What to do if you get a parking fine
Getting a parking fine isn’t ideal, and is sometimes unfair – but it isn’t something that should be ignored!
There are over 70 reasons why you can get a parking ticket. If you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), then you you have two options: the first is to pay the fine, and the second is to challenge it.
Parking fines are given by local councils, traffic wardens, those who are employed by the police, or parking attendants, and can be paid online. However, paying and challenging parking tickets in Northern Ireland and Scotland is different.
Paying the fine
If you pay your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) within 14 days (or 21 days if it was posted to you), then you will only have to pay 50% if the fine; meaning that a £70 fine will drop to £35.
However, if you pay outside of this period, then you will have to pay the full amount: the full £70. After 28 days of the fine being issued, a Notice Owner is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle to remind them to pay the fine.
After 56 days from the date of issue, the council can increase the fine by 50%; raising the £70 fine to £105. If you don’t pay this within 14 days, you will get a court order demanding the payment.
If you get a fixed penalty notice, you can also pay online. These come from the police, local council, or the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). You can get an FPN for speeding, minor motoring offences, or leaving your vehicle in a dangerous location – all of which can end up with you getting penalty points on your licence. If you don’t pay these within 28 days, you may be prosecuted, and you may have to pay a bigger fine as well as court costs.
So, if you are not challenging the fine (and want to save money), pay the fine early.
Challenging a parking fine
Did you know that 2/3 of parking tickets get overturned after an appeal?
To challenge a fine, you need to informally appeal by writing to your council and explaining why you believe your ticket was wrongfully given to you. If you have any evidence which could help your case, include these as well. Your early discount period of 14 days (or 21) is normally frozen while your appeal is ongoing.
If your informal appeal is rejected, you will have the option to formally appeal. The council who you initially appealed to will tell you how to do this.
If your formal appeal is denied, then the owner of the vehicle will receive a “notice to owner” to pay the original full fine. However, you can also appeal to independent adjudicators which differ for each part of the country. London is covered by PATAS, while Wales and the rest of England is covered by Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Northern Ireland have their own Traffic Penalty Tribunal, and Scotland have Scottish Parking Appeals Service.
If you are on private land, tickets issued in England and Wales will go through Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) – however the car park must be registered under the British Parking Association (BPA) or the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS). Northern Ireland and Scotland don’t have an appeals process. The appeal must be logged within 30 days of receiving the ticket.
Overall, the best thing you can do is avoid getting a parking ticket in the first place. Make a conscious decision to check where you’re parking, dropping people off, or picking others up. Remember: just because a traffic warden isn’t around, that doesn’t mean that cameras won’t catch you. It’s better be safe than sorry.