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Parking Tickets in St. Paul

What to do if you get a parking ticket in St. Paul

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St. Paul Parking Meters

Parking Meters in downtown St Paul.

Clara James
The city of St. Paul issued 125,000 parking tickets last year. Here's what to do if you get a parking ticket, what to do if you think your ticket is unfair, if you parked at a broken St. Paul meter, and how to avoid parking tickets in St. Paul.

What to do if you get a parking ticket in St. Paul

If you get a parking ticket, there's a couple of options open to you.

If you were illegally parked, then you'll need to pay the ticket within the 21 days allowed to avoid late charges. The parking ticket will have instructions on how to pay, with options to mail payment, and you can also pay parking tickets online.

What f you can't afford to pay the parking fine? If you can't afford to pay the fine, you can see a hearing officer to arrange a payment plan. You must do this before the fine is due at the downtown St. Paul courthouse, or the suburban Maplewood courthouse.

What do you do if you think the parking ticket is unfair? What if the parking meter was broken? Did the parking enforcement officer make a mistake? They are human, after all. What if you were parking illegally to attend to some kind of emergency situation?

(Here's an example: I used to live in an apartment building, and one evening a large tree was blown over onto our apartment building, and threatened the parking lot. All the residents hastily moved their cars onto the streets, which happened to require resident parking permits. A parking enforcement officer came along and ticketed every car. The citations were later overturned. There's many reasons why a parking ticket might not be your fault, and if you feel it isn't, then you can contest the citation.)

Here's how to contest a parking ticket in St. Paul.

First, make sure that the citation has been filed with the city. this can take 10 days, so call the number on the ticket to check, or check online by entering the citation number on Ramsey County's online fine payment website.

Once the citation has been filed, you need to make an appointment to meet with a hearing officer. Hearing officers are available at the downtown St. Paul courthouse, and at the Maplewood suburban courthouse. To make an appointment at either location, call 651 266-9202.

Take the parking ticket, a photo ID, and any documentation you may have to support your case. The hearing officer has the power to reduce the fine or cancel the citation if he/she agrees with you.

Good luck!

Broken Parking Meters in St. Paul

Don't park at a meter that you think is broken. You'll get a ticket. The City of St. Paul asks that you call to report broken parking meters. The number to call is on the meter.

If you park at a meter that you believe is working, and still get a ticket - for example, the time on the meter runs out faster than it should - you can call the Parking Violations Bureau at 651 266-9202 and find out if the meter was broken. If so, you can contest the ticket by following the same procedure described above.

How to avoid parking tickets in St. Paul

Or in other words: where do traffic wardens patrol? The main areas parking enforcement officers patrol is downtown St. Paul, around the State Capitol, on the University of Minnesota campus, the Grand Avenue business district, and the Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

Tickets from Snow Emergencies account for a large number of parking citations issued in the winter. Being aware of when a Snow Emergency is called will keep you ticket-free.

The west side of St. Paul, Como Park, and south Highland Park areas get the least attention from parking enforcement officers. Wherever you park, and especially if you plan to park in one of the areas parking enforcement officers target, then be mindful of parking legally, and watch the clock to make sure you get back to your car in time. At meter parking in downtown St. Paul, tickets are regularly issued as soon as the time on the meter expires.

Fines from parking violations is a sizable source of revenue for the city of St. Paul. Parking enforcement officers in St. Paul are encouraged to write 55 citations a day, according a Pioneer Press report. St. Paul may have a reputation for being the sleepier of the Twin Cities, but St. Paul's parking enforcement officers certainly don't snooze on the job.

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