It’s a usual occurrence on the streets of NYC during rush hour: roads and intersections become obscenely congested with pedestrians and drivers trying to slowly navigate the crowded streets and make their way home. It is these moments where intersections not only become the most active and crowded spaces in the city, but also a prime location where drivers may be hit with a Blocking the Box ticket.
What is Blocking the box?
A long time ago, the city instituted the Blocking the Box law in an effort to help ease traffic and congestion especially during rush hour. Blocking the Box prohibits drivers from entering an intersection where there is not enough room to smoothly pass the crosswalk and proceed through the intersection without being forced to stop and therefore block the flow of traffic through the intersection. Watch out drivers, If you are caught blocking the box you will be given a summons with a side of a hefty fine.
Is it a parking ticket or moving violation?
It’s both! However, it wasn’t always like that. For years, Blocking the Box violations were only considered moving violations which police gave to offending motorist and carried a maximum fine of $150 as well as 2 points on your license. However, in 2008 the status of blocking the box changed under the Bloomberg Administration and now has the dual status as both a moving violation and parking violation. This means that both police officers and traffic agents can penalize you for this offense. Traffic agents don’t even need to pull you over for them to hit you with a parking ticket, they merely need to witness you violating the law and enter in your license plate number into their system and soon a ticket of $115 dollars will be mailed right to your doorstep. Unlike infractions issued by police offices, a parking ticket for a blocking the box violation does not add points to your license and affect your car insurance rates. Still, we rather you not get hit with any fine, so be patient out there drivers!
You may not need a superstar lawyer to beat your next parking ticket. something as simple as wrong or missing information on your parking ticket can be the easiest way to dodge paying parking ticket fines and wasted time at the city finance center. Next time you get a parking ticket pay attention to the information that’s listed on it and keep these 3 errors in mind as you review it:
1. The ticket is not legible
With typing and texting becoming more prevalent in our daily lives, the art of handwriting is unfortunately fading away. On the bright-side, bad or illegible handwriting on your parking ticket can be a saving grace and invalidate the parking ticket you received!
2. The vehicle information/ physical description is wrong
Traffic officers must record the right information down on the parking ticket they issue. Details such as the vehicle color, body type, manufacturer, plate type (do you have normal or vanity plates?) must be correctly noted. Be sure to verify that your license plate number as well as the state of your registration was listed correctly (if at all) on your ticket. If you see any inconsistencies or flat out missing information about your vehicle on your ticket, you may be able to walk away scot-free!
3.The information about the time and place ticket was issued is wrong.
Make sure that the information about where and when you got your parking ticket is accurate. Did the issuing officer not specify whether you were parked in ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ the address in question? Did the officer issue the ticket in the wrong county? (You got a ticket in the Bronx but the ticket claims it was issued in Brooklyn) Are the days/times of a regulation in effect incorrectly or simply not specified at all on your ticket? Did the issuing officer claim the ticket was given at 8:30 pm when in fact it was issued at 8:30 am? Or is the date the officer noted on your ticket wrong or not even specified? If you answer yes to any of these questions, your parking ticket is likely to be invalid.
It’s no secret that many areas in NYC make it extremely difficult for people with disabilities to navigate . Unfortunately, in addition to the many apartment buildings and subway stops that have been poorly designed for people with certain needs, driving and parking with disabilities in NYC can be just as difficult. While many government and commercial buildings do provide off-street, reserved parking spaces for people with disabilities, the city does not designate or reserve any public parking spaces for drivers with disabilities. Unfortunately , this leaves a portion of NYC’s motorist vulnerable to getting hit with the soulless NYC parking ticket.
Parking Permit for Drivers with Disabilities
However, drivers with disabilities need not fret! The City does provide certain allowances especially if you obtain a Parking Permit for People with Disabilities. This permit allows the drivers with disabilities to park at all off-street designated parking spots as well as many curbsides on city streets. Thus, you may be able to park at all “No Parking” zones, “No Standing” zones, “Truck Loading Only” zones, or “Authorized Vehicles Only” parking spaces designated for diplomats, government agencies, doctors and press. You may also be able to park at metered parking without needing to paying.
Where can I not park?
This permit doesn’t grant you access to every parking spot in the city however, there are still restrictions on where you cant park. You can’t park in a “No Stopping” zone or in any “No Standing” zones other than the ones stated above (taxi stands, fire zones, driveways, etc). You also may not park at any bus stop, crosswalk, or within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. Also as always, double parking is always forbidden!
How to Apply?
