It’s never a good feeling to get a parking ticket in Baltimore City, or any city for that matter. Just last week, I woke up to a parking citation on my windshield from the city of Baltimore.
The prior evening, I parked my car on a residential street in the Canton neighborhood—not too far from my apartment. I had multiple parking options, but this space had my name on it, so I happily parked there. The address of my car was 2526 Fleet Street.
The next morning, feelings of fury and frustration flooded my mind as I approached my car and caught a glimpse of the ticket on my windshield. Maybe it’s just a leaf or flyer, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. I found a 100% authentic Baltimore City parking citation on my illegally parked car’s windshield. The fine: $32.
To Pay or Not to Pay?
Within moments of discovering the parking citation on my windshield, I was considering not paying the fine.
What if I just threw the ticket out? Well, the Baltimore City police have my license plate number, so they’ll probably just send me the ticket in the mail with an additional fee for paying late. The back of the parking ticket clearly states that there is a $16 per month penalty for late payment.
I continued to think: can I dispute or appeal the parking ticket? The back of the parking citation also states that you have the request to stand trial. I’ve heard stories of people taking tickets to court and winning by default because the issuing officer didn’t show up. But the officer might show up, and the hassle of getting out of work and parking downtown is probably not worth it.
In one last final attempt to get out of the parking ticket, I meticulously checked the ticket for errors. If I could find a mistake, the parking ticket would become void. Unfortunately, the Baltimore City officer got my license plate, make, color, and tag expiration date correct.
With no viable way to fight the parking ticket, I surrendered and regrettably paid the Baltimore City parking ticket online.
How to Pay Your Parking Ticket Online
Within two hours of finding my ticket, I went online to baltimorecity.gov to pay my citation. I also had the option of paying in person, by phone, or mail.
I’m a millennial, of course I’m going to pay my parking ticket online.
Despite my diligence, I got a “No record(s) found” error message when searching for my citation number on Baltimore City’s online payments website.
Later that afternoon, I tried to pay my ticket again, but I got the same error message. I wasn’t able to pay the parking ticket for Baltimore City until two days later. I suspect that the lag is because the officer must manually upload his parking ticket harvest to the system.
Baltimore City charges a fee for paying your parking ticket with a credit card. I was hoping to score 3x points on travel with my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. I’m not kidding: parking fees count as travel—that would’ve been 96 points. But since I can’t justify a $2.95 fee, I ended up paying with my checking account which is free.
After entering all of my information into the online payments system, I clicked submit. Moments later, I got an email “confirming my authorization for an electronic debit from my funding account payable to City of Baltimore – Director of Finance…blah, blah, blah…” for $32.
Parking Ticket Lessons Learned
At the end of the day, $32 is a small price to pay. I’m just glad that I got a $32 parking ticket and that my car wasn’t towed. Having my car towed would have cost me a couple hundred dollars.
Next time, I will be more observant of the street signs when parking in a city. We’re all humans and we all make mistakes. Pay for you mistakes, learn a lesson, and move on with you life. Life is too short stress over a silly parking ticket!