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Parking tickets and fines

The way a parking ticket fine is enforced depends on who has issued it, and we've detailed the best steps for your situation.

Parking fines and other penalties – and how to get help paying for them

Different types of parking fines or penalties for other traffic offences can be issued by the Police or local council. The way the fine is enforced depends on who has issued it.

You need to pay the amount asked for using the details on the notice. If you pay by a certain date, the amount you have to pay will be reduced. If you leave it longer, the amount due can be doubled.

Penalty charge notices (PCNs)

A PCN is usually fixed to a windscreen or handed to the driver but it can also be posted (posted includes a Notice to Owner).

If a payment is not made, the Local Authority will send a “Notice to Owner” with further information.

A PCN is not a criminal offence and you can’t be sent to prison for not paying them.

They’re dealt with through County Court.

There are strict time limits to appeal – reduced to 50% if paid within 14 days (21 days if enforcement was by camera). You have 28 days to pay.

There are numerous grounds for appeal to your local council, which include:

  • Contravention didn’t happen
  • Penalty charge exceeds the applicable amount
  • The Traffic Regulation Order contravened is invalid
  • The Council didn’t follow the correct process
  • If PCN served by post, the Enforcement Officer hadn’t been prevented from attaching to the vehicle or handing it to the driver at the time
  • The person didn’t own the vehicle at the time of the contravention
  • The vehicle was under hire at the time and the driver had signed to admit liability for any PCN during the period of hire
  • The vehicle had been taken without the owner’s consent
  • The penalty has already been paid

Fixed Penalty Charges (FPNs)

FPNs are are issued by the police or a traffic warden. They’re a parking offence and treated as priority debt

They are dealt with through Magistrates Court if not paid. Magistrates Court fines are criminal so could lead to imprisonment.

Penalty Charge Notices (PCN)

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a civil parking penalty issued by the local authority for parking on public land, as opposed to a Parking Charge Notice which is issued by a private company for parking on private land.

Appealing against a parking ticket if someone else was driving

If someone borrowed your car

  • The person you lent your car to is responsible for the parking ticket if it’s a Parking Charge Notice (from a landowner or parking company) or a Fixed Penalty Notice (from the Police or Transport NI)
  • They’re responsible even if you regularly share your car with them

If a Parking Charge Notice is sent to you

  • Contact the company you’ve received this from and give them the full name and address of the person who was driving
  • Their contact details will be on the notice you receive
  • Write down the name of the person you speak to – as well as the date and time of the call, just in case you need to refer back to it later
  • If you send a written response to the company, if you can, use recorded delivery so that it needs to be signed for at the other end (proof of delivery)
  • The parking company must cancel the ticket in your name if you’ve sent them the full name and address of the person who was driving – they will then issue the notice to that person as part of a ‘transfer of liability’
  • You don’t have to give the driver’s name to the parking company, and you can choose to pay the ticket yourself – however, the person who was driving is responsible and should pay the parking ticket

If a Fixed Penalty Notice is sent to you

  • This will be sent with a letter known as a ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’. If you ignore the ticket, you could be taken to court.
  • Get in touch with the authority that sent you the notice with the full name/address details of the person who was driving
  • They must then cancel the ticket and send one to the person responsible instead
  • Get in touch with your nearest Citizens Advice if you need further legal advice – or if the ticket isn’t cancelled

If it’s a Penalty or Excess Charge Notice

  • As the registered keeper of the vehicle, you’re responsible for paying this type of notice – even though you weren’t driving at the time
  • You can ask the person who was driving at the time to pay, but bear in mind they might refuse to
  • Establish whether they’re willing to pay as quickly as possible because if they won’t and you end up having to, you can often get a discount for paying early (usually 50% if you pay within 14 days)
  • If you don’t pay, and ignore the fine, you could be taken to court – and have to pay court costs on top of the fine too

If your car was stolen or your licence plate was copied (‘car cloning’)

  • You should appeal this – as you’re not responsible
  • Look for the contact details of the company the letter was sent from, and write to them explaining that your car was stolen/cloned when the offence took place
  • This may be the first time you find out your licence plate has been cloned – report this to the police and the DVLA straight away
  • The police will give you a Crime Reference Number which you can include in your appeal
  • Once it’s proven you weren’t driving, the notice against you must be cancelled.

If you’ve recently purchased (or sold) your car

  • If you’ve just got a new car, it might be that the previous owner was parked incorrectly – but as a result, as the new registered keeper, you’ve received a parking ticket in the post
  • Look for the contact details of the company issuing the ticket on the letter you receive and write to them to explain the situation including details such as the date you bought the car, the full name/address of the previous owner/company that sold you the car, a copy of the DVLA Registration Certification (V5C) and a copy of the receipt/invoice from when you bought the car (if you have it)
  • Once you’ve provided this, the fine will be issued to the person driving at the time through a ‘transfer of liability’
  • This also works in the instance that you recently sold your car – follow the same process as outlined above explaining the situation and providing the necessary information

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