How to Appeal a University Parking Citation

By Andrea Griffith - Updated June 16, 2017
Young woman looking frustrated by a parking citation

Depending on the university you go to, parking passes can be extremely high: UCLA summer parking passes can exceed $200; Oregon State University charges their students over $180 for an annual parking permit; and Western Michigan University students pay $300 just to park on campus. With outrageous parking permit costs, many students will park in any open spot, hoping that they get out of class before the campus police see their vehicle. If you see a ticket on your windshield after class, there may be a way out of the parking ticket: appealing the citation.

Read the citation before you even leave your parking spot. If you parked in an incorrect lot, parked on campus without a permit or you parked at a meter and went over the time limit, skip to Step 4. If your citation is that you parked too closely to a stop sign, fire hydrant, no parking area or that you double parked, go to Step 2.

Pull out your measuring tape – it's always a good idea to keep a measuring tape in your car – and measure the distance between your car and the fire hydrant, stop sign, city sidewalk or no parking zone. Most parking officers, campus or county, are not required to carry measuring tapes but trained to eyeball the distance between a car and a no parking zone themselves. This can always create human error. Measure the distance yourself and take a picture. Although laws vary from state to state, typically you cannot park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, two feet of a crosswalk and 30 feet of a stop sign.

Appeal immediately if possible. If you do not have any classes or activities after you've received your ticket, go to your campus parking services department or campus parking police office with your ticket. Although you may still have to pay a fine, if you go the day you got your ticket, many universities may have you pay only half of the fine.

Visit your university's campus police or parking services website. Almost every university allows students to appeal their citation online.

Fill out the complete citation appeal online. You will need your driver's license, license plate number, student ID number and parking citation to fill out the appeal.

Type why you are appealing the citation. Give a valid excuse (i.e. you were running late for a mid-term exam, you were sick and needed to get to a building quickly, the bike that you ride was recently stolen, etc.), but never lie as an attempt to get out of a ticket.

Upload any pictures that you've taken yourself if applicable. If you cannot upload the pictures onto the appeal form, skip to Step 8. Press "OK," or "Send" when you've completed the form.

Visit your campus parking services department or campus police the day of the citation if you have pictures but cannot upload them onto the appeals form or your school doesn't have an online appeals form. If your school doesn't have an online appeals form, those working at the services department or police station will be able to give you a written appeals form to fill out.

Tip

Spend the money on a parking permit. Although they can be pricey, they will certainly save you from parking tickets that may end up exceeding the cost of the permit. To save some money on both the tickets and permit costs, split a parking permit with a friend or two.

About the Author

Andrea Griffith has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published by the "Western Herald," Detroit WDIV, USAToday and other print, broadcast and online publications. Although she writes about a wide range of topics, her areas of expertise include fashion, beauty, technology and education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English from Western Michigan University.

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