Parking Ticket from Hell, Anyone?

Photo courtesy of
‘Only in DC’
courtesy of ‘thetejon’

Last winter, I got in the mail a love letter from DC Division of Motor Vehicles. It said that because I hadn’t paid a parking ticket, the fine had automatically doubled and I owed them $50.

This was news to me for two reasons. One, my parking was paid up for an hour past the time they say they wrote the ticket, and I still have the receipt to prove it. Two, they hadn’t left me a ticket.

So I sent Adjudication this pertinent info, and the receipt, and asked that they write me when they dropped the matter. I know they got it, because they quickly sent me a form letter saying they’d review it and respond, maybe up to six months later (they must be very busy over there).

That was all I heard. Until this week’s letter, which says that I did not respond at all, thereby deeming admission of the crime, and that if I don’t fork over the money within 10 days, they’ll send me to collections.

SERIOUSLY, people?!??

I can’t tell if this is a scam, or if they’re just that screwed up. Readers, what do you think? Are they crooked, or inept? And has this happened to you?

An area resident since 1997, Donna C. is a DC outsider. When she’s not running her writing and Web business, she’s running around the city, exploring the great outdoors, or trying to figure out how best to go green. See why she loves DC.

23 thoughts on “Parking Ticket from Hell, Anyone?

  1. They’re inept. Or, at least, the system has gotten screwed up.

    Write and call them this time; get an actual person involved in this. Retain all originals of the important information. If it gets really bad (ie: they send a collections notice) consider calling your council member’s office for help. That’s what elected officials are there for, to help their constituents navigate the government’s bureaucracy.

  2. The time lag sounds typical. I got a ticket in July of 2009 for an expired (but not really) tag. When I sent in my documentation I got the same form letter.

    Almost six months later to the day I got notification that they’d finally reviewed it and agreed with me, invalidating the ticket. You’re now making me wish I hadn’t eventually thrown that away. If I come out to find a boot on my car I’ll know I made a mistake…

  3. I disputed my parking ticket by mailing in the docs and received a letter shortly thereafter with a statement indicating the same six month time span for a decision to be made.

    Almost exactly six months later I received another letter saying the fine was dropped. I guess that’s how it works on days when they’re less inept.

  4. This past summer I got a notice in the mail of an overdue parking ticket (from street cleaning) and I had never received the original either. What I found particarly frustrating is that I have a motorcycle, so there is no windshield wiper to put the ticket on, so I highly doubt the meter maid ever secured the ticket to my bike since there really is not a way to do that. I contacted my council member Jack Evans who was very helpful actually. I suggest you do the same, especially if your council member is Jack Evans

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  6. Something similar happened to me, but it was with a speeding violation – not my car, not my tags (inept!), not my area of town, and I wasn’t even IN town that day. I wrote them, and had the same reponse from adjudication as you and others here. They did quickly deem the ticket incorrect on their part. That’s my shockingly simple experience with them.

    Mary Cheh’s office for Ward 3 is also very helpful. Give them a try, too.

  7. I had a similar problem, except a few areas tha made the whole thing shady. I received a ticket for a part of town that I have NEVER been to. What made it better was that they said I was delinquent on the first ticket (never received this) and that I had to pay the double-fine for ignoring the first ticket.

    I park my car in a secured, off-street parking lot at my apartment building. My car usually is there all of the time. I wrote them stating this, work time sheets, metro benefits emails, etc…

    I won’t go poor from the $60. What I was upset about was that they were targeting me (a person with a clean, great record) to give me a ticket I did not deserve.

    The system is corrupt and something needs to be done about it. I received a letter back from adjudication services saying I still needed to pay the fine, but that they took the second “late fee” off. Gee, thanks. I paid the $30, seeing as it wasn’t worth continuing to fight for.

    Make sure you check the DC DMV website by entering your tag number. I also had an outstanding ticket, from drumroll, 1999! I was 12 in 1999 and did not live in DC. I promptly called AND emailed, and finally received a live person to help clear that situation. They resolved this.

    That’s my experience!

    Don’t even get me started on the speed cameras… Grr!

  8. Can you send me your email and contact info? I will have someone from DMV follow-up with you to resolve the issue.

  9. Almost the exact same thing happened to a friend of mine. She just paid because she didn’t have the time to fight them in court. Maybe that was their plan all along.

  10. So many stories! I’m sorry to hear I have so much company, though not surprised…really amazing, isn’t it, folks?? Thanks for sharing – you’re the best.

    And DC, I will be in touch with you! Many thanks for the offer.

  11. I’m still waiting for my $250 snow lane violation from December to be reviewed. They sent me a letter in April that my ticket would not be dismissed but I could appeal to a committee. Aug already and still no word.

  12. Hi Donna, I have the exact same problem. I paid for my parking ticket, it was displayed in the car dashboard and I got slapped with a ticket for not displaying. I have receipts and a letter from DMV saying that they got my info. Please help!

  13. Priya, that’s just nuts. Looks like consensus here is to get hold of a real live person, at DMV or on the council.

    Best of luck to you – and to everyone! Let me know how it turns out.

