed and objecting to the cop serving as prosecutor and witness they offered to settle for no points and I took it.

    You'll find that as a lay person you have no real rights; the judge and cop are buddies and the "law" means absolutely nothing in most traffic courts. You can further create havoc by via "writ of certiorari" but even if their non-sense is overturned the case usually bounces right back into their court most of the time.

    On the other case I lost I had turned onto a road that had been turned into a "1 way" road with the lane I was in actually changed to traffic moving towards me...the sign was hidden and when I turned in a cop was literally driving straight towards me about 1/8 mile away. I immediately turned off in a drive right after the turn and noted the sign couldn't be seen from the street. When the cop pulled into the parking lot I was in we had a long discussion and the bottom line is that he didn't like me pointing out the sign couldn't be seen(how dare I argue with him...) and we went to court. I took pictures showing the ridiculousness of the situation and actually went up against the town the "verdict" issued by the judge she said "you could have turned around once you could see the sign" and I told her "I immediately turned off in the first available drive when seeing the sign...I testified to that" and she slammed the gavel down and said $35 fine and $35 court costs.

    The town attorney looked astonished that he I left to pay the fine once again the "gang" of law enforcers were huddled together whispering as I left....

    If I had to do it all again I think I'd simply pay the fines and get on with life...the whole system is so corrupt and my time now so precious I can't stand to participate beyond the requisite kissing of the ring of power....

    Now I figure if I can find a way to deprive them of my tax dollars any way I can I actually am doing more to sink their system while making myself more money(by virtue of keeping it). All is all my time is too precious and this bit of tyranny too unimportant in the big scheme of things today...

    But that's just me...I know some will criticize me for it...the way I see I've got bigger fish to fry. :)

  18. I'd sooner pay the fine, if I'm guilty than to kiss the ass of some ignorant, egotistical, power hungry pig.

  19. HAH like to see you get out of a ticket in Philly, erroneous or otherwise. In fact, if there IS an error, it's guarenteed to haunt you FOREVER even if you pay it - because the level of incompetence is such that they will continually "lose" your payment receipt and force you back into court over and over and over! HAHAHAHA

  20. I'd say I've gotten far more warnings than tickets.

    I'm always polite. Yes officer, no sir, never lie. Speed got away from me, going with the flow of traffic, explained why I broke the law (if it applies), etc.

    Hot tip - lots of cops are blood donors. Keep your donor card under or next to your driver's license and they will notice it when you take out your drivers license. Don't be obvious though.

    Blood donor card = respectable citizen that is not a druggie.

  21. "1. When you get pulled over, get out of the car immediately. You don't want the officer to start writing a ticket before you speak to him. He will then get out of his car."

    And most likely pull his firearm and yell at you to get on the this if you want to be handcuffed, frisked, or shot.

    "2. Take it as a good sign if he asks to search your vehicle or wants to look in before he speaks to you about being pulled over. That means he's thinking 'drugs' and not about your speeding ticket. Allow him to look in your trunk etc..."

    Great. Now you're advising people to give consent so cops with no probable cause can literally rip the seats out of your car, rip the door panels off, rip the cushions open, and pull or rip out anything else they want (radio, dash panel, etc). You might not get a ticket but enjoy the 100s in repair costs to fix all the stuff they broke. Door locks and power windows alone (easily damaged when door panels removed) will run you around $100+ for each door.

  22. I live in a rural area between 2 of the worst speed trap towns in the state. What i have done in the past is to help people I know from out of town get a ticket quashed. Once a person was able to help me in return when I was in his town and got a citation.