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Drivers Move From Courtroom To Web To Fight Parking, Bus Lane Tickets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Technology is a two-way street when it comes to parking violations in New York City.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, high-tech tools allow the city to write more and more tickets. But they also make fighting a ticket you think is unfair a little easier.

At New York City Parking Court, the waiting room is often mostly empty these days, and the hearing rooms are hardly ever crowded. Like so much of life, the process of fighting a parking ticket has moved online.

"On the Web is probably one of the easiest and most efficient ways to have it," said Kevin Timoney of the New York City Department of Finance.

Timoney said about 50 percent of ticket adjudications now take place online, with a system that makes it easy to upload evidence to argue your case. For instance, a scan of a Muni-Meter receipt or a picture of a parking sign may easily be uploaded.

Everything will be reviewed by an administrative law judge sworn to be impartial.

"Take as many pictures - overkill is better than underkill," said Administrative Law Judge Frank Reyes. "Submit as many items as you think is necessary."

For bus lane violations, the system allows you to view video of the alleged infraction, and maybe prove the camera that caught you doing so was in error.

"One defense is making the next available right, so if they view the video, they may realize they did make the next available right, and that possibly they're not responsible for the violation," said Chief Administrative Law Judge Mary Gotsopoulis.

With the city using handheld devices to generate more tickets, Gotsopoulis said it is only fair to allow drivers the tech tools to fight back.

But more than anything the move online is about convenience.

"People's time is precious to them, and we have to make it as easy as possible for them," she said.

In future years, the Parking Court waiting rooms could get even quieter. The city is researching apps allowing you to fight or pay a ticket right from your smartphone.

On average, 1,000 people each day choose to go online to fight a parking ticket or bus lane violation. It takes about five days to get a decision.

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