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Thread: Fight or pay up?

  1. #1
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    Fight or pay up?

    A friend recently got a $301 "abandoned vehicle" ticket in November. He wrote to me about the details, below; do you have any advice? I think he should fight it b/c it is such an expensive ticket and b/c the judge said he could appeal. What do you think? (gotta love his neighbor...ahem.) Here's his story:

    Context: My car, which I usually parked in the driveway because it had an expired out-of-state registration, was parked on the street for a week because workers were remediating for lead. My neighbor called the cops, thinking it was a stolen care (because he'd never seen it before), and they gave me the ticket.

    My bad: I never registered my car in Pennsylvania because I was lazy and drove it about 2 miles a month. I maintained insurance and regular maintenance on the car - I also kept it off the street.

    Not my bad: my neighbor is apparently an ex-detective with the Philly police. Apparently he "keeps an eye" on the street as a favor to the neighbors (the neighbors corroborate and are very grateful). I was intending on registering it once the semester ended (two weeks later).

    What happened next: The day after I got the ticket I registered my car and got an inspection sticker. I went to traffic court with my proof of inspection and registration. They told me they couldn't dismiss the ticket without proof that the car was legal. In other words they needed the old registration. I told them my registration was "way expired." The judge (or whatever he was) said that I could appeal, bring my old registration, a copy of the report saying that work was being done on the work (proving that I had reason to park my car on the street), and get a letter from the neighbor saying that he knew me and in retrospect realized that the car was not abandoned. He said he couldn't promise, but he thought that I had a good case.

    So, the question is, do I spend another 20 hours dealing with this, or do I pay the $301? Since it is not a moving violation it doesn't affect my insurance. Still, $301 is $301.

    If Eric has any advice, I'd love to hear it. His site is very impressive.

  2. #2
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters View Post
    A friend recently got a $301 "abandoned vehicle" ticket in November. He wrote to me about the details, below; do you have any advice? I think he should fight it b/c it is such an expensive ticket and b/c the judge said he could appeal. What do you think? (gotta love his neighbor...ahem.) Here's his story:

    Context: My car, which I usually parked in the driveway because it had an expired out-of-state registration, was parked on the street for a week because workers were remediating for lead. My neighbor called the cops, thinking it was a stolen care (because he'd never seen it before), and they gave me the ticket.

    My bad: I never registered my car in Pennsylvania because I was lazy and drove it about 2 miles a month. I maintained insurance and regular maintenance on the car - I also kept it off the street.

    Not my bad: my neighbor is apparently an ex-detective with the Philly police. Apparently he "keeps an eye" on the street as a favor to the neighbors (the neighbors corroborate and are very grateful). I was intending on registering it once the semester ended (two weeks later).

    What happened next: The day after I got the ticket I registered my car and got an inspection sticker. I went to traffic court with my proof of inspection and registration. They told me they couldn't dismiss the ticket without proof that the car was legal. In other words they needed the old registration. I told them my registration was "way expired." The judge (or whatever he was) said that I could appeal, bring my old registration, a copy of the report saying that work was being done on the work (proving that I had reason to park my car on the street), and get a letter from the neighbor saying that he knew me and in retrospect realized that the car was not abandoned. He said he couldn't promise, but he thought that I had a good case.

    So, the question is, do I spend another 20 hours dealing with this, or do I pay the $301? Since it is not a moving violation it doesn't affect my insurance. Still, $301 is $301.

    If Eric has any advice, I'd love to hear it. His site is very impressive.
    If the judge thinks you have reasonable grounds for appeal I would take that as a good pointer. If it only costs an extra $20 if judgement goes the wrong way, but saves $310 if it goes in your favour, then I would get all the paperwork, good suit and smart tie and appeal.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  3. #3
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    A lot depends on the costs and how your friend feels. If he feels wronged and wants to fight it, then he should continue to fight this in court. If your friend is looking at this as a cost issue, he needs to factor in lost pay. Since going to court usually means time off work. He may lose more pay or vacation time fighting this than the $301 cost of the ticket.

    My recommendatiion in the future is that your friend get a good outdoor custom fit car cover (they are less than $200.00 and last years). If he had a car cover on his car in the street, his neighbor would never have thought it to be a stolen car, and it would have probably never gotten ticketed since the plates would have been covered. For some reason people see a car cover on a car they think it's a classic car or a well taken care of car.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters View Post
    A friend recently got a $301 "abandoned vehicle" ticket in November. He wrote to me about the details, below; do you have any advice? I think he should fight it b/c it is such an expensive ticket and b/c the judge said he could appeal. What do you think? (gotta love his neighbor...ahem.) Here's his story:

    Context: My car, which I usually parked in the driveway because it had an expired out-of-state registration, was parked on the street for a week because workers were remediating for lead. My neighbor called the cops, thinking it was a stolen care (because he'd never seen it before), and they gave me the ticket.

    My bad: I never registered my car in Pennsylvania because I was lazy and drove it about 2 miles a month. I maintained insurance and regular maintenance on the car - I also kept it off the street.

    Not my bad: my neighbor is apparently an ex-detective with the Philly police. Apparently he "keeps an eye" on the street as a favor to the neighbors (the neighbors corroborate and are very grateful). I was intending on registering it once the semester ended (two weeks later).

    What happened next: The day after I got the ticket I registered my car and got an inspection sticker. I went to traffic court with my proof of inspection and registration. They told me they couldn't dismiss the ticket without proof that the car was legal. In other words they needed the old registration. I told them my registration was "way expired." The judge (or whatever he was) said that I could appeal, bring my old registration, a copy of the report saying that work was being done on the work (proving that I had reason to park my car on the street), and get a letter from the neighbor saying that he knew me and in retrospect realized that the car was not abandoned. He said he couldn't promise, but he thought that I had a good case.

    So, the question is, do I spend another 20 hours dealing with this, or do I pay the $301? Since it is not a moving violation it doesn't affect my insurance. Still, $301 is $301.

    If Eric has any advice, I'd love to hear it. His site is very impressive.
    They, unfortunately, pretty much have you by the balls. (This is one of the many reasons to hate suburbia and "helpful neighbors.")

    I agree with Pete. It comes down to how much is your time worth (plus the aggravation) vs. the cost of the fine itself. It seems you can prove the car was neither abandoned nor stolen; however, there is still the matter of parking a car with a dead (or no) registration on the (public) road. In some areas, the filthy bastards can even get you if the unregistered/untagged vehicle is on your own property. Gotta love the government - and HOAs.

    That said, an appeal might be successful in that it's obvious you got screwed on a technicality - and they might lower or even drop the fine entirely. However, I would not count on it - especially these days. State and local governments are becoming much more aggressive about fines, as it's a way for them to get money without (explicitly) raising taxes.

    Good luck - and let us know what you end up doing...

  5. #5
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    Thank you for your thoughts!! I sent my friend an email with a link to this exact page and asked him to let me know how it turns out.

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