Department of Parking and Traffic Complaint - Receiving an unjustified $250 citation

Review by Trudijane on 2006-09-19
CALIFORNIA -- If anyone can help me, I would appreciate it.

I go to Starbucks a lot in an area where it's hard to find a parking spot, but I have I thing about looking for a legitimate spot for as long as it takes because I do not want to throw my disability money away to the City.

I recently parked caddy-corner from the Cafe, where there was a "ramp" as there is on every corner. There was also red marking where you can't park in. Before I parked there, I actually measure the distance between my car and the ramp and it was 4 ft. Why did I do this? Because, 10 years ago, in the Marina at midnight, I got a similar ticket where I was NOT blocking any ramp and in 5 minutes I got that $250 ticket. I learned then that you can't just stay out of the red, but you cannot park within 3 ft from the ramp (see handbook) and I was about that distance.

I fought it way up to a judge in a court because it was a bogus ticket and SO much. But, I lost. I was furious. So from that day on, when I park anywhere near a ramp, I make absolutely sure that I am not breaking the law, including distance from any ramp.

When I got out of Starbucks recently, there was a ticket on my car and I could not imagine what it was for. Sure enough, it was one of those same tickets I got 10 years ago, still $250.

I always have my cell phone since I'm into photography and I took a 10 pictures of that car from all angles. Then I went back into Starbucks to see if someone would look at my car. Unfortunately, people don't like to become involved in being witnesses sometimes (I would have), but there was a meeting of SFPD officers in the back room of Starbucks and they told me I could go in there and ask if one of them gave me that ticket.

I was so furious and knew I was in the right, that I entered a room full of SFPD Officers and asked. They told me that none of them issued that ticket, that if it was computerized it came from the Dept. of Parking and Traffic accompaying by some profanities. They told me to take pictures and dispute it. I wanted one of them to look at my car but they were in a meeting with the Captain, etc.

So far, I sent in all the pictures, a letter, and that I was legitimately parked because I was. It was as if a law enforcement officer lied about my being legally parked, seriously. If I get a ticket that's justified, I pay it. This was a lie.

I got a letter back saying that they had an "administrative review" and determined that I deserved the ticket and directions as to what to do next. What exactly was discussed at the administrative review. The picturres clearly show h ow far away I was from any ramp and my bumper cleared the red completely and more.
Comments:20 Replies - Latest reply on 2006-09-22
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-19:
Sorry but I think you will have to take it to court and in San Francisco you will probably loose because they make to much there off of tickets. You might win if you get a lawyer, but your going to pay the lawyer or your going to pay the court, sorry. But GOOD LUCK...
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-19:
Can you go to traffic court and contest it there personally? I have heard of folks having good luck with at least getting the cost of the fine down. good luck to you
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-19:
Here in Denver you can negotiate with the magistrate or parking ticket referee. Don't they have Starbucks on every corner like they do out here? Drive thrus? I hear that they have the "Denver Boot" out there so watch out.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-19:
What ramp were you blocking, I hope it was not one of the handicap ramps to the sidewalk, if so you deserved the ticket plus probably more.
Posted by Skye on 2006-09-19:
Disability???? You sound very healthy to me. I am not trying to be nasty, but I know some people who have major health issues, worked forever and need their SSDI, and cannot get it. You must make a good amount of disability money to have a cell phone. To me, cell phones are a luxury, not a necessity. You had so much time to spend measuring for a spot, taking pictures, getting things for you case, why aren't you working???
Posted by Skye on 2006-09-19:
Or did you throw the "disability" income part in, for sympathy???? Starbucks is not cheap, so you seem to be enjoying the fruits of your money. And as dd said, if you were blocking a handicapped ramp, shame on you.
Posted by spiderman2 on 2006-09-19:
Everyone clap for Trudi
"I have I thing about looking for a legitimate spot for as long as it takes because I do not want to throw my disability money away to the City." She looks for legal parking....just like the rest of us who don't want to pay parking fines. woo hoo!
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-19:
"They told me that none of them issued that ticket, that if it was computerized it came from the Dept. of Parking and Traffic accompaying by some profanities."

