Dear PoPville – Enforcement Going After Those with Temporary License Plates?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

Recently I purchased a very small car and I currently have temporary plates on it. I parked it on Sunday night halfway in front of a “No parking behind this –>” sign and halfway behind it. I had done this frequently with my old car (a much larger car), and the one/first time I have done it with my new car I received a $50.00 ticket (on Monday the 8th 1:42 AM on 16th and R) for parking with any part of my car behind the sign.

Normally I would fight this, as clearly a majority of my car was in front of the sign. However, I need to have it inspected and registered in DC within 3 weeks to get real plates and a zone sticker. With a ticket on file I cannot register it and my temporary plates expire soon. I cannot fight or admit fault and seek a lower penalty, as they both take months to process and have the potential to place a hold against my registration. I can easily see this situation as an easy “quota mark” for street patrol as the tickets are hard to fight due to plates being temporary and the owner on a strict time frame. If this is the case, I find this a repulsive practice on behalf of the Police Department.

I am wondering if any other users with temporary plates have also received tickets with obscure reasoning and what actions they took?”

63 Comment

  • you broke the law. pay the fine. this isn’t some vendetta against your temporary tags.

  • Why don’t you just pay the ticket as to not hold up your registration since you were parked illegally anyway?

  • Ugh. Read up on the law before you complain. You can contest a ticket and still get your registration and tags.

  • I’d consider it lucky you didn’t receive tickets when you did this with the old car. In my neighborhood (Cleveland Park) 1/2 way over the sign = ticket, regardless of temp plates.

  • “Normally I would fight this, as clearly a majority of my car was in front of the sign.”

    I don’t understand, if you are just a millimeter beyond the sign you have admitted guilt to yourself and committed a parking infraction, why would you fight it?

  • em

    You did the crime, now pay the fine. Your email makes clear that you knowingly parked beyond the sign, yet you still did it. If you are willing to take a risk, you have to realize that sometimes you get caught. I’m not condemning your parking job – I’ve certainly parked slightly past the sign, stayed a few minutes past my meter, etc. – but when the parking enforcement net catches you, and you know you are guilty, just pay up.

  • Does the original poster think it is legal to park in an area marked no parking if he is less than 50% in it? That’s bizarre, but otherwise I don’t understand this post.

  • This really could have been a lot more concise.

    “I finally got caught parking illegally and want to blame it on a vendetta — of which I have no evidence it has happened to anyone else with temporary tags — instead of my own actions.”

    There we go.

  • pretty sure you can’t have any part of your car on the wrong side of a no parking sign. not 5%, 10%, 25%…none at all.

    • Yup – on my street, they are lenient if it’s only slightly past the sign, but even when my car is slightly over the sign I realize there’s a good chance of a ticket.

  • The ultimate first world problems whine: I only 49% broke the law, so they must be targeting me. Waaaaaaa!

  • Pay the fine, the ticket has nothing to do with your temporary tags. Since the ticket was issued overnight it was probably done by DDOT’s parking enforcement division, not MPD.

  • Normally you would fight this? Normally you would lose that battle! I thought it was common knowledge that there’s no leeway when it comes to No Parking zones, so I’m not sure what sort of defense you would have.

  • andy

    Everybody always thinks they were targeted. Parking enforcement doesn’t care enough to target you.

  • First of all, it does not take several months to fight a parking ticket. I have had a ticket dismissed in a couple hours by heading to the DMV adjudication office at 301 C Street NW. But don’t bother going in this case. You broke the law, and the ticket will neither be dismissed or reduced. Where did you ever come up with the idea that it was OK to park HALF YOUR CAR on the wrong side of a “No Parking” Sign?

  • On what grounds do you think you have to contest the ticket? And why do you think you would be successful? Your car was illegally parked. Is this some quirk in the DC law that I am unaware of?

    • They usually don’t ticket for stuff like that unless they’re being super picky.

      • For being half-way in a no parking zone is being “super picky”?!?! On my block that would mean blocking an alley entrance, being mostly in front of a fire hydrant, or completely blocking the view turning onto a narrow street. And, yeah, they will ticket. Telling people “they usually don’t ticket for that” is bad advice. I’d also love to see the ticket protest based on they’re “not usually super picky.” Thanks for helping me procrastinate this afternoon. 😉

  • The sign says “No Parking behind this sign” not “oh don’t worry, it’s totally cool if half your car is sticking out past this, no biggie!”