  14. Oh my gosh, so glad to find this post and read all the comments. I just got a dc love letter in the mail for $300, also saying I ignored the first notice. Uh, what first notice??? This is a total scam. Hey are also saying I ran a red light, on a stree where I make a right turn only to go towork. What is up with that?? I’m leaning toward going to the hearing, becuase I don’t like the other option of mailing in to adjudication. That option forces you to waive your right to a hearing. Has anyone gone to the hearing and had success? Stuff like this makes me hate DC. They are totally out to get our money.

  15. I recommend going to adjudication in person. I’ve successfully fought tickets on two different occasions that way (one, maybe I was at fault; the other, I know I was innocent). Both were parking tickets. They seem to target out of state plates. Really sucks. When my parents were in town visiting this last time we had a valid parking permit for their car (from the police station) and they still ticketed us. So frustrating. I’ll go in and waste a good 1.5hrs or so of my day to make the trip and fight the ticket… but what else can I do? I don’t trust the written adjudication.

  16. Hi there, I am from NYC and we visited my cousin in DC this summer. I took a lot of ribbing from my family for driving slow. So I allowed my sister to drive to church on Sunday. On saturday I reeived a ticket from DC DMV letting me know I failed to answer to a speeding ticket that they sent in AUGUST. So now I apparently owe $250. Sine the picture was taken on Sunday she is responsible for paying the $125 but I don’t think she should pay $250 because we never received the first letter. I am at a loss of what to do at this point. This totally sounds like a scam to get people to pay more money. Does anyone have any suggestions that will not require me to deback down to DC for some type of hearing.


  17. Irene, I’m sorry to hear it. This sounds similar to what happened to me, and I’ve heard of other people who’ve had similar incidents with speeding tickets and initial notices not received.

    Based on all the comments here, it sounds like in-person is best, but in your case, at least try to call and get someone on the phone. And get the person’s name, and get them to follow up in writing.

    For me, this blog post did the trick, and my ticket that shouldn’t have been was dismissed. Otherwise, I would have shown up in person, too.

    Best of luck! Let us know how it turns out.

  18. Hi Donna: Thanks for the quick response. It is amazing how the logosphere can be more helpful than the city system itself. I have tried calling the DMV to follow-up and get some advice as to how I should move forward. I unfortunately, got tangled in the web of an automated system and spoke to absolutely no one. I just can’t imagine having to go all the way back to DC to fight this ticket.

    I really feel like this is some type of scam. very frustrating. if you have any advice as to a number or e-mail address of someone at the DMV that I could call I would greatly appreciate it.


  19. It seems that our Nation’s Capitol is raking in the bucks on innocent by standers. I parked in a Federal parking garage yesterday. Paid the attendent $10 for parking. He informed me that the lot was full but still admitted me (even gave him a handsome tip for admitting me). The only empty spaces were those for property managers (which there were several vacant ones) so I parked in one of them. When I returned to my car, the parking garage had called the DC Parking Enforcement and I had a $250 ticket on my window. Can I fight this and if so how? I still have the receipt from the parking garage.

  20. My husband received notice of an “unsatisfied parking ticket” about a month after our visit to DC to visit our daughter. We checked carefully for tickets as we were warned that they might give us one even though we were displaying a valid visitor’s parking permit. There was no ticket on the vehicle. Since we “failed to answer, with 30 day of the date(s) of issuance” we now owe twice as much for the ticket that we have never seen. According to the notice, the ticket was issued for a GMC.We were driving a Ford. We tried to call the number given on the notice for questions. It reroutes the call several times then hangs up. I then tried to submit a copy of the registration online and the page from the police department log showing that we had a valid parking permit. I had not attached any documentation when I hit that back button to be sure I had the info on the first screen in correctly. When I tried to complete the form, it says now that it has already been submitted! At no time did I tell it to submit! YES THIS IS DEFINITELY A RACKET!

  21. I see Andrew plans to try to fight his parents’ ticket. Can that be done? From my reading it must be the person to whom the vehicle is registered or Andrew would need to have power of attorney to contest a ticket. I really hate to ask my daughter to contest a ticket for us, especially if it would require power of attorney to do so. But we seem to be in the same situation. We had the visitor’s pass, never received the ticket, and it’s for the wrong vehicle besides!

  22. OK i visit DC fron NY. I park in a timed zone and overstay by 8 min. Got a 50 parking ticket. OK I admit I am guilty. I pay the ticket.
    I go on line to check if ticket was removed from violation. Lo and behold I now show adifferent ticket “TAXI REFUSE PAY FARE” which makes no sense since I didnt drive use or gaze upon a taxi.
    Called them, played the old menu option game. Got a live person finally. She looked it up. Yessir, it was a clerical error, the officer typed in the wrong code. But to get rid of it I have to write a letter to adjudications and they and only they can fix the error.
    I sent requested letter. Two months later checked it Still there. Told “it shows under review”
    I thought NY was bad…….DC wins !!!