OK, so was the actual ticket accompanied by some profanities? Or, was it the SFPD officers?
Posted by Trudijane on 2006-09-19:
Some of you are pathetic but that's besides the point. I AM on disability, after having back surgery. Having AM coffee is the only thing I do that's fun in my life and doesn't hurt right now. So, for those berating that, you are comparing apples and oranges.

I told you, I was NOT blocking anything. I have the photos and a witness from Starbucks that will back me up. Ad Skye, you indeed ARE trying to be nasty, why deny it; you're a nasty person.

The SFPD backed me up as well when they saw how I was parked and felt it was ridiculous that I would receive a ticket as I was far from blocking any ramp (yes a handicap ramp).

I will dispute it with all the witnesses and pictures, out of principle more than anything else. That ticket was a farce, as if they had to go looking for just one more ticket. This is not about my disability or how rich or poor I am. I'm talking about a ticket here, but there I am aware there will always be some in a crowd that will latch onto every opportunity to be nasty, rude, and insulting w/o even knowing why the disability was about. BTW, I bought the digital camera (not phone, stupid) on E-bay for $25. And it's the highlight of my day to have a cup of coffee in the morning and talk to a person. Some of you would make good meter maids.

In any event. I have what I have, and intend to show them my disability papers in the hopes that at least they will reduce a very, very unjust ticket for "anyone."
Posted by Trudijane on 2006-09-19:
PS. Lidman, I think you are right. It's unfair, as are some of the responses in reaction to this, but life is unfair and I already know that. But at least I'm going to try. The Department of Parking and Traffic are well known for their bogus tickets. I have proof that I was 4 ft + away from any ramps. Now, go read the DMV handbook and read the law.
Posted by S on 2006-09-19:
I've seen folks at my work become victims of false ticketing by the city on numerous occassions. One girl received a ticket in the mail saying she was parked too long at the airport while picking someone up. She claimed she never even stopped but to load their luggage. She got the ticket in the mail 2 weeks AFTER the last date to dispute. The ticket had barely any contact info on it, only the address to the city's REVENUE DEPARTMENT! That says it all right there!
Posted by spiderman2 on 2006-09-19:
In your original letter you state no one from Starbucks would come out and look at your car and the police officers that were having meeting there didn't care and were profane. Then in your reply you state you have a witness from Starbucks and the police officers in starbucks say you are right.....which one is it???
Posted by D. on 2006-09-19:
Trudi...You might also want to check into getting a handicap tag for your car if you are disabled. It's always good to have a camera with you when you're out, even if it's just a disposable one in case of an emergency or accident...and you did right by getting pics...but don't be surprised if they question whether you moved your car and then took the pic...they will come up with anything to try and prove you're guilty, so just prepare yourself, cause I have a sneaky feeling that will come up...too bad at least ONE of them couldn't have been a witness for you...good luck.
Posted by Trudijane on 2006-09-20:
Spiderman, why do you feel the need to challenge me? This isn't the issue but it seems to be yours. But I'll gladly answer your question. People at Starbucks have a job to do, it was busy, and noone could at that time leave their posts and look at the car, altho they could certainly see it from the store and from that perspective they were witnesses. And as for the police meeting, I was nervous enough to knock on the door of 6 SFPD and ask if any of them gave me a ticket and altho one of the policeman expressed negativity about the DPT, I was too nervous and didn't think to ask him to come out with me to me car OR write me a note. Now, it's something I wish I had done. The police officers were having a meeting and just expressed their feelings about the DPT. I never said they specifically left their meeting to look at my car and I didn't ask them to. In any event, not guilty.