    You got a ticket because you parked past the sign, not because they don’t like your temp plates.

  • The question of whether parking enforcement targets temporary plates is a really interesting one. Unfortunately for the conversation, the facts of this case seem like a clear-cut a violation rather than a case of overreach.

  • Boo this man (or woman) !!!!

  • I’m going to go ahead and put it out there: Am I the only one who thought the majority of your car had to be past the sign not the whole thing? I see people doing this all the time on my block and not getting tickets. Can someone please show exactly what the law is?

    • If any part of your car is over the sign, you’re parked illegally. Do you really expect a parking enforcement person to measure your car and determine whether 50.1% is over the line? That’s kind of ridiculous, don’t you think?

      And I doubt very much that you’ll find an exact definition in the DCMR, so I’m not going to bother to look. Generally the law says that you have to obey signs. And “No Parking” means exactly that.

      That being said, parking enforcement people do have discretion to ignore minor violations. Maybe a foot over, they usually don’t care in my experience.

      • Fair enough. I never put that much though into it I guess. I always feel like those laws are kind of loose anyway. There are no signs next to the fire hydrant up the block and people just kind of park wherever by it. Sometimes they leave one foot of space, sometimes more like 3 or 4. I’ve never worried about having a foot or two of my car past the no parking sign and I’ve never been ticketed for it in the years I’ve lived here. Guess I should consider myself lucky and start paying more attention.

        • Fire hydrants, intersections and driveways are a different story. There are specific laws that address each one, but I don’t have time to look up exactly what the rules are. What we’re talking about here is that there’s no regulation that interprets “beyond this sign.” You’re simply supposed to obey what the signs say in those cases.

    • I’ve tried to find DC parking regulations online before, and their site is no help at all. I also typically follow the ‘rule’ of tires behind/in front of the sign (leaving maybe 3-4 inches of car over the line) and have never had a problem.

      • I used to follow that rule as well until I got ticketed two nights in a row for not more than 6 inches of overhang with the sign. My back tires were definitely in a legal parking zone but a little of my trunk hung over.

        Damn you T. Gordon!

      • That’s usually what I do as well.

      • Never heard of this rule, lol. Sounds like a “rule of thumb” for guessing how much of a violation you can get away with. Not bad, I guess, but ya can’t complain about a ticket when you get one.

    • A few inches here or there usually doesn’t get you a ticket. About half of your car almost always will. I don’t think anyone is out there with rulers, but there is a big difference to being slightly past the sign and about half of a car (and American cars are uuuuuugggeee).

      It probably also depends on the street, the area and how much parking past a do-not-park sign will impact pedestrians, fire hydrants, parking, traffic, etc.

  • I did read the rest of the OP’s post, just out of curiosity, but I felt like I could’ve stopped reading after “Recently I purchased a very small car and I currently have temporary plates on it. I parked it on Sunday night halfway in front of a ‘No parking behind this –>’ sign and halfway behind it. ”
    It’s also nice that in PoPville — a community where many people disagree strongly about many things — occasionally there are some things that are so clear-cut that there’s an overwhelming consensus. 🙂

  • Are you kidding me?

  • cough up the $50 bucks and stop parkin like a jerk

  • saf

    You parked illegally. You know it.

    That said, a ticket that has been appealed will not block your registration.

  • Ugggggg. You should please move out of this City as quickly as possible and promise you will never ever post to this website again. Thanks in advance.

  • If you chose to fight, you might do better by admitting guilt up front and asking for mercy.
    I got a $250 ticket because about 1 foot of my car was extended into the handicap parking space in front of my neighbor’s house on the corner.
    I sent in a letter pleading guilty with an explanation – only 1 foot of my car was in the other space; there was still plenty of space for my neighbor’s car because I parked there after she was already in her space; it was alternate side of the street day and it was the last spot on the right side, etc. In a week I got a postcard saying they were considering my letter. A month or so later I got a postcard stating that I did not have to pay the fine.
    For what it’s worth, tickets now come with photographic evidence – the officers take pictures of the violation and the pictures are posted online with the ticket. So don’t try to move your car, take a photo, and send that photo in as proof you were not parked illegally. Not that I considered doing that . . . after finding out that the officer’s photos were posted online 🙂

  • I can’t believe how hateful and rude people are being on this site. Hope it makes you all feel better to treat someone like such a piece of crap.

