Common Reasons for Disputing a Ticket

Death of the Registrant

The death of the registrant prior to or within 90 days of the issuance of the ticket is a total defense to any ticket. You will need to submit the death certificate as proof.

Disabled Vehicle

If your vehicle suddenly became disabled and you were ticketed for parking it illegally, you may have a defense if you can prove the following:

  • The car suddenly became disabled.
  •  The car was thereafter expeditiously removed from the location.
If the car was parked illegally and then became disabled, this defense will not prevail.

Fixed Equipment

If your evidence can establish that the equipment violation was corrected within 24 hours of its discovery, the ticket may be dismissed. You may produce repair or purchase receipts as proof.

Broken Meter

You may prevail on a defense of a broken parking meter if you can prove that:

  • You attempted to purchase a parking meter receipt from the next nearest machine on the same block (you don’t have to go across the street) or within the same municipal lot.
  • You unsuccessfully tried to make the purchase with all methods of payment accepted by the machine (for example, coins, credit card, etcetera).

Fraudulent Registration

This defense is available if you neither registered the ticketed vehicle nor authorized anyone else to do so.

Temporary Registration

If you had a temporary registration, you may have a defense to an expired registration ticket if you can prove both of the following:

  • Your temporary registration was valid and displayed on the dashboard on the date of ticket issuance.
  • Your expired registration sticker was also properly displayed on your windshield.

Personal Service

This defense is available if the driver of the car ticketed was present and behind the wheel when the ticket was being issued and the issuer failed to identify the driver by name on the ticket.


You may be able to use this defense if you parked illegally in order to deal with a sudden unexpected medical emergency concerning a human being. Non-medical emergency situations may also qualify for this defense on a case-by-case basis. Corroborating evidence should be presented to strengthen your claim (for example, a police report, hospital records, etc.).

Please note that the urgent need to use the bathroom is not considered a medical emergency.

No Knowledge of the Summons

Never having received the summons is typically not a defense, since notices are also sent to the home of the registrant. Make sure your mailing address is current with the Department of Motor Vehicles. To receive a hearing on a summons in judgment, you will have to show a good cause for not answering it sooner.

Stolen Vehicle

If you have proof that the vehicle was stolen prior to ticket issuance and recovery of the car, you have a complete defense to any ticket. Evidence may include a police report, insurance cancellation documentation, witness statements, etc.

Transferred Vehicle

  • If you sold, gifted, or otherwise transferred the vehicle prior to the ticket issuance, you have a complete defense to any ticket.

  • Evidence may include DMV plate transfer or surrender documentation, cancelled or transferred insurance documentation, or documentation showing that the vehicle was registered to another party.

  • Be sure to remove your registration sticker when you transfer your car.

Lost or Stolen Plates

For a missing plate violation, you may have a defense if your plate was stolen or lost prior to the ticket issuance and:

  • You expeditiously reported the theft or loss to the police.
  • You immediately replaced the registration plates and stickers. 
Retain all of your documentation in case you need it as evidence—for example, police reports, DMV documentation, etc.


If the sign you are cited for violating was missing, illegible, ambiguous, or wrongly stated, you may have a defense. Evidence may include clear photos of the entire side of the block where you were ticketed, from corner to corner, and photos of the front and back of all the signs located on the side of the street where you were ticketed.

Repeat Summons

This defense may be available to dismiss a duplicate ticket if you received multiple tickets for the same violation. The following conditions must apply:

  • The duplicate ticket was issued on the same day, for the same violation, at the same location, within three hours of the first ticket. You can receive a similar ticket every three hours.
  • Where multiple tickets were issued for status violations (registration or inspection), the repeat summons must have been issued on the same date as the first ticket. You can only receive one similar ticket per day—but note that you may receive more than one in a twenty-four hour period.