When it comes to parking tickets, not even death is an excuse for exoneration.
Like it or not, only summonses accrued 10 days prior and 30 days after a driver's untimely demise will be dismissed.
Such information is contained in what has been billed the first book on how to avoid paying parking tickets written by a judge.
The author is Emmanuel Amofah, a former administrative law judge who for two years sat on the bench and listened to as many as 70 people a day maintain their innocence without regard to legal arguments.
"It was two years too many," he said.
To know the law is to know your rights, Mr. Amofah, who now works helping businesses fight their parking tickets, said.
Mr. Amofah says his book will teach people, as the title suggests, "How To Fight and Beat Your New York City Parking Tickets." It is available atwww.dismissmyparkingticket.com.
Because 85% of parking tickets issued in the city are paid unchallenged, according to the Department of Finance, the first part of that title - fight - is an important element.
"After what I saw, I thought the public wasn't getting a fair deal," Mr. Amofah said. "I thought the rules should be more open. The average guy comes to a hearing and doesn't know what he's doing. It's like he's walking into a trap."
Fighting parking violations is one area of the law under which people act as their own attorney, and the orange colored book offers keys to building a defense that will actually persuade a judge, as opposed to the common strategic blunder of pleading a personal hardship, Mr. Amofah said.
The first and most important step, Mr. Amofah said, is to look for defects in your ticket. Those who know they have violated the law by, for example, forgetting to move their car during street cleaning, may still be able to avoid a fine if the ticket was written incorrectly.
About 10% of all tickets issued since 2002, when Mr. Amofah began his $36 an hour job, have been deemed defective, according to the Department of Finance. Mr. Amofah suggests the total number is probably higher, as most people pay the fine without realizing that incorrectly issued tickets would be automatically dismissed.
Some easily seen signs of defective tickets include missing or incorrect information about the car's license plate number, registration date, or state of registration.
Mr. Amofah's book also provides possible defenses and a form letter for how to contest tickets by mail for 65 specific violations, such as parking near an ambiguous sign or near a school during the summer. The obvious plea - that school is closed in the middle of July - is not enough to get your ticket dismissed. Just as in school days, a note from the principal will help to get the fine dismissed.
The book costs $40, just $5 more than a ticket for an expired parking meter.
When told about the book, a Department of Finance spokesman, Sam Miller, said new policies for dealing with parking tickets make the book unnecessary.
In a program begun in January that is meant to streamline the adjudication of tickets, the department has empowered clerks to dismiss defective tickets.
"You shouldn't have to be a parking expert or a former judge to get a ticket dismissed," Mr. Miller said. The program, he said, has cut the wait time for hearings in half, to 45 minutes.
Mr. Miller also said the department, in an effort to make the rules more transparent, publishes and makes available online a brochure that explains the way a ticket may be defective.
For those who prefer not to fight or pay the entire value of the ticket, the new program allows people to plea bargain in exchange for fines that are reduced by as much as 33%.
If this 465-page book doesn't solve all your problems, Mr. Amofah already has a second volume in the making: how to fight and beat a guilty verdict.