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Woman Fined $160,000 for Parking “Incorrectly” In Her Own Driveway

A woman is suing the town of Lantana, Florida, after she was charged with $100,000 in fines for parking “incorrectly” in her own driveway.

Sandy Martinez and the Institute for Justice announced the lawsuit in a news conference. They said that Martinez had been charged with over a year’s worth of daily fines for the minor offense of partially parking her car on her front lawn, a violation of town codes.

According to Section 6-30 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Lantana, “all off-street parking spaces, including driveways but not including parking spaces located in swale areas as permitted by section 17-34, shall be asphalt, concrete or block and shall be hard surfaced and in good repair in compliance with town codes.”

Martinez reportedly lives with her mother, her sister, and her three children — two of whom are now adults. Given the fact that, in total, the household contains four drivers, it is often the case that four vehicles need to be squeezed into the driveway as best they can. That predicament resulted in one of the four vehicles being parked partially on grass.

Martinez claimed that after she was first cited for the violation, she called the city. But an inspector never came to her residence. Then, more than a year later, she learned that she had been fined $250 a day for 407 days for the offense, totaling $101,750. The city also fined Martinez $65,000 more in fines for cosmetic violations, such as cracks in the driveway and a broken fence.

“I’ve been living here for 17 years now and I’m being fined over $160,000 for parking on my own property,” Martinez said during the press conference.

Her lawyer, Ari Bargil, argued the extraordinary fines plainly violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Florida Constitution.

“The government doesn’t have the power to impose the financial death penalty for trivial violations,” he added.

Martinez told reporters that she repeatedly “left voicemail after voicemail” with the town to have someone come to her home, but eventually gave up trying after extended time “playing phone tag.”

According to WPTV-TV, the town offered to reduce the fines to $25,000 if Martinez agreed to pay them by Dec. 18, 2020 but reinstated the initial total after she refused to pay.

With the lawsuit, Martinez is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that the fines imposed on her are unconstitutional.

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Comments (10)

  • A perfect example of inferior superiors they don’t have a clue how normal every day people have to live and they think they have the power to control our every day aspects of life

  • While I totally agree that the fines are outrageous, a neighborhood will look like trash in short order if other people start parking on their lawns too. Property values plummet………is that fair?

    • I had one neighbor stand on his desk and shoot at birds. This same neighbor planted a tree on the easement that eventually destroyed my shed. Another neighbor’s dog used to crash through my fence. This same neighbor used to drive his snowmobile through my front yard. They also parked a non running vehicle in front of my house for over 4 months. This same neighbor’s kid used to use my air conditioner for a trampoline. This is not counting the little things such as having my cars paint balled. Dogs pooping in my yard. Ya I called the police but the problems continued. One finally moved and the other had their house foreclosed. 10 years of hell – IS THAT FAIR?

  • Hey Skeezix , Apparently you DONT believe in the freedom to own your own property and park as you wish on that property…And you can be fined for CRACKS in the driveway?…..What kind of stupidity is that?….Why not fine the contractor who poured that driveway and didnt take precautions to stop cracking…Or the Cement company who didnt make their concrete strong enough?… You really think property values are going to go down because someone parked on the grass?….Dude just move into a private neighborhood if it bothers you so much that someone can do as they please on their own property when it harms no one else…Did you vote for Biden?

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