Statistics show that even though only a small percentage of parking tickets in Australia are contested (it is about 10%), depending on in which Australian state or territory you are located your chances of successfully contesting a parking ticket could be almost 50%. It may be that only people with solid grounds bother contesting a parking ticket and that if more people contested them then the percentage of successful appellants would fall, but whichever way you look at it there are probably thousands of Australians every year who could successfully appeal their parking ticket but do not do so.
Is it easier to simply pay the parking ticket, rather than challenge it?
1. What if I see the parking ticket being issued?
Generally, once a parking ticket has been issued the person issuing the ticket cannot cancel it. There is no point arguing about it.
There are, however, other things you can do if a parking ticket is issued and you wish to challenge it.
2. What’s the first step?
If you receive a parking ticket and want to challenge it then do not pay it! If you pay it then you cannot later challenge it.
Generally, the first step if you want to contest it is to submit a form online or write a letter to the body that issued the ticket (generally a local council) explaining why you shouldn’t have to pay it. This is generally called an internal review.
Generally, the following information must be provided:
- name and address;
- infringement or penalty notice number;
- details of offence from infringement or penalty notice;
- vehicle registration details;
- an explanation of why the infringement or penalty notice should be reviewed;
- evidence to support your explanation (which may include photos that show the date and time when they were taken).
3. What’s the next step?
If an internal review is unsuccessful then you will need to determine whether to accept the parking ticket and pay it or take the matter to court.
In deciding whether to take the matter to court you will need to consider whether, given the time that it will take to challenge the parking ticket, it is worth it. Regardless of whether your challenge is successful or unsuccessful you will need to take time off work and you may incur additional costs if you are unsuccessful.
4. Why would you go to court?
There are many reasons why you may challenge a parking ticket in court, which include:
- invalid ticket due to an error in the date, time, location or vehicle registration details;
- you paid for parking or were not parked illegally and therefore did not commit an offence;
- faulty parking meter;
- unclear and/or obscured road signs or line markings;
- you have a valid parking permit that was displayed;
- penalty specified on the parking ticket exceeded the amount prescribed by law;
- medical emergency;
- your vehicle was broken down;
- your vehicle was taken without your consent (e.g. stolen);
- you were not the owner of the vehicle on the date of the offence.
5. If you go to court, do you need a lawyer?
Not necessarily. Many people find attending court a daunting experience and are therefore best represented by a lawyer with experience appearing in court. Generally, if you are properly represented by an experienced and qualified lawyer then this increases your prospects in achieving a better outcome.