What to do if faced with a parking ticket
There are many places where it is illegal to park: double yellow lines, junctions, reserved areas, loading bays, pedestrian crossings, zigzag markings, red lines. Many of these places are accompanied by signs indicating the prohibition of parking there. Overstaying the amount of time paid for if parking in a place regulated by a meter can also get you a ticket. If you do park in one of these places or overstay your prescribed time and a Civil Enforcement Officer walks by, you can expect to get a parking ticket. Alternatively you may have been caught on camera parking in a forbidden place; as such you may find that you receive a parking ticket through the post. The cost of a fine for parking in these places varies from council to council, though as of late 2010 there are proposals that could see these fines rise in cost.
Most parking tickets are a civil offence, though some councils do issue parking tickets as a criminal offence. Civil tickets are known as Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) and criminal ones Excess Charge Notices (ECN). Tickets issued by the police are also ECN’s and criminal offences, blocking a junction would be likely to incur such a ticket. Alternatively you could return to your vehicle and find that it has a clamp on a wheel or that it is not there at all, and has been towed away.
Paying the fine
Parking fines can be paid in a number of ways, such as:
- by credit or debit card
- in person by cash or otherwise
- by cheque or postal order
- online (not all councils offer this service).
Admission of liability
In the case of a parking ticket paying the fine is taken as an admission of liability; the necessity to get home leads to most people paying immediately for their vehicle to be unclamped or released from captivity. In these cases paying is not an admission of liability and the fine can still be contested. In the main civil fines will be reduced by half if you pay it within 14 days, even if you attempt to contest it and lose, prompt payment can still lead to the sundering of the fee in two.
Alternatively if you delay payment the fine, like a small plant, can be watered by the council and grow into a large and expensive bush. Generally if no payment or challenge of the parking ticket is received within 28 days, the council will issue the registered owner of the offending vehicle with a Notice to Owner (NtO) requesting payment of the fine. There will normally be a timescale set by the council and if there is still no payment forthcoming the fine will increase, normally by 50%. So it is in your interest to deal with a parking ticket, whatever course you choose to take, promptly.
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