  • I was only blocking part of the fire hydrant, and it wasn’t even that big of a fire!

  • Reading all of these hateful and mean comments makes my heart sad.

    • These comments don’t strike me as particular mean. And they are about parking, hardly a very personal topic.

    • The comments aren’t all that mean spirited. Many are funny and fun! Parking laws are a pain we all deal with, but they exist for the greater good; they should be observed; and it’s a kind-hearted person who recognizes that.

  • Could OP please enlighten us as to exactly what was “obscure” about the reasoning on the ticket? The car was given a ticket for parking in a no parking zone and the ticket said exactly that. Did they cite some 1907 law against mopery or something?

  • Seriously, you are admitting guilt. How can this be about your temp tags. This happens to me with people blocking my driveway. Blocking it even a little bit gets you a ticket and sometimes a tow. There are no degrees of breaking the law. It is very black and white and you admitted you broke it.

  • Whoa-didn’t know folks thought there was a tire axle or 50% rule, I am nervous even my bumper is 1 inche past the sign (I’ve gotten out of my car countless times to make sure that I’m right at the border, but no more.

    Also, when the street has a painted parking box but the sign does not quite match up, is it ok to go with whichever one is more generous?

    • That’s a good question. OK, here’s my super-duper, a-lawyer-but-not-an-expert-on-DC-parking-regs answer: It probably depends on the situation.

      Technically, you’re probably supposed to follow whatever the most restrictive indicator is. And especially in this case, as you have a sign specifically stating one thing and then a line painted in the street that *might* indicate something else. However, as long as you’re not parked like a total jackass you probably have good grounds for leniency on appeal. That said, I can think of a few situations in which you probably wouldn’t get leniency. For example, on the 1800 block of R Street NW there’s a no parking sign near the SW corner at 18th. Right in front of that sign are lines painted on the street that might lead you to believe that it’s a legal parking space. I’d think that you’d get a ticket and it would be upheld if you parked there, as the sign is unmistakeable and you’re pretty close to the intersection.

      These are just thoughts, though. I know if there even is a definitive answer out there.

  • FWIW – MPD doesn’t usually issue parking tix – it is Parking Enforcement – the 2 are not the same. I really can’t believe you thought you could find a tix for which you are clearly in the wrong.

  • I asked a parking enforcement person about this when I was trying to get into a spot in a busy area. She told me that the law was all 4 tires had to be legally parked. i.e. – your bumper could be over the line. She said all measurements are done from the rear of the rear tire…

    I never verified it, but I’ve parked this way from then on and never gotten a ticket.

    • That sounds to me like it’s her rule, not one that all parking enforcement officers necessarily use (supported by the posters above who say they got tickets even when their tires were before the sign).

      It’s like so many other things in life, lots of times you get lucky when bending the rules, but when you get caught you have to pay the fine. Pro-rate the $50 ticket over all the times the OP has broken this law, and it’s a pretty cheap penalty to pay for finding a parking spot in a crowded neighborhood.

  • Lordy. I’ve never owned a car (I’m mid-30s) but assumed it was just common sense that you can’t park halfway in front of a no-parking sign and consider that legal. Tickets stink, no question about that. I’ve been ticketed and towed (driving a borrowed car; I parked at 3:30pm and didn’t notice there was a “no parking between 4:00 and 6:00” sign a couple of car lengths ahead of me), and it was a logistical hassle and a real punch to my wallet. Sometimes you get busted and you just gotta suck it up. (Not that that stopped everyone else in line ahead of me at impound from spinning a sad story about how *they* shouldn’t have been towed because they park there all the time, or didn’t see the signs, or were out shopping and contributing SO much money to the city’s economy and it’s so unjust to punish them with a ticket, and blah blah blah.)

  • If you live in DC and own a car, you WILL get parking tickets. Pay the ticket and move on with your life.

    Are there any PoPVillers who own cars (and street park) and have never gotten a parking/ enforcement ticket in DC? I’m convinced it is not possible.

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