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I live in Los Angeles, South Bay area. My brother was visiting from out of town, borrowed my car, unwittingly parked on residential street on street sweeping day at the stated hours, and got a ticket for $45.

He did not see any parking sign and saw other cars parked there at the time and thought nothing of it. I looked at the street and there were 3 signs on a long block. Signs #1 and #2 are rather close together but #2 and #3, between which he parked, are ~500 feet apart (I approximated by walking and counting steps). It seems unreasonable to me to expect someone who doesn't know the area to look 250 feet both ways for signs, esp. when there are visual obstructions in form of trees. Seems to me the city should be responsible for having more signs. Certainly in the same area on business streets there are signs like every 100ft.

Do I have grounds for contesting this ticket?

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In all honesty, this completely depends on the judge you happen to get that will hear your case. There's no straight-forward "yes this will work" or "no this won't work" answer in a case like this. But a couple things to keep in mind:

  1. The fact that he was from out of town doesn't matter. If signs were displayed, then he has to obey the signs. Your argument about the placement of the signs may or may not work, again depending on the judge. But make sure you take more evidence than just some numbers derived from guess work (you'll need pictures of where the car was parked, where the signs are at, and exact measurement between the two signs and the vehicle, pictures of obstructions, etc). It's up to you to decide whether collecting all of that is worth the $45.
  2. Someone has to pay the ticket. You cannot just go to court and get it dismissed because you weren't driving. By default, the parking ticket obligation falls onto the owner of the vehicle. If you know you weren't driving, you can then request the person who was to reimburse you, or even sue them for reimbursement if they refuse.
  3. Continuing from #2, in some jurisdictions and especially if the parking ticket was issued by a private company (like at a strip mall) that doesn't use police enforcement for parking, you can provide them with the name and address of the person who was driving and have them re-send the ticket to the correct person, but not always. However, relying on this is a bad idea. The ticket, while issued to another person, is still attached to your vehicle and if the other person refuses to pay, it's your vehicle that will be impounded, booted, etc if the ticket is left delinquent. Then you just have even more hassles to deal with. Having outstanding tickets for your vehicle could also affect your insurance premiums.

Don't let this linger for too long. Get on top of it and decide what the two of you are going to do as soon as possible.

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I'd expect your brother to pay, and I'd expect your brother to make the decision whether to contest the ticket or not. He should check what the cost of contesting a ticket is (a) when you win and (b) when you lose, and then he can make a decision.

For $45, in the best case I'd say it's not worth the hassle.

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    Oh, I'll make him pay alright, if I can't or fail to contest it. – JBart Apr 25 '17 at 22:34

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