Writing Advice: Parking Ticket Appeal Letter

  • What You Say When You Write An Appeal Letter For A Parking Ticket: Sample Letter                                          by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

If you decide to appeal a parking ticket, it’s helpful to read a sample appeal letter, if you can find one.

Below is a very real letter that I wrote.  The letter was sent some years ago but the principles it invoked have no expiration date. It worked, and the City of Boulder never cashed the check that I sent with the letter of appeal.

Read the letter first, then my commentary.  The composition of the letter is based on important sociological and psychological principles that you should be able to put into play in your letter.

Sample Letter: Parking Ticket Appeal



Dear Sir/Madam:

By this means I should like to appeal the parking ticket that I received on 10-12-10.

My parking spot was not marked as a pay-to-park spot.   I was a tourist who made a special trip to Boulder to shop and have dinner.  If I had known, I would have cheerfully paid.

After finding the ticket on my windshield,  I bound that there was a meter in the middle of the block.

If you intend to enforce this ordinance fairly—which is what good law is based on–you should place some kind of marker on every parking spot that is a pay spot.

The meter plan is actually a good one, but you should mark or paint the spots, especially since you are a tourist destination.

I am enclosing a check and am counting on your sense of fair play not to cash it.

Yours truly,

Ticket Appeal Letter-writing Advice

  • State the reason for your letter at the very beginning.  Don’t make the reader have to search for it.
  • Be reasonable.  If you sound irrational, there is little need to write the letter. In the above letter, I wrote: “If I had known, I would have cheerfully paid.”
  • Give them a reason to help you.  I appealed to Boulder’s desire to be a premier tourist destination.  A tourist destination does not want bad advertising.  I identified myself as a tourist.
  • Pay the fine by check. They may not cash your check.  You don’t want to risk being assessed legal fees in case your appeal is rejected.
  • Appeal to the better angels of people’s nature.  I’m a fan of Abraham Lincoln, and that’s what he did over and over.  In fact he used the phrase in his first inaugural address.  City officials, like all of us, can be petty, vengeful, and greedy.  But they, and we, also have the capacity to be generous and fair.  In the above letter, I wrote,  “(I am) am counting on your sense of fair play.”
  • Don’t get your hopes up.  You may be the victim of a ticket mill, in which case greed will trump fair play.  But it is almost always worth writing a ticket appeal letter if you base your letter on sound principles, and spend just minutes, not hours, on the letter-writing.

The Words Lincoln Lived By

“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.

You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.

Don’t leave yet. You’re in a goldmine. Check out the great power phrases and unusual quotations. You’re already here. Why rush off?




Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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