A parking violation is a violation of a statute, ordinance or rule relating to traffic movement and control that involves stopping (when prohibited), standing or parking.
Most parking offenses are civil (decriminalized) traffic infractions for which only monetary assessments (fines, fees, costs, surcharges) can be imposed. If the registered owner(s) of a cited vehicle fails to timely respond to a citation for a parking infraction, a default judgment will be entered against the registered owner(s).
How long do I have to respond to a citation for a parking infraction?
If you receive a citation for a parking infraction, you must send a response to the respective or designated District Court or Traffic Violations Bureau within 21 days. The court may enter a default judgment on traffic infractions that have not been paid or answered within 21 days after the citation was issued.
If default judgment is ordered, you may file a motion to set aside the default judgment and post an appearance bond secured by cash equal to the total amount of the monetary assessments imposed by the default judgment.
Otherwise, you have approximately 90 or 180 days to pay for your default judgment by mail or in person before:
- Unpaid judgments $500 or less are sent to the collection agency 90 days after the date the default judgment was entered.
- Unpaid judgment greater than $500 are sent to the collection agency 180 days after the date the default judgment was entered.
If a case has been sent to a collection agency, the court will no longer take any payment for that case, you must make the payment of the default judgment and any additional fees to the collection agency. Additionally, failure to pay the amount ordered by the default judgment within 30 days will result in a vehicle registration “stopper” being placed on the cited vehicle’s registration record.
What are my options?
Your options are explained in detail on the back of your citation. Basically, you have the following options:
- OPTION 1: ADMIT AND PAY
You can admit the parking infraction and pay the amount written on the citation, either by mail, using the preprinted envelope; in person at any District Court; via the Internet; or by telephone at (800) 679-5949. Credit cards (VISA or MasterCard), checks or money orders are accepted (U.S. dollars only, payable to “DISTRICT COURT”). A $25 service charge will be assessed for dishonored payments. Please do not send cash.
- OPTION 2: DENY
If you deny committing the parking infraction, you may either submit a written statement or request a court hearing. Your request for a hearing or your written statement should be placed in the envelope provided and mailed or delivered to the court within 21 days of the citation issue date. When you request a hearing, the court will notify you (or the registered owner of the vehicle) in writing of the date, time and location. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you have 30 days to appeal the judgment by requesting a trial. This will be a new trial in which the prosecutor and witnesses will be present and the state must prove the charge by a preponderance of the evidence. To request a trial date, you should complete the “Request a Trial” section in the “Notice of Decision and Judgement” form you will receive. If you do not request a trial within 30 days from the date of the notice, or fail to appear at the trial, the judgment becomes final and the case cannot be reopened.
- OPTION 3: ADMIT BUT EXPLAIN MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES
If you admit committing the parking infraction, but wish to explain mitigating circumstances that caused you to commit the offense or warrant a reduction in penalties, you may either request a hearing and appear in person at the hearing or submit a written statement explaining the mitigating circumstances. Your request for a hearing or your written statement should be placed in the envelope provided and mailed or delivered to the court within 21 days of the citation issue date. If you request a hearing, you will be notified in writing of your court date. The judge’s decision following a hearing or after considering your written statement is final and not appealable.
Please see Tips on Going to Court.
The citation was missing the pre-printed envelope, how do I mail my payment or written statement?
If your citation did not come with an envelope, you may use a blank envelope. Please mail the citation to the District Court on the island that the citation was issued. The mailing address information is provided on the Judiciary’s contact information page.
What will happen if I go to court?
At a hearing to contest a parking infraction you deny committing, you will be given an opportunity to explain what happened to a judge. After reviewing the officer’s notes and considering your explanation, the judge will determine whether you committed the infraction. If the judge decides the case in your favor, the judge will enter an order dismissing the infraction. If the judge decides that you committed the infraction, the judge will enter judgment in favor of the state and impose monetary assessments (fines, court costs, fees, surcharges) and perhaps other penalties. If you disagree with the judgment, you will have 30 days to request a trial. If you request a trial, you will be given a trial date. You must appear at your trial.
At a hearing to explain mitigating circumstances, you will be allowed to explain the circumstances that caused you to commit the offense or warrant a reduction in penalties. You will not be allowed to contest the infraction. If, after listening to your explanation, the court determines that the infraction was not committed, the court may vacate your previous admission and dismiss the infraction with prejudice. In all other cases, the court will enter judgment in favor of the state and determine the total amount you must pay. You may not appeal the judge’s decision.
What if I submit a written statement instead of going to court?
If you choose to submit a statement in writing, write legibly or type your statement. Please be brief and factual. Photographs and other exhibits are appropriate but may not be returned. Mail or deliver your statement in the envelope provided to the District Court or Traffic Violations Bureau within 21 days of the citation issue date. Your statement will be “calendared” and reviewed by a judge. The judge will decide the case after reviewing your written statement and the officer’s notes, and the judge’s decision will be mailed to you. If you denied committing the infraction and the court entered judgment in favor of the state, you will have 30 days to request a trial. If you admitted the infraction but submitted a written statement explaining mitigating circumstances, you may not appeal the judge’s decision.
What if I fail to answer the citation?
If you fail to answer a citation, the court will enter a “default judgment” in favor of the state for the total amount of monetary assessments (fines, court costs, fees, surcharges) indicated on the parking citation. You will be mailed a notice of entry of the default judgment and must pay the total amount due within 30 days from the postmarked date of the notice. If you fail to make timely payment, a stopper will be placed on the cited vehicle’s registration record until the amounts due are paid. The court may also take other measures to collect the judgment, including garnishments, liens and referral of your case to a collection agency.
If you believe that good cause or excusable neglect exists for your failure to prevent entry of the default judgment, you may file a motion to set aside the default judgment and post an appearance bond secured by cash equal to the total amount of the monetary assessments imposed by the default judgment. A hearing on the motion will be held, and if the court sets aside the default judgment, the hearing on the merits of the infraction case will proceed. If the motion to set aside the default judgment is denied, the cash you posted as security for the appearance bond will be forfeited and used to satisfy the judgment in favor of the state.
There are certain parking offenses, including ones committed at state parks and harbors, that are crimes because they are punishable by a possible prison term. A defendant charged with a parking crime is required to go to court at the date, time and location indicated on the parking citation to plead to the charges. Failure to appear in court may result in the issuance of a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest.