“Got a ticket after having my window smashed. Can I challenge?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

Last week I had my driver’s window smashed and my car rummaged through. Mine was one of three cars that got hit. Unfortunate, but I’m resigned to the fact that this is a reality of having a car in the city.

I was parked overnight in a different zone than I am registered in. I came to my car to move it early in the morning, well within the allowed time. However finding my car as it was, I couldn’t move it and arranged for a glass repair company to come and fix it early that afternoon. When I returned to my car to meet the repair man, I had a parking ticket.

I certainly was parked in that zone beyond when other zones are allowed to park there. I thought, surely if parking enforcement saw a car broken into with a smashed window, they’d give some sort of grace period. Or at least find it in their heart to give me a break. No such luck! Any potential I can challenge this? Any idea if there’s some sort of exception to the zoned rules considering extenuating circumstances?”

30 Comment

  • DMV provided reasons to contest a ticket:
    You were not the owner or lessee of the vehicle on the date that the ticket was issued.
    The vehicle or vehicle tags were stolen on or before the date the ticket was issued.
    The relevant meter was broken through no fault of your own
    The relevant sign was missing or obscured
    The stipulated facts on the ticket are inconsistent or do not support the violation.
    The vehicle experienced sudden mechanical failure
    The driver or passenger of the vehicle required immediate medical attention (proof of medical attention required)

    Your car was not drivable. Provide proof of that and proof of repair and contest.

    • I’m assuming it was the driver’s side window that was smashed. It certainly was drivable. Now, if the ticket was issued while waiting for the police to arrive to file a report I think there would be a case here. But just waiting for a mobile glass company (who can do the work no matter where the car is parked)? Not sure they’d cut you any slack. It’s worth trying, though.

  • Sure, you can go in and challenge it — but is it worth your time?
    At the end of the day you were parked where you weren’t allowed to park. It sucks that your window got smashed, but the alternative to the ticket was to get your car towed to a legal parking area. Cheaper to pay the ticket.

    • Accountering

      No, its not. It is incredibly easy to challenge a ticket. You go online, and upload your evidence. Surely a reciept showing glass repair from later that day would cover the “Sudden Mechanical Failure”

      • ah

        Or “car not driveable.”

        • Accountering

          I thought that was commentary added by the poster. If that is a reason, than surely that is your reason to get out of the ticket.

          • ah

            that’s probably right – quick read of badly formatted text. merely being not driveable would let anyone leave a rusted out hulk without fear of ticketing.

      • It’s easy to challenge a ticket, but it’s harder to win than it used to be. I got a ticket a while back and appealed it, on the grounds that the signpost I parked immediately next to had all of the relevant signs EXCEPT the one specifying street cleaning on Thursday nights. I uploaded a photo. They rejected it and said that I should have driven around the block looking for additional signs.

        • that reminds me of a ticket I got on a Wednesday next to a sign that said No Parking Tuesday 12 – 2 pm. I appealed with several photos. The DMV wrote me back saying that DC is not in the habit of placing signs at every parking space on a block. Very Kafka-esque.

          • How irksome.
            I understand that they’re not in the habit of placing signs at every single space, but it seems to me that if you see a signpost with signs on it, it’s reasonable to assume that it includes all of the relevant signs.
            Your ticket sounds even worse. They ticketed you on the wrong DAY and wouldn’t even grant your appeal??

  • Did you file a police report? If you have a police report to back this up you should be able to present it and get the ticket waived.

  • I don’t mean to sound like a heartless jerk, but I don’t understand “However finding my car as it was, I couldn’t move it.” Couldn’t you brush the glass off the driver’s seat, drive back to your usual zone, and then have the glass repaired there?

  • It’s not that hard to contest a ticket. You can do it online in 5 minutes. Briefly explain the circumstances, attach a picture of the broken window, and submit. Best case – you get out of the ticket. Worse case – you delay having to pay the ticket for 6 month or so.

  • why couldn’t you drive the car with a broken window? not ideal, of course, but you still should have been able to drive it.

  • ? Why couldn’t you drive it? I’ve had my driver side window broken twice in the past 3 years and both times I brushed out the glass and drove it to the window repair shop?

    What’s next…you had the sniffles, called in sick to work and didn’t move your car, yet shouldn’t get a ticket?

    • Whoa dude it’s Friday take it down a notch. It’s much easier to be nice to people…

      • Honestly? This is what a DC traffic judge will say to the OP. They don’t tolerate fools.
        OP, you’re not getting out of this one. Contest it via mail to see what happens, but don’t waste your time contesting in person. Technically, you’re guilty of the violation and that’s all they care about. The fine is pretty low, IMHO.

  • You’re more likely to get sympathy if you contest it in person, however that is a huge waste of time. It doesn’t hurt to contest it online, worth a try. I would cut you slack, but I think they technically have the right to keep the ticket valid. If the ticket were more than $50 I would go in person.

    • I actually have contested multiple tickets in person and each and every one of them has been dismissed and – if you have even an iota of proof – seems to be the general rule of thumb (as you sit in the room with a group of others and get to see each of them be questioned about their tickets). We’re talking even $200+ tow tickets (the “judge” dismissed them before I could even speak because they were incorrectly drafted). Highly recommend going in if you have the time – if not uploading is an easy and good second alternative. Absolutely worth it.

  • You can always admit with explanation, grovel before the adjudication officer and hope for the best. You have nothing to lose by trying. Just explain why you couldn’t move your car, and they might take pity upon your poor, unfortunate soul.

  • You can easily contest it online, there’s a section where you can upload attachments (3 MB max) to include pictures or repair receipts. I’m assuming your appeal would be successful, if it is you’ll get a postcard in the mail a week from now letting you know that the ticket was overruled.

    While technically you could have tried clearing out all of the broken glass and tried driving home that would have been a bad idea. Sucks that you got a ticket but parking enforcement doesn’t know when the incident occurred or how long the car has been or will be in that spot, but it should be dismissed.

  • The time you wasted to post this question, you could have fought the ticket. You have nothing to lose beside time so go for it!

  • I just finished reading the DC parking regs, and didn’t find the “broken window” exception anywhere. Sorry OP, you’re stuck with this one. This ain’t California.

  • I think you’d have a decent chance of getting it dismissed, the opinions of the resident hard-nosed commentariat notwithstanding. I was involved in an accident a few years ago and lost my front license plate on the Dulles Toll Road. I got a ticket for not displaying a front license, contested it with a description of the circumstances and a scan of the receipt for the repairs, and they dismissed the ticket.

  • Yes definitely contest it, you shouldn’t be forced to drive when the window got smashed. Furthermore, everyone should contest every parking ticket, it’s a fundamental right of American justice. If you are guilty, fine, live with the outcome of the judgement, but every ticket should be challenged.

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