Justice Has Prevailed

It couldn’t have taken more than two minutes before he said, “We’ll send you a check for the towing.”

Early in July Stef got a parking ticket. She was babysitting that day and didn’t see the “No Parking–Street Sweeping” sign. If you want to follow this story contemporaneously from the first day, click here to read all about it.

By the time she was done for the day her car was gone, towed to a local garage and held pending payment of $77. That was on top of the ticket.

Originally I was upset my daughter had been so cavalier not seeing a sign she surely should have noticed. But the more I looked into it and the more I saw the more I realized the deck had been stacked against her.

There had to be rules governing this sort of situation, so with the help of a friend who’s a lawyer I began to read up. I’m pretty confident right now I’m New Haven’s number one expert on no parking signs. The rules are actually well thought out and if followed wouldn’t have led Stef astray.

Today was my turn to convince the city they were wrong in their enforcement. My goal was a dismissal of the parking ticket and refunding of the towing fee–and that’s just what I got!

You might be saying (and I can understand why you would) you got off because you’re TV-boy. I have after all gotten everything from free desserts to a bump to first class by virtue of my job–absolutely. But today I’m pretty confident that didn’t enter into the equation. This was being argued on the merits.

My hearing was scheduled for 10:00 AM in Downtown New Haven. Helaine wanted to come to keep me from letting my temper get the better of me. My friend Peter came because he had a stake in it, having helped with my research.

We were there early–first to sign the sheet. We patiently waited. When the hearing officer came to fetch us (a few minutes early), there were only two others in the room. We were taken across the hall into a small conference room.

I don’t remember the hearing officer’s name, but he was very business-like. He wore some sort of law enforcement badge on his belt. In the room with us was a uniformed traffic officer. She said nothing.

I came with printouts of the applicable state rules and photos from the scene. It had the potential to be Alice’s Restaurant II.

The hearing officer asked me to present my ‘case,’ which I did. Did he want me to quote the actual regulations, I asked? No, he knew what I was talking about.

It couldn’t have taken more than two minutes before he said, “We’ll send you a check for the towing.” And then he proceeded to tell me why he thought the sign had been incorrectly placed.

I’m pretty lucky. I was able to attend this hearing without missing work. That gives me a major advantage over many others who have to pay regardless of the circumstances. And I was looking forward to the hearing as a personal challenge. There’s probably some deep seated sickness at work with that.

That’s it. All done. Justice has prevailed.

Hold Your Calls, We Have A Winner

I’ll write more later, but the Traffic Department hearing officer ruled in my favor this morning and our tow charges will be refunded and the ticket withdrawn.


Making My Case – Step One

If the law is followed we’ll be getting back the tow money and the ticket will be quashed… if the law is followed.

I took a ride to the scene of Stef’s ‘ticket and tow.’ Sure enough, the signs are out of compliance! I took some photos (and will post them later). If the law is followed we’ll be getting back the tow money and the ticket will be quashed… if the law is followed.

I drove to work and walked the block and a half to 200 Orange Street, where New Haven’s Department of Traffic and Parking fills part of the basement. They could not have been nicer. I filled out a form: “Request for Review Parking Violation/Towing” and handed it over the counter. In the “Nature of Complaint” box I wrote:

No parking sign does not comply with state regulation 14-28-514. It is approx 5′ tall & hidden by bushes. Next sign on block is blank on side in view.

“Six to eight weeks,” I was told. Hmmmm… I was only given fifteen days. Whatever.

A department functionary looks at it first. If they don’t kill my ticket I can see a hearing officer.

OK–this is too much fun for me. I admit it. It’s a game I like to play.