Fire Hydrants, Parking Tickets and You

CBC recently ran a story on fire hydrants and the parking tickets from them that are given out in Toronto. At $100 a ticket since 2008, Toronto has collected $24 million from people parking within 3 meters of a fire hydrant.

In particular one fire hydrant in Toronto has done its duty to help collect money for the city by providing more than $289 000 in fines since 2008. Situated near the downtown courthouse in Toronto, at a major intersection at 383 University Avenue, it’s been significantly more prolific in parking tickets for vehicles in front of it than any other place.

Parking tickets like this and other ones are given out under Part 2 of the Provincial Offenses Act. Part 2 tickets like this are essentially just a fine – you can protest them like others but there is less reason. Why, you may inquire? Because the main reasons to protest a ticket are insurance, driving record and demerit points – none of which apply to Part 2 offenses. Perhaps due to the fact they cannot confirm who was driving at the time, the penalty for these ones are limited to the fine that appears.

That said there is sometimes reason to file a Part 2 offense such as a Parking Ticket or even a Red Light Camera Ticket (which is a part 1 offense, though sharing many similarities in penalty). In many cases, the crown will offer a lesser amount on the fine to solve the matter and move onto other matters. Thus filing the ticket yourself if you have the time and desire can make some sense.

However it doesn’t particularly make sense to pay representation to contest a parking ticket in most cases as the reasons you would contest do not apply. There are some exceptions to even this though – in Hamilton we offer our Red Light Camera service for free where we will file your ticket and get you the reduced fine at no cost. In Toronto several agents fight parking tickets commonly and presumably at a cost efficient rate.

Other than our Red Light Camera program (which while not a parking ticket, has a similar consequence) we don’t fight parking tickets because it isn’t a good use of your time, or money. Paying us to fight a ticket would cost you money and all we could do is get some of the fine knocked down – or even get it gone but for something like $100 or $300, it is not worthwhile to pay us several hundred to go through fighting it given it has no effect on your insurance or driving record.

One last note regarding all of these tickets – they have to be paid when you renew your plates and/or val tags. If they are not paid, you have to pay them then or they will not allow you to renew them!

It can’t hurt to park safe – and especially away from fire hydrants!

Don Parsons
TCS Legal Services

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