Parking enforcement in Arlington County. Money! Money! Money!


I used to live in Arlington County; the Rosslyn area to be precise. In a word parking is lousy to the max. City fathers and mothers are more interested in development then in the quality of life along the major corridors.

About three years ago I tried to find a parking spot in my condo parking lot. Finding none i went out on the street. It was very late at night and raining. Back-in diagonal parking is mandatory. A week later I went to find my car. Being a walk around area a car isn't used daily and sometimes not for a coupe of weeks even. Much to my chagrin I discovered that I had inadvertently parking in a handicapped zone and had two tickets totally $1K. The court liaison officer forgave one of my tickets and told me that under the circumstances (excessive fine, parking sight posted three feet over my head, etc.) that I had a good case and should go to traffic court. I researched the state regs regarding the posting of signs and fines in general and the only fines levied by law in VA of that magnitude are moving violations of a criminal nature. I took photographs and prepared a well researched statement. I thought that I had a slam dunk case that would result in a reduced fine. I did after all illegally parked in a handicapped zone. The judge didn't want to see my evidence, no photos, which was the visual evidence that I had so I had to speak pretty much from my script. The judge cut me off and read me the riot act saying that he didn't care if there was three feet of snow covering the sign or if it was raining pitch forks and candle sticks I was responsible for all the signage around my vehicle. I felt like I was a criminal and felt fortunate that I didn't get 'the chair.' Long story short I strongly felt that I was deprived of my Constitutional right to a fair 'trial' and to adequately present my case. I naturally paid the fine plus court costs and felt really 'crummy' to be polite. I protested to the state but was told that I could either have another hearing (with the same traffic judge?) or take it to the circuit court. In other words no real rational option was presented to me. (I was fortunate though that the court liaison officer forgave $500 of my $1,000 fine. At least HE had a sense of justice.) The moral is be darned careful where you park in Arlington County and if you should get a ticket excuses do not fly if you decide to go to traffic court. You WILL be found guilty. Best not to drive in Arlington County. There isn't anywhere convenient to park anyhow. As an aside he ACP also do a real good job of eyeballing inspection stickers on windshields for expiration dates so beware.