Golden: Study Finds New Yorkers More Likely To Beat Parking Violations If Plead Not Guilty In Person

Martin J. Golden

February 28, 2006

Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) today announced the findings of a study conducted at his request by the New York City Independent Budget Office finding that New Yorkers are more likely to be found not guilty for parking violations when they appeal in person as opposed to by mail.

The survey results show a significant difference in outcomes between in-person hearing and hearings-by-mail in 2005. Respondents were 32 percent more likely to be found guilty in a hearing by mail than in an in-person hearing, and 18 percent were less likely to be found not guilty.

Those responding by mail were 40.6% of the time found not guilty, 38.8% of the time found guilty, with 17.8% of these fines reduced and 2.8% mitigated. Those responding in person were 49.4% of the time found not guilty, 29.4% of the time found guilty, and 19.8% of the fines responded to in person were reduced with 1.4% mitigated.

Senator Marty Golden stated, "For all New York motorists who have often wondered which method of appeal is better, this study has allowed us to learn which way in fact is better to plead not guilty to a parking violation. I encourage New Yorkers to appeal in person the parking violations which you firmly believe to be not guilty for. The numbers do not lie."

The survey indicated that there were approximately 1.2 million parking violations hearings for non-commercial vehicles in the calendar year 2005. Another 400,000 were requested but ultimately not heard either because the violation was dismissed as defective, or because the respondent opted to plead guilty and pay a lower fine under a new settlement program.

Hearings may be held in person before an administrative law judge on a walk-in basis at one of the Department of Finance’s five borough-based business centers. The waiting time for walk-in hearings now averages 45 minutes.