Dear PoP – A ticket without actually getting a ticket

“Dear PoP,

I wanted to know if this was a common and accepted practice, or if I should attempt to contest this:

Twice within the past few months, I have failed to move my car on street sweeping day but wasn’t actually ticketed. Woops. I’m usually pretty good about it, but every so often I take my bike to work or take a day off and don’t wake up in time. Anyway, I received a notice in the mail for failure to pay a parking ticket for the first offense. I never had a ticket on my car, so I figured I got lucky. I have no problem paying the fine, it was my fault, but to pay the late fee on a ticket I never knew existed seems ridiculous. Out of curiosity, after the second time I failed to move my car, I kept checking back on the DMV’s website to see if a new ticket appeared. Sure enough, about a week later, there it was. I’ll pay this one before it doubles, but I just feel like this is messed up!”

This is an interesting question that I’ve wondered about in the past. What happens if you get a ticket and the wind blows it off or it somehow disappears? Has this happened to anyone else? I assume you just gotta pay it when you get the notice in the mail, right?

46 Comment

  • Gutter ticket.

    Dispute the additional charge, agree to pay the original fee. Done it several times.

  • I have a similar situation ongoing. I got a ticket which must have blown away and was issued another one with 15 minutes! I paid the 2nd one (thinking it was the ONLY one) and then got a late notice about a ticket given 15 minutes before on the same day.

    I appealed to the DMV and they have like 6 months to decide my fate while all fees and whatnot are held back.

  • Also, if this is a sweepercam ticket they don’t put anything on your windshield, they mail it.

    So make sure your address is up to date!

  • Did the mailing from the DMV include a photo of your car parked in the street sweeping zone?

    • Nopes. Just the late fee notice.
      Current address & everything. Hrmpf.

      • Just get your Lazy behind up and move the car so you won’t have any issues

        • My behind is *not* lazy, thank you very much. The rest of me: lazy lazy lazy. A lazy jerk face not running out to her car on a sick day in her knee socks, boyfriend’s undershirt and sparkle penguin underwear out of sheer laziness….and to spare the neighbors from witnessing the horror that is my lounge-wear. I’m actually quite considerate, if you think about it. That’s totally moot, though.
          You missed the point and the spirit of the question- I was wondering if other people had been getting late fines for street parking tickets that they never received. That *is* a problem. I don’t have an issue with being ticketed for not moving the car. I don’t have a problem paying a late fee on a ticket I blatantly ignore. Just give me a ticket- I don’t care if it’s on the windshield, sent in the mail, a flaming dog turd sculpture of a badger in front of the building holding a sign stating, “you done wrong, pay $30 by XXX date”. If it happened once, I’d assume it was a fluke. Twice, it’s a conspiracy to shake me down for my hard- earned Fritos money. Other neighbors are also experiencing an issue, so perhaps there is some meter-maid shenanigans going on- and she’s in league with the butcher. And, of course, the street sweeper.

        • what a douche bag comment.

  • the problem is anybody can say they didn’t see a ticket, or it blew away, or someone took it off the car or whatever. DMV has no way to know who is lying and who is telling the truth.

    So, their 2 options are: 1) believe everybody and dismiss every contested ticket (fat chance!) or 2) believe nobody and make everybody pay.

    Unfortunately (if understandably), they choose option 2, which leaves you SOL. You won’t get off scot free, but you might get the doubled fee dropped if you contest it. That’s my guess.

    • What is the downside of just believing everyone?

      I don’t think anyone is asking for the ticket to be dismissed – just the late charge. So believing everyone means you still get paid just as much, and the only scam someone got was “getting away with paying their ticket late.” Once you consider the hassle of actually having to go through the process to argue that you didn’t get it on your car, that is hardly a victory for the ticket-getter.

      That is to say, there are really few people who would purposely pay a ticket late, then go to all the trouble to contest it, for the privilege of just paying what the would have had to pay anyway.

  • I actually got a ticket from the sweepercam, then had a meter maid roll up on foot literally one minute later and ticket me for the same offense. Got the second one dropped, but wasted an hour at the DMV.

  • Glad I biked home today and moved the beast to the other side of the street before sweeper time set in.

