Monday, March 12, 2012
Help Me Howard: Miami Beach Ticket
She got a ticket for putting a "For Sale" sign in her car on county property. The problem: It was not on county property, and she wondered, is it illegal to put a "For Sale" sign on your own property or property you have permission to use? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When money is tight, you can raise some cash by getting rid of things you don't need.
In Li Mor's case, that meant her car.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "I do, I love my car. It's reliable, it takes me where I need to go, but we don't drive a lot, and that's the reason why I was trying to sell it."
Four months ago, Li Mor put this "For Sale" sign on her car. When she wasn't using the car, it was parked in her apartment complex or this city lot next door, where she had a permit.
Then on Christmas Day, she got a surprise.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "On December 25th, Christmas Day, I got a ticket for having a 'For Sale' sign."
It appeared to be a Miami-Dade County parking ticket. Under comments, on Christmas Day, the officer wrote, "Vehicle for sale, 8x10 display."
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "I had that 'For Sale' sign on for four months on my car. I didn't know that it's illegal or not allowed."
Reading the traffic citation confused Li Mor.
It appeared she was being ticketed for parking and displaying the sign in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, even though she was on Miami Beach city property, where she had a permit to park.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "That I'm not supposed to have a 'For Sale' sign in certain areas in Miami, but this area in Miami Beach is not under the same restrictions, so the ticket was an error."
Li Mor then got a warning letter from the county clerk, notifying her that if she did not pay the $28 fine, she would be turned over to a collection letter, and the notice again said the ticket was for displaying a 'For Sale' sign on county property.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "I think it's completely ridiculous. I shouldn't say it's stupid, but it's really ridiculous."
Li Mor put together paperwork to prove it was wrong and sent it to the county.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "And I asked them to cancel the ticket to save time for the judge, myself, to save money for the taxpayers. I was told that I cannot do that, and I have to be in the courthouse in order to ask for anything like that."
Li Mor has become irritated and frustrated, convinced the ticket is wrong, confused that Miami-Dade County won't listen to her.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "'You made an error, the police officer made an error. Cancel the ticket.' And they still say no, so I think it's a waste of time and money."
The ticket says it's from Miami-Dade County for violating a county ordinance. But Li Mor says the car was parked in Miami Beach and didn't break any laws.
Howard, you wanna look at the paperwork and play judge?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: "There is a lot wrong with this ticket. A Miami Beach Code Enforcment officer, working on Christmas Day, issued a county violation for displaying a 'For Sale' sign that does not apply in Miami Beach. That makes the ticket illegal. To get it dismissed, call the city to see if they can correct it. If not, you do have to go to court to get a judge to dismiss it."
When we contacted Miami Beach, they confirmed they issued the ticket and they use a standard Miami-Dade County citation form.
When we asked why their code enforcement officer issued a county violation for having a 'For Sale' sign in the city, they told us the officer made a mistake.
Miami Beach then dismissed the ticket and apologized for the error, leaving one more question.
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: "Can you put a 'For Sale' sign on your car in your yard? Unless your homeowner or condo association prohibits it, in all likelihood, yes, because a federal court in Ohio has ruled that it's a violation of your First Amendment rights to prohibit 'For Sale' signs. Some government agencies are still writing tickets for this, so fight it."
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "Thank you so much."
Li Mor is happy the ticket has been wiped out and has some advice for the code enforcement officer who made the mistake on Christmas Day.
Li Mor Raviv, Christmas Day Surprise: "I wish it would have never happened, and next time officer, just enjoy Christmas."
Patrick Fraser: "By working on Christmas Day, the code enforcement officer got holiday pay, time and a half. Many companies make non-essential employees take holidays off to avoid paying time and a half or double pay, but we were told by Miami Beach if it's an employee's regular work day, they have to work, whether it's a holiday or not, even though it costs the city extra money."
A problem parked in your lap? Need it ticketed for a solution? Contact us. We don't use a For Sale sign, and we won't work on a holiday to get double pay, because we are free.
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