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Fighting Parking Tickets

Best Way to Beat Parking Tickets in New York for Free

You know that sinking feeling you get when you see something tucked beneath your wiper blade? As you walk closer, you hope that it’s an ad for some crappy concert or even someone leaving you a smug note. But as you draw nearer, you see that it’s exactly what you feared: a parking ticket.

In New York City, about ten million parking tickets are issued every year. Take a look at this map to see where they are given in the biggest numbers. Tickets in Manhattan will cost you the most, but tickets anywhere in the city are incredibly annoying and quite costly. At the low end, you’ll pay $35 for a parking citation in New York City, but the worst ticket will cost you $515, according to city data.

When you get a ticket, your first thought should be, “How can I fight this?” Fortunately, there are several circumstances that will allow you to successfully contest a parking ticket in NYC. Here are the top situations:

Lack of Grace

If you received a ticket for an expired parking meter, check the time that the meter expired and the time that the ticket was issued. Meter maids are supposed to give drivers a five-minute grace period to refill their meters or move their cars. If they didn’t wait five minutes, you could successfully contest your ticket.


A ticket is considered “defective” if it is missing information or if it has incorrect information. So if the issuing officer copied down your license plate number incorrectly or recorded the address wrong, that’s enough to make your ticket contestable.

Overlooked Disability

Sometimes valid parking permits for people with disabilities are simply overlooked by officers issuing tickets. If you were legally parked in a handicap parking space but got a ticket anyway, you can absolutely contest that ticket.

Broken Meters

If the closest muni meter to your parking spot is broken, then you’re supposed to pay at the next available one on the block. If all the muni meters on your block are broken, then you get to park for free for up to the specified allowable amount of time. If you were in this situation and got a ticket, you can contest that.

Missing or Broken Parking Signs

If you checked everywhere for parking signs and couldn’t find any, then came back to a ticket, you probably have a case for contesting your ticket. The city needs to clearly mark the rules for parking on any given street. If they fail to do so, you shouldn’t be at fault.

If any of these situations apply to you, or if you have another reason why you think your citation isn’t valid, you can contest your ticket by filing for a hearing either online, by mail, or in person. If you receive a hearing, you will have to make your case before a judge at an assigned time.

That’s option number one. Option number two is much better: use WinIt.

WinIt is a free app that lets you take a picture of your ticket and send it in for review. The nice folks at WinIt will assess your ticket and do everything they can to contest it on your behalf. Sending in your ticket takes just moments, and it’s totally free. You’ll only pay a small fee out of the money you win back if WinIt successfully contests your ticket.
Give it a try today. You’ve got nothing to lose but your ticket!

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