  • I had a similar issue with speedcams. They sent me two tickets saying I hadn’t paid the first notice (which I hadn’t received). When I called the DMV, they told me to write a letter, attaching a copy of the second notice, stating that since I never received the original ticket, I had no chance to contest the charge. Therefore, I requested that the tickets be re-issued without the penalty. Please don’t quote me on the verbiage, it was a relatively painless (if long) call to the DMV.

    Upon following these directions, both tickets were reissued with the penalties removed.

  • I got my car towed for street sweeping about a week after I moved into the city a few months back. Trying to get in contact with the city to find out where my car was was a pain in the ass. (It was 2 blocks away, which was more convenient than I had expected.) They left a non-ticket notification of the towing on my windshield and I received a ticket in the mail a few weeks later with a picture of my car in the towing zone. I paid it and that was that.

    • That’s called a ‘courtesy tow’. That happened to me as well. Beats the hell out of trekking down to the impound lot (Anacostia? who knows?).

      Sure, I had a ticket for bad parking + a fine for the tow, but it was my fault, so that was the best outcome I could expect.

    • You can actually check for your car’s location online. My car was towed for street cleaning, I went online to see what to do and was able to locate it using the license plate number. Imagine my surprise when it said the car was right across the street from my apartment. I had walked by it twice and not seen it. Anyway, I never got a ticket for the towing, but I did get a parking ticket since they put me in a metered spot.

      • SouthwestDC

        Sometimes they have the wrong location, though– this happened to a friend of mine. No one knew where her car was for several days!

  • This has happened to me — no ticket on the car, but got a notice months later with a double fine for not paying the original ticket. I simply wrote up a letter admitting to parking during street sweeping, but disputing the double fine because I never received a ticket. I heard back a few weeks later that the double fine was dropped.

  • Same thing happened to me, but on my motocycle. Now on a motorcycle there really isnt any place to secure a ticket to. So for all I know the meter maid just threw the ticket on the ground. I contact my city council member…which is Jack Evans about it. He (or his office) was extremely helpful. If you contact the DMV directly…you will likely have to pay the additional fee….but if you have a helpful city council member then when their office contacts the DMV you will likely get those extra fees waived.

  • Can I park on a street cleaning side immediately after the sweeper passes or do I have to wait until the “end” time? If so what is the reasoning for waiting?

    • I wouldn’t risk it.
      Keep to the times stated on the sign.
      It is also possible that the authority that writes the ticket may not know whether or not the street was cleaned.

    • You cannot. You have to wait for the end time. I have actually seen the meter maids in the honda civics come around AFTER the sweeper comes through.

      • Yeah, that definitely happens. Which is why I’m actually a fan of the cameras on the sweepers. It’s really irritating to get to your car at 9:35 and find a ticket. The purpose of the parking restriction is to get cars out of the way of the sweepers, so at least with the cameras, I’m only getting ticketed if I’m *actually* in the way. Spirit of the law, etc. etc.

  • I have an idea – try parking legally! Would you really expect the driver of a street sweeper to get out and issue a parking ticket just because you can follow the parking rules of the city. Complain about the parking rules – let’s be like some third world place where you can park your smoking gas-bomb wherever you want. What a ridiculous thread of responses. I don’t give a poop about people who don’t park legally and get their cars towed, then vent to the whole list serve about it. Better yet, you live in the city, get rid of your car and use public transportation! RADICAL!!!!!

    • Are you new to this blog?

    • Pffft. People make mistakes. They forget that tomorrow is sweepy day and oversleep.
      I have no problem paying the fine. If I don’t pay it on time, I have no problem paying the damn late fee, either. Give me a ticket. Mail me a ticket. If you can mail me a late fee, you can mail me a photo ticket, first.

      I’ll be writing a letter – just to let someone know I’m getting late fees but no ticket and contest it if it happens again. But just to be certain, I’ll periodically check DMV online to see if I have a ticket. Because, I’m a rebel and park my big evil car on Tuesdays. For this, I have a special circle of hell reserved for me and I’ll have plenty of company.

  • Oops – I meant CAN’T follow the parking rules! Fired up because this posting just amazed me – what’s messed up is he/she involving everyone in this ridiculous dilemma that stems from an admitted lack of personal responsibility and nothing more. It embodies everything I find obnoxious in today’s society.