And Debtor Basher,

I thought through about the pictures and yes they could easily say that, how do we know you didn't move the car and take pictures. They don't, but how can they show that I parked the way they said I did. I know of too may people who have got burnt by the DPT where they even got a ticket for blocking the driveway of their own house - twice!!! And they took pictures which were ignored. Of their own house! You gave useful advice. As I said before, imagine walking into a meeting full of police officers, and asking them this - I got so nervous, that I didn't want to bother them by asking them to come to my car. They are a total different entity than the DPT. I wish I had. Nevertheless, I'm disputing it out of principle because the pictures were taken right away, they are valid and I am NOT GUILTY. I've also seen other cars there that had tickets on there - same spot - I feel sorry for them. If I see another, I'm going to put a note on their car and ask them if we could dispute the ticket together. I don't expect to win, but if you don't try, what's the use. I pay the tickets that are valid and am not to happy about it, but there is no excuse for not paying them. This one was outrageous. I've been thinking along the same lines as you though. Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts on this.
Posted by Frenchie on 2006-09-20:
I don't know when you have to appear in court, or if you send in a challenge to summons. Go to the municipality (or county library) and ask for a copy of the ordinance under which the summons was issued. It might cost a few dollars (you don't have to tell them what you want it for) say it is for a friend, or you want to settle an argument with a friend. Read the ordinance (I won't go into if it was passed properly or not --too much legalize) and see what it defines as to distance away from ramp (red zone) or what. Get all your facts and write them down logically. If you have to go to court the officer has to be there and present why he gave you the ticket. You can question him as to how far away you were, how did he measure the distance. Ask him what the distance is (don't tell him you have a copy of the ordinance) for he might not know exactly. If you honestly believe you are correct you can fight and win, but you have to have the facts together, never go into court without everything written on paper to refer to. You could prior to court, write a letter to the court for dismissal based upon the fact you were more than x many feet away. Was a sign posted etc. Too much to go into, but I have beaten many tickets (summons). Not sure on Calif law, and your municipal ordinance. If you can write on here exactly what the summons states (keep out names) and maybe I can tell you more. Good luck if you are being sincere.
Posted by Skye on 2006-09-20:
Oh now, you have hurt my feelings. No wait, I am so nasty, I do not have any feelings. Please.....I do not have any sympathy for you, and those like you who abuse the system. And for I have horror stories to share about my own back surgeries. I am in Chronic pain management, and will be for the rest of my life. I suffer everyday, but have a job and suffer everyday I work, but didn't take the SSDI route, because my career of helping animals, and the love I have for them, keep me going. You bore me.
Posted by Trudijane on 2006-09-20:
I do not abuse the system, and expect to go back to work in 6 months. Meanwhile, I volunteer for the SF/SPCA, PAWS, Little Brothers, and am a local catsitter which I am still able to do in the Bay Area. y sympathy for you, and those like you who abuse the system. I cannot help it if you are bitter or come across that way because you "suffer" every day. Try being nice, it alleviates the suffering. Your comment is so cliche and you don't know me. Don't assume you do.
Posted by Skye on 2006-09-21:
I am nice. And bitter, no, just sick of people like you.
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-09-21:
I'll vouch for Skye..
Posted by DORCAS on 2006-09-22:
I just gotta add to this one. I am permenantly disabled myself and will spend the rest of my life with a pain mngmnt doctor. But I own a cell phone and I find it a necessity. If I break down or need help then it is right at my fingertips. I don't own a phone that costs a fortune with all the bells and whistles but it works and I feel safe knowing it's there. So what? I'm not a poverty victim taking from welfare and living in a fine home with a fancy car. I must live on disability and don't feel as if I'm milking the system. I got myself injured trying to protect the public from a criminal and got beat down for it. I don't feel any price could be put on what I go thru everyday physically and at times mentally. But I can't work or I'd most likely get let go as I never know if my day will turn bad or if it's a good one. Not too many employers would be able to count on me. Instead I volunteer in my church's womens and childrens ministery and also help out with two grandchildren. I do what I can to keep a happy spirit and maintain a regular lifestyle.Going to a gym for healthy exercise and therapy and whatever else I can do to keep me from being a miserable couch lady. By golly I enjoy going to Starbucks with friends and having a social life instead of laying around on meds and feeling sorry for myself. Please don't stereotype everyone who is on disability or ssi. It's there for a reason and unfortunately since there are those that do abuse the system, the rest must pay the price.

Your Name:
(displayed with your comment)
Your E-mail:

Your Experience/Advice:
Check spelling

By clicking submit you agree that you have read and accept the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Note: All comments are reviewed by a moderator before being published. Please be sure to read our guidelines before commenting.