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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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General complaint citation in Fort Worth, Tx. I got a ticket

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General complaint citation in Fort Worth, Tx. I got a ticket in the mail for Operating a business; car repair from a residential zone(violation code 595) and Allowing accumulation of car parts (violation code 51001)

I do not run a car business, just work on my own cars as a hobby. How would I approach this in court to get it dismissed?

TexLawyer :

Good afternoon. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

Looking online, you probably won't find much since you are dealing with municipal codes.

Customer:

Yeah i haven't had much luck online... and I don't know how to fight this case in court since they are accusing me of running a business when i'm not

TexLawyer :

OK. Do you have links do the specific code sections? If not, I can look them up.

Customer:

no i don't have the links i do have the violation code numbers

TexLawyer :

595 and 51001, right?

Customer:

Yes sir that is correct

TexLawyer :

These are Forth Worth code violations, not Tarrant County, correct?

Customer:

yes city of fort worth

TexLawyer :

OK. Let me try to find them.

TexLawyer :

Do you have the specific wording of the code sections? I have been unable to find them online.

Customer:

yes i do

Customer:

violation code 595 Operating a business; car repair from a residential zoned a-5 Contrary to comprehensive zoning ordinance

Customer:

violation 51001 allowing accumulation of car parts ie engine on property

Customer:

thats all the code compliance officer wrote on my ticket

TexLawyer :

Thanks. That's really what I needed. Up front, I have to tell you that there is no magic bullet to have the cases dismissed. Each case is evaluated individually. You have three basic options, though.

TexLawyer :

First, you can deny everything and request a trial. At that trial, the city would have to prove that you were operating a business in a residential neighborhood, which would be difficult for them to do. The second ticket for accumulation of car parts is obviously much easier. My guess is that the officer took pictures, and those would be used in court.

TexLawyer :

Second, you can pay both tickets. Clearly, the city would have a difficult time proving the operating a busniess ticket, so that may not be the best thing for you.

TexLawyer :

Last, you can contact the city attorney and try to negoiate a deal with them. They will likely dismiss the operating a business ticket if you will pay something on the car parts ticket. You should even be able to get that one reduced if you can show them that you cleaned things up.

TexLawyer :

The third option is the one I would suggest.

Customer:

Do you have an idea of how much each ticket is ?

TexLawyer :

Also, if you do decide to contact the city attorney, make an appointment to see them in person. It is much harder to turn someone down face-to-face.

TexLawyer :

It depends on several factors. have you had similar tickets in the past?

Customer:

No i haven't had any tickets of this sort in the past. but i have been approached before by the code compliance officer about the operating a car business, and i continue to tell him that i'm not running a business but he always insist that i am

TexLawyer :

OK. These tickets can range anywhere between $1 - $2,000. That said, in my experience, for the first ticket, it usually in the $200-300 range. Keep in mind, that can depend on the judge, how "bad" the violation was, etc., but that has been my experience.

TexLawyer :

Do you have any questions?

Customer:

Yes i had another question. For me to have gotten this ticket a neighbor most likely called and complaint and i'm pretty sure i know who it is. But if i were to get my surrounding neighbors to sign a paper like a voucher saying i'm not running a business or leaving excessive car parts around would that help my case get dismissed?

TexLawyer :

Yes. Clearly, any proof you have that you are not operating a business would help you get that ticket dismissed.

TexLawyer :

Does that answer your question? If not, feel free to ask follow up questions.

TexLawyer :

If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer before you go.

Customer:

Thank you sir!

TexLawyer :

Glad to help!

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