    • Most everyone here is taking responsibility for their actions, friend, and nobody is complaining about parking rules. But thanks for the “get rid of your car and use public transportation” idea, that’s original.

    • Well, I find you obnoxious.

  • We call the city to have any cars parked on our street during cleaning day ticketed. Who cares if they get double ticketed by a person and the sweeper cam. Many of the offenders could care less about clean streets so we make sure we get them ticketed or even double ticketed to increase their frustration and get them to move their cars.

  • This happened to me twice last year right before renewal time for my registration so I had no choice but to pay everything. Now I no longer get tickets on the car, but rather the picture in the mail that others have mentioned. I actually prefer the mail over the ticket on windshield, better notice. In the past, other commenters have recommended regularly checking your plates on the DMV website just to make sure something hasn’t slipped through the cracks. A good policy.

    • A!!! Are you for real? Who cares about your tickets people? Park you cars legally and stop wasting this list-serve with these rambling messages about your cars and tickets, that’s a good policy.

  • saf

    First, this isn’t a listserve.

    Second, sometimes you think you parked legally, but turns out, you didn’t. Then you get a ticket.

    • saf

      Huh. Thing I was replying to left, and now this makes no sense. Sorry.

    • SouthwestDC

      Yeah, I think any car-owner who’s lived in the city for more than a year has gotten a ticket or two, even if they’ve never intentionally parked illegally and always check the signs. It happens.

  • Lightbulb is my new favorite irrationally angry POP poster.

  • I had a similar scenario. I simply wrote a letter saying I didn’t want to contest the ticket, but just that I had never received and didn’t want to pay the late fee. They waived the late fee (after several months of waiting), and I just paid the ticket.

  • street sweeping is a scam designed to hand out hundreds of additional tickets every day. nothing gets cleaned.

    I’m not trying to be a WUM, I actually believe this and no one can convince me otherwise

  • From the Department of Motor Vehicles website:

    What can I do if I never received the original ticket, but now I’m being penalized for failing to answer it?

    If you have received a Notice of Unsatisfied Parking Tickets, but did not or cannot recall receiving the original ticket, you may reply to the address on the notice and request a copy of the ticket. If it is less than 60 days since the ticket was issued, then you can submit a mail adjudication form in which you may reply to the merits of both the underlying ticket and the assignment of penalties.

    If the ticket is more than 60 days old, then you can file a Motion to Vacate Judgment*. However, your Motion to Vacate Judgment must be received within 120 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued. In accordance with District law, if you submit payment for a ticket fine, you can no longer adjudicate the ticket; therefore, if you are within the 120 days of the ticket being issued and you want to dispute the penalty, you should not pay any portion of the ticket.

    A hearing examiner will review your written explanation and make a decision as to your liability for the original ticket fine and late penalty. You will receive a written decision by mail.

  • The same happened to me in China Town.
    After had I put enough in the parking meter for about one and a half hour to spend in the area, I made it back just at time.
    I found the parking police standing right at front of my car. I looked at the meter and saw it still have 2 minutes left. I even talk to the officer and told him “I guess I beat the meter, because I have 2 minutes left.” He looked at me, did not say a word and walk away without issuing a ticket. I was so happy because I believed I did it right.
    But guess what? A month later I received a letter saying I failed to pay the ticket and the ticket now had an extra fee added.
    It was $50 ticket, just about due. I thought about fighting it, but after I read all the steps, and compared that to the little time I had before it was due, I decide to pay it and move on.

  • Wow, lightbulb, your krazy is showing.

  • Well, I had something similar happen but got lucky/treated really nicely. The first week or so we moved here, I guess too much stuff was going on and we hadn’t even seen the signs yet. Got three sweepercam tickets in the mail a couple of weeks later. Took ourselves down the the courts and admitted to the first one because we did, in fact, park in the wrong place.. we were too dumb to look at the signs. We argued that the second two should be dropped, though, because had we received a paper ticket the first time, we’d have learned our lesson and not done wrong again and again. It worked! We paid a third of the fees (one ticket) and now I have an alarm set for every Monday and Tuesday mornings to move my damn car.

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