Parking Ticket from a city I've never been to
December 19, 2008 6:07 PM   Subscribe

Frustration filter.... I got a parking ticket from a city I've never been to... I got a notice from a collection agency for a parking ticket issued by Lynwood California. Lynwood California is at least 500 miles from my home and I've never been anywhere near there. I'm sending in my objection to the ticket, obviously, but I've got a few questions: 1. Could it be a simple problem of the cop writing the license plate number down wrong? 2. If not, how can I find out if this is some kind of fraudulent scheme? 3. Any suggestions for fighting the ticket? Thanks....
posted by bananafish to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get records from you bank, cell phone company, or anything else you can access that will show you were not in that town on that day/time.
posted by tiamat at 6:11 PM on December 19, 2008

I get an impossible ticket from Laguna Beach about every six months (I live in NorCal). They know me by name/fax now (from the many times I've successfully contested it). It is likely this is for a car that you do not own, or no longer own. If you call them and then send them proof that you were not there, do not live there, or do not own the car associated with the ticket, you should be fine. PITA though.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:15 PM on December 19, 2008

Did you sell a car with plates still on it, or throw out an old pair of plates into a dumpster?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:16 PM on December 19, 2008

The cop should have written down the plate number, make, and model of the car s/he was ticketing. If it's a matter of writing the plate number down wrong, the make and model will (almost certainly) not match -- in which case you should be able to clear it up with a phone call.
posted by winston at 6:28 PM on December 19, 2008

Response by poster: The ticket was issued in November 2007. I bought a car (which has different plates) in November 2007 and sold my old car in January 2008. Therefore I don't think that ticket could be a result of old tags in new hands...
posted by bananafish at 6:28 PM on December 19, 2008

Best answer: This happened to me...I actually received a notice that I was over 60 days late paying a ticket I had never received for a vehicle that had been in storage for the whole time. I simply called the number on the notice (this one was from LA)...and I said it wasn't mine...they said ok and purged it form my record. They told me the VIN number on the ticket and on the DMV database didn't match.

A couple days later I saw a story on the news about many people in NorCal that have been receiving tickets from the LA's almost like the LA cops are trying to scam people into a higher revenue.

hope this helps! :)

posted by AltReality at 7:54 PM on December 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

This used to be a regular scam in Detroit. The TV news even filmed cops doing it: writing tickets for legally parked cars and throwing the original away. Months later the car's owner would get a notice in the mail about his unpaid parking ticket. The City's hope was that most people wouldn't bother taking the day off work to go downtown and dispute the ticket and would just send the money instead.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:52 PM on December 19, 2008

These days the (at least here in Melbourne) the parking officers take a digital photo of the illegally parked car. Perhaps the same happens in Lynwood?
posted by mattoxic at 9:06 PM on December 19, 2008

Lynwood is a pretty sketchy place. Lots of gang activity in that area. Perhaps you are the victim of someone duplicating your plate number.
posted by cazoo at 10:27 PM on December 19, 2008

I'd get your vehicle registration and a witness to state that you were not there on that day. If you cannot go in, send an affidavit from the person. Find if the ticket matches your car.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:45 PM on December 19, 2008

This happened to me in New York - I got a parking ticket there about three months after I (and my car) moved away. In the end, it was far easier to send the city their blood money than to fight the ticket.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:33 AM on December 20, 2008

About once a year I get a ticket from another city - a delivery van there keeps on getting tickets - it's the simple misreading of "M' and "N" on the plate. Lucky they have a website that has a scan on the all the tickets - I find mine (from the ticket ref number), print it out, copy it back to them with a letter pointing out the typo (and the fact the vehicle colors don't match).

Seems to work.
posted by Xhris at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2008

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