• Do Parking Fines Ever Expire in the UK? Ticket Expiration Explained

    Do Parking Fines Ever Expire in the UK? Ticket Expiration Explained

    Have you come across a parking ticket from a few years ago? Are you unsure if the issuing authority could still chase you for it? It’s totally normal to forget about things from time to time, but in this case, it’s also important to understand whether you’re still liable to pay for the fine or not. Today, we’re going to look at if and when parking tickets expire, whether you’re liable to pay for them, and what could happen if you choose to ignore the problem altogether.

    Getting a parking ticket can be frustrating enough by itself, so if you’ve found one that’s pretty old, you might be worried about any consequences that may be coming your way! Let’s clear things up for you.

    What are the different kinds of parking ticket?

    We’ve added this section in because most of the answers will vary depending on what kind of ticket you’ve been issued.

    There are two types of parking tickets that you might have been issued:

    1. Penalty Charge Notice
    2. Parking Charge Notice

    Penalty Charge Notice

    A penalty charge notice is a parking ticket that’s issued to you by the local council when you’ve committed a parking infraction in one of their parking spaces. These fines are legally enforceable and should not be ignored.

    Parking Charge Notice

    A parking charge notice is a parking ticket that’s issued to you by a landowner or private parking operator working on their behalf when you’ve broken a parking rule whilst parking on private land. These fines are not legally enforceable, but equally should not be ignored as they could end up taking you to court!

    Is there a time limit to be issued with a parking ticket?

    In short, yes.

    However, it will depend on what kind of ticket you’ve been issued.

    If you’ve been issued a penalty charge notice, the usual time frame is 28 days after the alleged offence. This time frame can be extended if the issuing authority cannot retrieve your details from the DVLA in that time. When this happens, you could be waiting up to six months!

    If you’ve been issued a parking charge notice, then the time limit is different. If the parking ticket has “Protection of Freedoms Act” written on it, the landowner or private parking operator must issue the fine within 14 days of the alleged contravention.

    Not only that, if you don’t respond to a parking charge notice that’s been left on your vehicle, the private parking operator only has another 56 days to send you another one to your home address. But, these time limits don’t apply if the “Protection of Freedoms Act” isn’t stated anywhere on the ticket. It’s important to know this because you might not have to pay!

    Citizen’s Advice says:

    1. You can appeal that it’s unfair to ask you to pay for a parking charge notice if it’s seven or more months late, and
    2. If the parking charge notice doesn’t include “Protection of Freedoms Act” anywhere on it.

    How long can I be pursued for a parking ticket?

    The answer to this will again depend on what kind of ticket you’ve received. But, when it all comes down to it, the longest you can legally be chased is six years.

    Penalty charge notice

    If you’ve received a penalty charge notice, you can be pursued for up to six years for the payment. After that, the debt will then become statute barred, and a court wouldn’t even look at chasing you for the money that’s owed. However, the issuing authority is unlikely to ever let it get that far. In fact, most penalty charge notices are resolved within a month of it being issued.

    Remember that no good is going to come from ignoring your penalty charge notice, so you’re better off paying or appealing the ticket.

    Parking charge notice

    If you’ve received a parking charge notice, there’s not actually any hard evidence on how long you could be chased for the payment. This is because the fine isn’t legally enforceable unless the landowner or private parking operator chooses to take you to court. You should think of a parking charge notice as more of an “invoice” for the time being.

    However, because a parking ticket is such a small amount of money to go to court for, some private parking operators won’t pursue the debt. There are lots of online forums telling motorists to simply ignore a parking charge notice, but we’d advise against it. Just because they “might not” take you to court, it’s not a risk you should take. You should either pay the fine, or start an appeal!

    It’s worth noting that solicitors in the UK will advise that an unpaid invoice falls within the statute barred law. So, that means if you haven’t paid the “invoice” and they haven’t taken any court action, you can no longer be chased after six years as it will be considered statute barred.

    Source: Money Saving Expert

    As you can see, private parking operators might not even give up after six years have passed! This motorist and many more are still being chased! However, knowing your rights and the statute barred law will help you fight against them!

    What happens if I don’t pay my parking ticket?

    Much like the other questions in this article, the answer will depend entirely on the type of parking ticket you’ve received. Let’s explain:

    Penalty charge notice

    If you’ve been issued with a penalty charge notice, this means that it’s been issued by the local council of where you committed the alleged offence. A penalty charge notice is legally enforceable, which means that you could be taken to court if you choose not to pay.

    You’re given 28 days from the date on the PCN to pay the fine or start an appeal. Remember that if you pay within 14 days, you’ll receive a discount on the amount owed (usually 40%). We’ve got a full guide that details how you can appeal your penalty charge notice that we recommend reading if that’s the route you’d like to take!

    Parking charge notice

    If you’ve been issued a parking charge notice, this means that you’ve parked on private land and have broken one of the rules laid out by the landowner or private parking operator working on their behalf. However, a parking charge notice is not enforceable, and should be considered as an invoice for the time being. 

    A private parking ticket only becomes enforceable if the private parking operator asks a judge for a court order, which then legally forces you to pay. We’ve written a guide on what could happen if you ignore a parking charge notice, as well as information on how to appeal against a parking charge notice!

    Do Parking Fines Ever Expire in the UK?

    In short, yes.

    Whether it’s a council related parking fine or a private parking fine, the longest you can be chased before the debt becomes statute barred is six years. However, neither types of parking ticket are often left that long.

    Your best bet is to either pay the fine or start an appeals process!

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