11/9/2007Cities Eliminate Right to Contest Parking Tickets
Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, DC effectively eliminate the right to contest parking tickets.
In an attempt to stem the loss of revenue from motorists contesting parking tickets, cities are effectively eliminating the traditional due process rights of motorists to defend themselves at an impartial hearing. By the end of next year, Washington, DC's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not allow anyone who believes he unfairly received a citation to have his day in an administrative hearing.
"DMV will complete the phase-out of in-person adjudication of parking tickets in favor of mail-in and e-mail adjudication by December 2008," the Fiscal Year 2008 DMV plan states.
The move is intended to allow automated street sweeper parking ticket machines to boost the number of infractions cited well beyond the 1.6 million currently handed out by meter maids. As one-third of those who contest citations in the city are successful, the hearings cut significantly into the $100 million in revenue tickets generate each year.
Under the DMV's plan, motorists will only be able to object to a ticket by email or letter where city employees can ignore or reject letters in bulk without affected motorists having any realistic recourse. That's not good enough for residents like Emily Miller, who told us that being able to present her case in person was essential. The Sunday school teacher was found not guilty at an administrative DMV hearing in June of driving with an open container of coffee. She was so thrilled with her victory that she decided to fight a parking ticket issued to her in a location where the parking signs were contradictory.
Motorists in many cities besides DC complain about unfair citations. So far, Baltimore, Maryland's Inspector General has uncovered 10,000 bogus parking tickets issued to innocent motorists. In Boston and other cities in Massachusetts, motorists cannot challenge a $100 parking ticket in court without first paying a $275 court fee. If found innocent, the motorist does not receive a refund of the $275.
A full copy of the DC DMV plan is available in a 37k PDF file at the source link below.