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What happens after you've received a parking ticket?

Find out about what you need to do and why you may have received a PCN.

If you have been issued with a parking ticket (a PCN) it is because you have breached a parking restriction. You can find an explanation of why you have received the PCN on the ticket.

PCN ticketEvery PCN has a unique number. You will need this number to:

  • Pay the ticket (if you pay quickly you will save 50%), or
  • Challenge the ticket 

The worst thing you can do is ignore a PCN - it WON'T go away and it WILL cost you more.

  • If you don't pay or make an informal challenge within 14 days you will become liable for the full charge of the PCN (£70 or £50)  
  • If you don't pay the full charge (£70 or £50) within 28 days of the PCN issue, a Notice to Owner will be sent to the DVLA registered keeper. 
  • After 28 days from the day you receive the Notice to Owner, if you still haven't paid or made a representation a Charge Certificate will be sent and the penalty charge increases by a further 50%. If you receive a Charge Certificate you must pay the charge within 14 days. There is no right to make a challenge at this stage. 
  • If you still do not pay the charge, it may be registered as a debt in the County Court and debt recovery will be pursued, using bailiffs. 

So for you own good either pay the PCN or challenge the PCN.

The penalty charge is either £70 or £50 - see your PCN. 

You qualify for a 50% reduction if payment of the PCN is received within 14 days of the date of issue. Once you have paid the PCN you have accepted liability for the penalty charge and can no longer make a challenge against the PCN.

Pay a parking fine

Why are there two different charges?

More serious violations = £70 (discounted to £35 if paid within 14 days)
This is normally where the driver of the vehicle is regarded as having taken no steps to park correctly. For example, where the vehicle has been parked on yellow lines, in a disabled bay without the required permit or at a bus stop/stand.

Less serious violations = £50 (discounted to £25 if paid within 14 days)
This is where the driver of the vehicle has attempted to park correctly. For example where they are displaying an expired pay and display ticket for the date in question. 

The charges have been set by the Department for Transport and are identified by the contravention code the penalty charge notice has been issued on. The civil enforcement officers have no discretion when issuing the penalty charge notice if it to be of the higher or lower charge.

What happens if I don't pay?

Failure to pay your PCN will result in action being taken under the relevant legislation to recover the penalty charge amount due.
After 14 days of the date of issue of the PCN you lose the right to pay the discounted sum (£35/£25). The 14 days starts with the date on which the PCN was issued.

After 28 days of the date of issue of the PCN a Notice to Owner will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle; at this point you can either;

After 28 days of the date of issue of the Notice to Owner a Charge Certificate may be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle, notifying the keeper that the charge has been increased by 50% (£105/£75).  If you receive a Charge Certificate you must pay within 14 days. There is no right to appeal at this stage.

After 14 days of the date of issue of the Charge Certificate, if the Charge Certificate is not paid, the debt will be registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre and a registration fee of £8.00 will be added to the charge (£112/£82).  An Order for Recovery will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.  

If you receive an Order for Recovery you must either:

  • Pay the outstanding charge within 21 days, or 
  • File a witness statement 

After 21 days after the debt registration at the Traffic Enforcement Centre, if the charge has not been paid or a witness statement has not been made, the Traffic Enforcement Centre will grant authority for a warrant to be issued and a certificated bailiff will be requested to recover the debt from you. The bailiff will charge you for this.

What are the reasons for getting a parking ticket?

Vehicles parked in contravention of the parking restrictions cause congestion and inconvenience pedestrians, cyclists, the disabled, people who have parked correctly, vehicles making deliveries, the emergency services and local transport networks.

In some cases parking in contravention of the restrictions is dangerous.

You may be issued with a penalty charge if you:

  • park in areas where waiting or loading restrictions are in force 
  • park at a pay and display ticket machine space without paying the correct amount and clearly displaying the ticket as instructed 
  • park for longer than you have paid for 
  • park in a resident's parking space without displaying a valid permit 
  • park in a specially reserved bay, eg a loading place, a disabled bay or a taxi rank unless you are authorised to do so 
  • park at a bus stop or in a bus lane during prohibited hours

If your car is causing a safety hazard, source of congestion or obstruction the Police may remove it. All parking restrictions are indicated by signs and markings on the road.

A contravention code appears on the PCN issued to your vehicle. This code tells the driver or owner why the ticket has been issued. Civil Enforcement Officers record the circumstances for which a ticket is issued. They may also record photographic evidence of the position of the vehicle. Our Guide to penalty charge notice (PCN) pages explain what each code means and why a parking notice was issued. It also provides guidance on how to appeal against the PCN.

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