By Jeff McConnell and James Mennella
Everyone knows that times are tough and only getting tougher. It seems like everywhere you turn people have their hands out or are shaking you down. In this time of need, many states and municipalities are stepping up enforcement efforts to help fill their coffers.
Although some of their revenue-generating citations are not harmful to your record, a great many more are. You should always find out what the potential damage is before you pay any violation.
Q: Is it true that Indiana is issuing tickets for improper parking when drivers are parked on entrance and exit ramps?
A: We have heard from several drivers that greater enforcement of parking rules is being conducted. Generally, most law enforcement officers realize that truck parking is a difficult issue. They often don’t pursue the opportunity to make money during the overnight hours.
However, it is not uncommon for drivers to be ticketed for this offense. Generally, it shouldn’t harm one’s driving record, unless the violation happens to be considered a “moving” violation in a particular jurisdiction.
Q: I called the court on my Indiana parking ticket and was told that in Indiana it was a moving violation and 2 points against my record. I was also offered the opportunity to apply for diversion to keep the violation off my record. What’s the deal?
A: In Indiana “improper parking” is a 2-point violation if you are licensed in Indiana. If you are not licensed in Indiana, then your licensing state may or may not assess points for a parking violation. The clerk may have suggested that diversion could be an option. In most cases, however, if you are a CDL holder, you will not be eligible because of the “anti-masking” provisions included in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Q: So what can I do about this?
A: The first thing you need is a copy of the parking statute that you were cited for violating. You need to determine whether the statute covers the facts in your particular incident.
If – after reading the statute – you believe that it doesn’t apply to you, then you should proceed to court and either try to work out a plea bargain for a true non-moving (non-point) violation or proceed to trial.
Remember, it is the state’s burden to prove your guilt, even if they just want to pursue parking tickets.
Q: I was recently ticketed for parking on a clearly marked “no parking” on-ramp. Many of us have to do this because of a lack of parking spaces or hours-of-service issues. It seems unfair that we should have to choose between traffic citations or driving out of hours. What is the best advice?
A: Parking is an ever increasing problem around the country, and you have to make a judgment call on this issue.
If safety is a factor, then you need to take your lumps and park in the safest place you can. Take the risk of the parking violation and stop. A parking ticket is the better trade-off than an HOS violation or being cited for driving while fatigued.
If you know the route you are traveling and can plan ahead, it is always best to have some reserve time to proceed to another location should suitable parking not be available to you. LL
Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to:Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134, call 405-242-2030, fax 405-242-2040, or email firstname.lastname@example.org