4/10/2007Kentucky: City Parking Ticket Procedures Violate Law
Louisville, Lexington and other Kentucky cities violate state laws governing overdue parking tickets.
As the city of Louisville, Kentucky issues parking tickets for the most minor of violations, the city itself is violating state law in the way it handles the citations. David Mour, a local attorney, filed suit last Thursday in federal court to force the city to refund fines illegally collected.
"It's true we are not following state law," the Louisville mayor's spokesman, Chris Poynter, admitted to the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper. "It's a common-sense thing. And we would say: Show us the harm."
At issue is a 1984 statute requiring the city to use certified mail to notify motorists who have not paid a ticket within seven days. The intent of the law was to protect motorists from heavy late fees and fines that would follow a notice lost in the regular mail. The city refuses to follow the statute because it would reduce the amount of revenue collected. A certified letter costs $2.79.
The question has already been tested in court. Jefferson County Chief District Judge Donald Armstrong overturned a car seizure in 2005 because the registered owner did not receive a certified letter. Only tickets that were recently overdue would be eligible for a refund if the challenge succeeds. About 26,000 improperly noticed citations worth $400,000 could be part of a class action, according to Mour. The same legal problem affects Lexington and many other cities within the state that fail to use certified mail.
Kentucky Revised StatutesSource: Ticket notification challenged (Louisville Courier-Journal (KY), 4/4/2007)
82.615 Response to notice.
(1) Any person who receives notice of a parking violation shall respond to such notice as provided in this section within seven (7) days of the date of the notice, by either paying the fine set forth in the notice or requesting a hearing pursuant to KRS 82.620.
(2) If the owner of a vehicle cited for a parking violation has not responded to the notice within seven (7) days as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the local government shall send a second notice by certified mail to the last known address of the registered owner of the vehicle as listed on the certificate of title. Such notice shall state that if the owner of the vehicle does not respond to the notice by either paying the fine or by requesting in writing a hearing pursuant to KRS 82.620, within seven (7) days of the receipt of the notice, the owner shall be deemed to have waived his right to a hearing and the determination that a violation was committed shall be considered final. Any person who fails to request a hearing or pay the fine within the seven (7) days shall be deemed to have refused to pay the fine levied by the citation.
(3) The registered owner of a vehicle at the time the violation occurred shall be liable for all fines, fees and penalties which he has refused to pay.
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