2) Make sure nearby road signs or lines warn against the motoring offence you are being accused of. If they are ambiguous, or even absent, this may help your case.
3) Was the ticketing officer being reasonable? Genuine mistakes or oversights, particularly at pay-and-display bays, are sometimes forgiven at appeal.
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4) Did you receive a number of PCNs in quick succession for the same offence? Local authorities will usually only chase the first fine if they are issued a matter of days apart. They go on the basis that you may have been unaware of committing an offence, and had not received the first fine until the others were already issued.
5) Was the PCN issued more than 28 days after the offence was committed? If so, you can write to the DVLA asking for confirmation that information was sent to your local authority and the date it was provided. Address it to: Non Fee Paying Enquiries Section, DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AN. Log on to www.dvla.gov.uk for more details.
6) Once you’ve gathered your evidence, write your appeal letter explaining your case clearly and simply, and keep a calm, polite tone. Remember to include any paperwork or photographs which support your claim.
7) Keep a copy of your application form and letter, and send the original by registered post as soon as possible to avoid paying an increased fine if your appeal isn’t successful.
Parking shake-up to end the fine mess
We reported in Issue 916 that one in five penalties is issued without proper justification, much like our own fine received from Islington Council in North London. It sent one member of staff a penalty charge notice (PCN) nearly two weeks after the 28-day deadline for notifying drivers had passed. Under the Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003, this meant the fine was invalid. But it took a staggering seven months of phone calls, letters and court papers before our case was finally dropped.
In Islington’s defence, it had blamed the 41-day delay on the DVLA, arguing the Government agency had not sent the driver details when requested - the only grounds on which it can justifiably extend the 28-day time limit.
However, we telephoned the DVLA to check this, and it confirmed that it sent the information electronically one week after receiving the request from the council. But it took an appeal through the courts before we finally won.