From the Forum – Parking ticket on wrong vehicle?

by Prince Of Petworth March 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm 20 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user John M

Parking ticket on wrong vehicle?

“Hey Popvillers-curious if anyone has had this issue lately. In the last few months, we have received notices in the mail from DMV notifying us of parking tickets we had not paid, and the fee doubling. However, both of the tickets we were notified of, we never actually got a physical ticket notifying us of the infraction. This last one we checked out our parkmobile app, and we were parked in the vicinity of where the ticket was issued, but actually around the corner on a non-rush hour street (which is what the ticket was citing). I’m curious if anyone else is having the same issue, if it’s a scam, or just the parking police doing a very dubious job of issuing tickets?”

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  • jumpingjack

    This happened to my BF a few months ago. He never got a ticket on his car and a month later got a doubled fine in the mail. This was in Takoma.

    • textdoc

      This happened to me. I was parked on Georgia Avenue by the Howard University Hospital.
      I contested the ticket on the grounds that the street cleaning sign was missing from the signpost next to my car. I also said that at the very least, they ought to remove the penalty for lateness, since I’d never received the original ticket and thus had no way of paying or contesting it within 30 days.

      • textdoc

        They rejected my appeal, BTW. Despite photo evidence of the signpost in question.

  • stacksp

    In “high-ticket” areas, people will sometimes take the ticket off neighboring cars and place it on their car windshield to avoid paying for parking and/or getting a ticket themselves. Not saying if this was the case here but this is sometimes why owners do not receive the physical ticket. They typically take pictures of the vehicle when issuing tickets. I say challenge them on it and have them produce the evidence vs what your parkmobile log actually shows.

  • SC

    Sorry to piggy back on this but does anyone know how parking enforcement know when you pay a meter via mobile app versus with cash? I parked across Local 16 Wednesday night and fed the meter via mobile app. Around 10pm (with plenty of time left on the meter according to my app), I got a parking citation.

    • anon

      This happened to me once. I looked at the ticket, and the meter person had mistyped the zone number. Easy to fix when your phone has the correct zone number. I found the meter guy, still on the block, showed him I had paid for the correct zone number, and he had checked the wrong one, and he cancelled my ticket.

    • thedcyears

      Scan/upload the parkmobile receipt in to contest the ticket. I did this successfully a while ago. :)

  • DupontDC

    Not saying this is the case, but I often find parking tickets on the ground when walking around. Maybe once a month or so. It’s unlikely that this happened to you twice, but maybe could explain one of the occurrences?

  • M

    I was parked in Zone 1, which I have a permit for, and came out to find a parking ticket about 2 weeks ago. I looked and the ticket was for a Mercedes Benz with a MD plate (not my car, not even close). It was under my windshield so I don’t think it got there by mistake, but also don’t think a parking enforcement person put it there.

  • anon

    Well, obviously, you only have to worry if the ticket is written with your license plate – when someone puts a ticket written for another car on your windshield, you can certainly ignore it – it isn’t yours. If you get the follow-up ticket in the mail, it obviously had your license plate on it.

    Thanks to parkmobile, I would suspect that you would have an excellent chance of beating a ticket if you show your car paid for park mobile elsewhere. I would do it in person – you always have better luck fighting tickets that way. I suppose someone could argue that you parked in one zone and paid the meter in another zone on purpose, but who would actually do that? – because don’t you risk your car being towed if you park on streets where parking is prohibited during rush hours? I think some meter people must be doing illegal things to make quotas.

    • TJ

      I’m not so sure about this in-person recommendation. I don’t get a lot of tickets, but when I do and need to contest I have much better than 50% record in getting them voided by contesting online. It is just a couple minutes of time explaining whatever needs to be explained, then waiting six months and getting a verdict. Just got one voided because of confusing parkmobile zone signage, for instance. Proof of payment, along with submitted photos showing the confusing signage, seemed to be sufficient. Spending 2-3 hours doing this in person would be tough to justify.

      • Paul Sieczkowski

        I had a situation where I parked on a block by my former residence that had no street cleaning signs. I parked the car on Monday night. Well, on Wednesday afternoon they installed a sign for Thursday street cleaning. On Thursday every car on my side of the street was ticketed. How can you ticket someone for a sign erected less than 24 hours prior?

        I contested online and explained the timeline of everything. Was denied. Total BS.

  • jcm

    You can sign up with the city to get notification of any tickets you receive. The website is http://dmv.dc.gov/service/registration-email-ticket-alert-service-tas

    • dandandandandandan

      But, ridiculously, you have to first receive a ticket in order to sign up. You can’t sign up on a license plate alone, you have to have a ticket number.

      Dumb dumb dumb!!

      • thedcyears


  • MRD

    Can’t remember the particulars, but I have twice challenged parking tickets by printing out a parking log/invoice from ParkMobile’s website. Successful both times.

  • If it’s a DPW Parking Enforcement ticket, then there should be a photo accessible on-line to verify the location and the violation.

  • Anon

    Yes, but I successfully challenged it. I left my car around the corner from my house for a week (zoned residential parking, no meter), and, unbeknownst to me, right after I parked it, the city imposed emergency no-parking for street/sidewalk improvements. I got three parking tickets and a very dirty (but at least not towed) car. I found one ticket on the windshield (for where my car was parked), and two more when I went online to pay it. One of the tickets online was for same location–where I was actually parked–and the other was for a location that was around the corner from where I had been parked. The photograph feature on the website was not working for any of the tickets. I challenged the third ticket using the website form on the basis that, as demonstrated by the two other tickets, I wasn’t actually parked there, and that ticket was canceled.

    Theoretically, there’s a feature where DC will send you an email whenever your car–it’s linked to your license plate–gets ticketed, and I tried to sign up for it, but I couldn’t get it to work right. Anyone successfully use that feature?

  • Chris

    I once received a notice for a ticket for parking too close to a stop sign. On a street I had never parked on in a neighborhood I had never been in. I denied it, but had no proof they had obviously mistyped the plate number. They cancelled the penalty but I still had to pay the underlying ticket.

  • Anoynmous

    I went through this for about a year, got notice for a ticket for a car that wasn’t mine at a time and place not near where I would have been. Ultimately after contesting it failed, it took a letter to the mayor’s office. Good Luck!


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