12 INVESTIGATES: How to fight a bogus parking ticket

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Parking enforcement in downtown Richmond sometimes makes mistakes.

Several people in the city got bogus parking tickets for times that their car wasn't even in the downtown. This is what to expect if you decide to contest your ticket in court.

You can only contest parking tickets on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. Get ready to lose an hour or two of your day. The line is typically pretty long and you have to wait for your case to be called.

Not only do you need to find a spot to park your car downtown and --pay up.

It's a guessing game how long you'll be inside the John Marshall Courthouse.

You have to pass through security not once, but twice.

"There was a second pat down when we got to the courtroom and I'm thinking what's the point of this, like I don't even have to go through this much security to get on an airplane," said Trevor Dickerson. He recently went to court. He was parked in a two hour zone for 45 minutes and still got a ticket.

"People could say hey that's a little petty, it's a 20 dollar parking ticket, but I think it's the principal," said Dickerson.

The judge agreed and dismissed his ticket. Sharon Bishop also got ticketed for a time her car wasn't even downtown. Her ticket was also dismissed. But her biggest complaint about the experience?

"That they weren't concerned about figuring out why it had happened," said Bishop.

We staked out parking ticket court one afternoon in October. There were 44 cases. The judge listened to all manner of excuses. And in the end, more than half the parking tickets were dismissed. Only 30% were found guilty.

But even the people found guilty still got a break. Every single one had a portion of the fines or court costs reduced.

The judge also hinted that parking ticket court was going to busy for a while. She told the courtroom at one point, "They are strictly enforcing parking in the city right now."

Only about 4% of all the parking tickets issued in the city of Richmond last year were contested. That's about 5,500 tickets each year out of 124,000.

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