In order to apply you will need to have your physician complete a certain portion of the application and you also must set up an appointment with a designated physician approved by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in order to certify your disability. You will need to provide any supporting medical documentation and reports, a valid copy of your Driver’s License or a Non-Driver’s Identification card and all copies of your vehicle registration. Once your application is complete send it to:
NYC Department of Transportation
Division of Traffic and Planning
28-11 Queens Plaza North 8th Fl
Long Island City, NY 11101
As we all know, New Yorkers are always on the go and sometimes get carried away with living life in the fast lane. This is especially true when we’re behind the wheel and approaching a traffic light. We’ve all witnessed it or even done it ourselves: a driver before reaching an intersection puts the pedal to the metal on a yellow traffic light and inevitably blows a red light. Running a red light is one of the most common moving violations in the city because of this. Every New York minute is precious but is our need for speed really worth the possible moving violation for running a red light or worse?
Penalties for Running a Red Light
The penalty for running a red light depends on whether or not you were caught by one of NYC’s many red light cameras or stopped in traffic by an officer. If you are caught running a red light by an officer, this offense is considered a traffic infraction and 3 points will be added to your license in addition to a fine you will receive. Fines are determined by the number of red light violations on your record:
$100-300 for the first offense
$200-$500 for the second offense in 18 months
$500-$1000 for the third offense in 18 months
You may also be subject to an increase in your car insurance premiums as insurance companies consider drivers with many red light infractions more likely to get into a car accident.
Getting caught on candid camera by one of the 200+ red light cameras found around the city is treated a little differently than getting stopped by an officer in traffic. A red light violation from a camera is treated almost like a parking ticket instead of a traffic infraction because it is more difficult for the city to prove who was actually driving. Still, the registered owner of the car is held responsible for the moving violation even if the owner wants the one running a red light and must pay a fine of $50 (plus $4 processing fee if you pay with a credit card). Unlike a traffic infraction, points will not be added to your licenses and the violation will not be reported to your car insurance company and cause an increase in your insurance premiums. However, if the registered owner fails to pay off the ticket, a default conviction with a $25 late fee will be imposed and the owner’s registration may eventually be placed on hold. So take a breather New Yorkers, running a red light may not be worth it and in the end can cost you more time and money!
Nowadays , it seems like everyone is attached at the hip to their cell phones. Between phone calls, text messages and Instagram, we can’t help but whip out those phones whenever we get the opportunity. But remember NYers, there’s definitely a time and place for you to use your phone and it should never be behind the wheel! Not only is it absolutely dangerous, using your phone while driving can also do damage to your pockets.
What’s the law?
Since May 31, 2013, NY state has enacted some of the harshest laws prohibiting cell phone use behind the wheel and is now as serious as a reckless driving misdemeanor or a passing school bus violation. NY state law states that “Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion.” An officer may stop you if you are observed “operating” or using a handheld device while your vehicle is in motion.”Using” is defined liberally so watch out for what you can or can’t do:
Operate a cell phone while a vehicle is parked and not in motion.
Take a call with a hands free device.
Hold a cell phone at or near your ear while taking or listening to a call when your car is in motion
Hold a cell phone to dial a number, text or do any other function while the vehicle is in motion.
Cell phone violations (which means talking without a hands-free set or texting while driving) carry a penalty of 5 points on your license. Remember if you get If you get 11 points in an 18-month period, your driver license may be suspended. In addition, receiving a cell phone moving violation can lead to an increase in your Insurance premiums and some pretty hefty fines that scale with each offense:
1st offense: $50 to $200
2nd offense committed within 18 months: $50 to $250
3rd or subsequent offense committed within 18 months: $50 to $450
So remember new yorkers, drive safely, be smart and never use your phone behind the wheel!
Parking Ticket Tip – If you park here between the hours listed above, you MUST feed the meter.
The “HOURLY PARKING” street sign means between that you can safely park your vehicle at that location. Please note however, that during a specific time period, (8am – 7pm in this case), you will need to put money in the meter and display a muni-meter receipt on your windshield.
The structure of the Hourly Parking Sign is as follows:
The #  in the top left corner tells you the maximum amount of time in hours you can pay for before renewing.
The [8am – 7pm] tells you that you only have to feed the meter during this time.
The [Except Sunday] means the rules don’t apply on a Sunday. You can park there all day without having to worry about receiving a muni-meter parking ticket.
So the city has accepted your request to have an in-person parking ticket hearing to dispute your parking ticket, but now what? Just like any important event or appointment, it’s always best to be prepared for your hearing and understand its procedures and requirements. A good lawyer wouldn’t walk into a courtroom without having a clear game plan and strong evidence to support their case and while a parking ticket isn’t as serious as a criminal case, you shouldn’t walk into your hearing without all the necessary documents and evidence to support your claim either! Please note, we covered in a previous article, the locations of the Business Centers across the city. Below are a couple things you should be sure to bring with you to your in-person hearing:
Bring evidence to support your plea of “Not Guilty,” such as:
Department of Motor Vehicles or insurance company reports
You must also bring your
Valid Driver’s License
Title or Rental Agreement
While it’s typical for the registered owner of a vehicle to dispute her or his own parking ticket, an eligible representative can also dispute a parking ticket on your behalf. If you decide to have an eligible representative dispute your parking ticket for you, make sure you provide them with all necessary documentation prior to your hearing. Remember folks, disputing a parking ticket may not be as stressful as getting one if you come prepared and have everything you need to support your claim!
