The rules are different for parking on public or private land.
You should check first whether you have received a parking fine on public or private land, as the rules are different.
If you park on a public road and don’t follow the parking restrictions, you could have to pay a parking fine. A parking fine is officially called a fixed penalty or penalty charge.
The rules about fixed penalties and penalty charges depend on the policy of the local authority where you parked. In many local authorities, parking is not a criminal matter and the council, not the police, are responsible for fixed penalties and penalty charges.
But in some areas, if you don’t follow the parking rules, this is a criminal matter and the police and magistrates’ courts are responsible for fixed penalties and penalty charges.
Where the police are responsible
If you commit a parking offence, a police officer or traffic warden can fix a penalty notice to your vehicle. The details of the offence will be on the notice.
If you accept that you committed the offence, you can pay the amount they ask for. If you pay within a certain time period, the amount you have to pay is reduced. The notice will tell you how and when to pay.
If you did commit the offence but don’t pay within the correct period, you’ll be sent a ‘notice to owner’, reminding you to pay. If you don’t pay within the correct period of time, the amount you must pay will be increased by a further 50 per cent. It will be registered as a criminal matter and you could get sent to prison if you don’t pay up.
If you don’t agree that you committed the offence, you can opt for a magistrates’ court hearing by filling in Part III on the reverse of the penalty notice and returning it to the address provided. You will then receive a summons to attend a magistrates’ court.
If you weren’t the owner of the vehicle when it was illegally parked, you can send in a statement, called a statutory declaration, to say you are not the owner. In this case, you won’t have to pay up.