Are Excessive Parking Ticket Fines Unconstitutional?

L.A. residents launch offensive against parking tickets


Transcript and research links below with contact information…

It happens to the best of us, you park your car on a busy city street to grab a bite to eat or run your errands – you drop a few quarters in the meter, check your watch, look out for the meter maid, and then cross your fingers. When you return to your car a bright orange paper is on your windshield – you’ve just been nailed by the city for being a few minutes late to the meter.

Well the fight against Parking Tickets has just heated up in the city of Los Angeles as two LA men have failed a lawsuit, claiming the fines are so expensive, they are unconstitutional.

The class-action lawsuit filed by Jesus Pimentel and David Welch is open for other victims to join as plaintiffs.

So what are the facts of the case? Both men were forced to pay $175 in fines for parking tickets, then denied due process to contest them. The initial $63 initial fine, doubled if not paid in 14 days. on top of that $49 was added in fees and collection costs.

These costs are so great, the plaintiffs say they violate the Eighth amendment to the constitution which states:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Donald G. Norris, the attorney representing Pimentel said, quote:

We believe that the parking meter penalties are oppressive and violate the prohibition against excessive fines in the United States and California Constitutions, because the fines are grossly disproportionate to the failure to put a dollar or two in the meter. Unfortunately, Los Angeles City appears to be attempting to remedy its fiscal woes on the backs of City residents and workers, who in many cases can ill afford to pay such steep penalties.

For average wage earners in the Los Angeles, $175 represents nearly two days work. For low-income Latinos in there, the situation is even worse. That fine is over three days of average wages.

The problem is compounded even more when people who can’t pay the fines are restricted from registering their cars, which can ultimately lead to their vehicles being impounded.

Those affected by the Los Angeles Parking fines, who wish to join the lawsuit may do so by emailing [email protected]


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