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Austin, TX 78701

512-917-4378

hris Perri Law is a criminal defense law firm located in Austin, Texas.

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Chris' Blog

The blog of Chris Perri Law, written by Chris Perri and Shannon Perri. Read the latest in exciting cases where justice is served.

Filtering by Category: Parking Tickets

City of Austin vs. Chris Perri

Chris Perri

A few weeks ago, I drove to Town Lake for one of my longer runs.  Despite being around 11 am on a weekday, all of the parking spaces were full.  I saw that some cars had driven onto a dirt area to park their cars, and I followed suit.  After returning from my run, I found a $50 parking ticket on my windshield for parking in a “Tow Away Zone,” despite there being no sign that indicated it was such a zone.  Needless to say, I was upset. Because I’d parked in this area on previous occasions, along with seeing other people regularly park there, I decided to contest the ticket.  According to the City of Austin procedure, violators are entitled to a hearing if they come to the Municipal Court within 30 days of receiving a ticket.  Also, being a criminal defense attorney, I figured it was my duty to fight the seemingly unfair ticket, rather than just pay it off.  At the very least, I could receive valuable information on whether I had illegally parked at Town Lake.

Today, I prepared my evidence and got in line.  After about a 15 minute wait, a “hearing officer” was ready to judge my case.  The hearing is very informal, as it takes place in a small office with an audio recorder.  After being sworn in, the officer asked me a few basic questions about the circumstances of me receiving the ticket.  Then, she allowed me to present my side of the story.  Using my three photographs as exhibits, I presented my case.

The first picture shows that there is a “No Parking” sign, but the arrows point to the left and right.  To a reasonable person, this sign indicates that there is to be no parking in the roadway.  To demonstrate that there was a roadway (and that I was not on this roadway), I showed this picture:

Finally, I pointed out that cars often park in this dirt area, as demonstrated by the minivan, along with the tire marks in the following photograph:

The hearing officer informed me that I was incorrect.  She pointed out that there was a curb that I had to drive over in order to park in the dirt.  I responded that it was a very low curb and functioned similar to a ramp, but she asked me whether it was indeed a curb.  On this point, I agreed.  She also questioned me whether there were any signs that indicated this was a legal parking area.  I answered that there were none.  Plus, the hearing officer pointed out that there are “2-hour parking” signs next to the legal spots.  For these reasons, I was parking in an illegal area.  She then proceeded to educate me regarding why the area consisted entirely of dirt: people like me park there, ruining the lush grass that had formerly been enjoyed by Austinites!

At this point, I was ready to leave, tail between my legs.  This criminal defense attorney had been whipped, and I knew it.  But, she stated that she was dismissing my ticket because I was correct when I initially pointed out that I was not in a “Tow Away Zone.”  Instead, the ticket-writer should have indicated that I had parked in a “Right of Way” area.   Due to the fact that my ticket had been improperly marked, I was relieved of any obligation to pay.  Ah, a technicality – a defense attorney’s best friend.

That’s right, City of Austin, don’t mess with the baddest lawyer in town!