I recently got ticketed for stopping on the side of the road of the Taconic Parkway. The ticket was $120 and I promptly sent a check. It was reurned as the state police no longer take personal checks, only postal money orders or cerified checks. The letter which I am sure came promptly said it had to be returned by a date which already had passed.

Maybe Robot Lawyer is the answer. The below article came from the Daily Telegraph in London so may be suspect at best but feel free to try it out. I’ve already gotten the check certified and returned it.

A “robot lawyer” created by a British teenager has overturned tens of thousands of parking tickets in London and New York.

The chat bot designed to help people dispute parking violations in just 30 seconds has negated 160,000 fines since its launch last year.

DoNotPay is the brainchild of 19-year-old Joshua Browder, originally from London. Browder, who is currently in his second year at Stanford University, describes the chat bot as “the world’s first robot lawyer”.

Users chat with the robot lawyer, which can offer advice on a range of subjects beyond parking tickets CREDIT: DONOTPAY
The chat bot, which is free to use, took Browder three months to create between school and university. “It was a huge challenge,” he said. He watched hours of YouTube tutorials and spoke to machine learning experts to create the intelligent bot that could understand human messages.

Browder initially designed the DoNotPay bot as a “pet project” for family and friends after being issued with 30 parking tickets. But after it gained traction in London he made it available across the UK and New York, with Seattle to follow soon.

“It’s really difficult as every city has different laws,” said Browder. “The US parking authorities are less likely to dismiss tickets. In the UK they’re a lot more fair.”

The bot asks a series of questions designed to work out if a ticket can be appealed, including whether there were clear parking restriction signs or if the driver was travelling to hospital urgently. After determining that an appeal is viable, it then walks the user through the steps of appeal.

It is currently only available through the DoNotPay website, but Browder is in talks with Facebook to incorporate it in the Messenger app.

Over 250,000 people have used the service so far, according to Browder. Of the $4 million (£3 million) worth of tickets overturned, about 150,000 were in London. In the UK around 10 million parking tickets are issued a year, generating millions of pounds in revenue for local councils.

DoNotPay’s service also has a selection of pictures of unclear or confusing road markings taken from Google Maps to help motorists with relevant claims.

“Many motorists leave the scene of their parking ticket without taking photos of the road markings,” he told The Telegraph after the service launched.

Browder plans to expand the artificial intelligence lawyer, which can also work out compensation for delayed flights, to help vulnerable groups navigate complicated legal systems, including people who are HIV positive and refugees in foreign countries. The latter will use IBM Watson to translate Arabic and English.

“The success of the parking tickets has made me realise this is bigger than parking charges. I think there’s a real value in providing free legal help through a chat bot,” he said. Browder is spending this summer working on his different side projects. “When I’m not working on them, I’m sleeping.”

At the moment he is working entirely for free and on his own. But he has plans to hire some designers and in-house lawyers as the chat bot lawyer’s capabilities grow.

Silicon Valley giants have all released chat bots in recent months, including Facebook and Microsoft, that are mostly designed to help users with day-to-day tasks such as ordering food, booking a taxi and organising their diaries.