Finding a parking ticket slapped under your windshield wiper is a sure fire way to ruin even a perfect day, but don’t fret New Yorkers! Just because you got a parking ticket doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t fight it and avoid having to pay a hefty fine. One of the easiest way to beat a ticket is to do so on a technicality. If you would rather to just pay it you can also visit our payment portal. Although traffic officers writing out the summons must enter all data correctly, errors can definitely turn up on your ticket.
Request An In-Person Hearing
If you believe that your parking ticket has incorrect information on it or is simply flat out wrong, you can choose to dispute it and request a hearing online, by mail, or in person at any Finance Business Center for a walk-in hearing. These hearings are on a first-come, first-served basis between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday with no appointment necessary. Hearings can be requested up to one year after the judgment date but it’s better to dispute the ticket within 30 days of receiving the violation as you can still be subject to late penalties after the 30th day. If the judge finds you guilty, you may have to pay the penalties. Once you have been granted a hearing, be sure to provide as much evidence and information that supports your dispute against the parking ticket. Don’t forget to bring a valid Driver’s License, your Vehicle registration and title or rental agreement.
Request an Online Hearing
If you choose to request an online hearing and have evidence you want the judge to consider (photographs of signs/street, documents, etc.) you must fill out and submit an online hearing request form. All evidence must be submitted at once since you may not have another opportunity to submit evidence after your hearing. If you are submitting evidence online, make sure you submit no more than 5MB of evidence to system as files that are larger than 5MB will not be accepted online. If this is the case, submit your hearing request and evidence by mail or in person at a Finance Business Center.
Request a Hearing by Mail
To have a hearing by mail, return the ticket with the reasons why you believe you are not guilty checked off on the back. Be sure to attach a letter explaining why your evidence and reasons support your dispute as well as copies of any evidence that you wish to present. If you are sending photographs of parking signs, include all signs on the side of the street where you received the ticket. Pictures must be of the entire block from corner to corner, with the front and back of signs. Include a picture of the street name. If you want show that the parking ticket has your registration information wrong, simply send or bring a copy of the registration with the correct information to your hearing. If you are sending or bringing a copy of a parking permit to your hearing, make sure the permit is good for the area where you were parked.
If you disputed the parking ticket online or by mail, the judge’s decision will be mailed to you. If you had an in-person hearing at a NYC Finance Business Center, you will receive the decision right away. If the decision asks you to provide additional evidence, be sure to follow the instructions and include your ticket number. Remember, you have the right to appeal a hearing decision within thirty days if you think the judge got it wrong too!
Although its always best to fight or pay off your parking ticket within 30 days, everyone knows that life doesn’t always work out the way we want. Whether you’re low on cash or just don’t have the time to pay, letting your parking violation collect dust in your desk drawer is perhaps the worst thing you can possibly do and might end up costing you thousands of dollars and countless headaches in the long run. Instead, take advantage of the parking violation payment plan provided by the NYC Department of Finance if it makes sense for you. You can start by checking if you have parking tickets on your vehicle by visiting this page.
Paying your NYC parking tickets with a payment plan can help relieve some of the financial strain associated with many parking violations and may help you avoid penalties and enforcement actions such as additional late fees, having your vehicle towed or added to the dreaded boot list. This payment plan allows you to pay off large fines in small payments over period of time. However, keep in mind that at the end of the day you may being paying more money. This is because interest will continue to be added to the balance of your fine until the total amount you owe is completely paid off. For example, if you owe $1,000 and you choose a 2-year payment plan with 9% interest, you will end up paying a total of more than $1,100.
Anyone can fill out the Payment Plan Request Form, however if you owe more than $10,000 in judgment debt, you will also need to fill out a Credit Application Form. Bring your completed form(s) to any Finance Business Center to enter into a payment agreement.
The New York City Department of Finance has a business finance center located in each borough. You can visit these centers to pay, dispute or inquire about your parking tickets. See below to locate your nearest NYC business finance center.
Manhattan Business Center
66 John Street
New York, NY 10038
Cross Street: William Street
Bronx Business Center 3030 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, Bronx, NY 10455
Cross Street: 156th Street
Brooklyn Business Center Brooklyn Municipal Building
210 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Cross Streets: Adams and Court Streets
Queens Business Center 144-06 94th Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11435
Cross Street: Sutphin Boulevard
Staten Island Business Center 350 St. Marks Place
Staten Island, NY 10301
Cross Street: Hyatt Street (St. George)