Defense Letter Website: An associate and I created this website in response to the enormous amount of Google traffic that came to this site in search for parking ticket defenses and letters. Please enjoy.
June 30th, 2008.
Dearest Parking Violation Judge–
I do hope you find this electronic letter arrives in good fashion. The Post Office has, on occasion, misplaced official correspondence to the US Government, so I chose electronic delivery over more traditional methods to ensure this message’s receipt.
This morning, I parked my father’s car on 35th street, on the south side of the street, directly east of Park Avenue. I deposited the requisite coinage ($2.00) for in Machine #6358 in area 144 at precisely 08:54 AM and then placed the parking receipt on the Driver’s Side Dashboard, as instructed.
The car remained there for 58 minutes while I loaded some artwork and varies sundries into the truck and back seat. Nearing the end of my time, I saw one of your officers approaching my father’s car with a determined look with an electronic parking ticket machine in hand. So, I said hello to the officer. His name, according to my ticket and his badge, is Officer E. Valdivia, and he had a very neatly-trimmed black mustache.
I inquired why he was writing a ticket as I still had a few minutes remaining of paid parking time. He points to the sign and says I am violating the parking rules, confidently noting that the car was “not a commercial vehicle.”
I asked for clarification as to the sign’s language which, for posterity, reads:
3 HR LIMIT
*note: I can only assume this word begins with a ‘C’. The sign, as attached to the post, covers the beginning of the word.
This confused me, so I asked for clarification. You see, I used to live on that block and I had asked another parking officer not one month ago if I was allowed to park at that exact location during the day. She, a lovely officer whose name escapes me at the moment, reassured me it was no problem, as the sign is be interpreted as, “No standing expect commercial vehicles OR metered parking.” Meaning, it is a legal parking spot for commercial vehicles or anyone with who paid the meter, commercial or otherwise.
Unfortunately, as Officer Valdivia understood it, the signage should be interpreted with a different reading: parking is valid for commercial vehicles WITH metered parking.
The signage is clearly ambiguous, evidenced by two officers — both responsible for enforcing said signage — who have differing interpretations. If your enforcing officers have no consensus on this signage, how is a reasonable person expected to follow the posted rules? (Particularly a reasonable person who, when unsure, asked an enforcing officer for clarification.)
Speaking directly to my case, I feel I have acted reasonably. I am still unsure what the official ruling is or actual intent of the signage is; but, I feel the point is moot: the signage is ambiguous. As such, I plead not guilty, as it is not clear, even from your enforcing officers, what the rules are.
Additionally, under the “Complainant’s Comments” section of my Notice, it reads, “veh pkg on unattended”. Even the comments section regarding the violation are unclear. Even when expanding the abbreviations (assuming “veh” means “vehicle”, and “pkg” means “parking”), the comment is both grammatically and factually incorrect. If the vehicle were unattended, how would I remember the conversation we had, much less his neatly-trimmed black mustache?
Under the “Signature of Complainant” section, it notes that “If the operator was present I indicated the operator’s name … and personally served this Notice upon him/her.” My name is nowhere to be found on this Notice of Parking Violation, and I was clearly standing there as the ticket was being issued.
I do not mean to get Officer Valdivia in any trouble — he was a very polite and respectful officer — but, just like me, he needs to follow the rules… whatever those rules happen to be. As the rules, in this case, are posted ambiguous, and that the enforcing officer noted my vehicle unattended when it clearly was attended, compels me to plead Not Guilty.
Best regards, and have a happy summer!
Michael E. Gruen