Parking Facts

How to avoid a parking citation.

Page updated on Oct 30, 2017 at 10:32 AM

Parking Facts: Avoiding a Parking Citation

Avoiding the Most Common Citations

The citations listed below are some of the most common parking citations issued in the City. The information provided may help vehicle owners, especially those new to the City and/or the Commonwealth, avoid these citations.

1. Failure to Display a Current City Decal 

Every vehicle normally parked, stored, or garaged in the City must be registered for the City's personal property tax and display a current City decal. Upon moving into the City or purchasing a new vehicle, a vehicle owner has 30 days to register with the City, purchase a City decal, and place the City decal on his or her vehicle's windshield. The City decal must be replaced each year by November 15. Citations for failure to display a City decal or for displaying an expired decal cannot be paid until the vehicle owner provides proof that he or she has purchased a City decal. (Payment for these citations must, therefore, be submitted in person or by mail.)

Note: Proof of purchase does not constitute proof of display.

2. Failure to Display Current State Inspection Sticker or License Plate 

Upon moving into Virginia or purchasing a new vehicle, vehicle owners have 30 days to register with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and purchase a license plate.

Every vehicle operating in Virginia must pass an annual safety inspection and display a valid safety inspection sticker. Generally, all new car dealerships perform inspections. Many garages that repair vehicles are also licensed to perform inspections and will display a large white sign with blue lettering designating them as official inspection stations. Many businesses advertise inspection services in the local phone directory. To find safety inspection stations near you, you can also contact the Safety Division Area Office for Northern Virginia by email or by phone at 703.803.2622. The cost for a safety inspection is $16 for motor vehicles and recreation vehicles or $12 for motorcycles.

Note: Proof of purchase does not constitute proof of display.

3. Licensed Plate Covered 

Virginia law states, "No colored glass, colored plastic, or any other type of covering shall be placed, mounted, or installed on or over any license plate if such glass, plastic, or other type of covering in any way alters or obscures: (i) the alphanumeric information; (ii) the color of the plate; (iii) the name or abbreviated name of the state wherein the vehicle is registered; or (iv) any character or characters, decal stamp, or other devise indicating the month or year in which the vehicle's registration expires."

4. Parking in Spaces Reserved for Persons with a Disability 

Disabled parking spaces need only be marked by signs. No marking on the pavement is required.

5. Expired Meter/No Meter Receipt Displayed 

There is no grace period allowed after the expiration of a parking meter. Parking Enforcement Officers must cite a vehicle if the meter has expired, regardless of how much or how little time has passed since expiration.

Vehicles parked in spaces covered by the City's multi-space meters must have a meter receipt displayed on the dashboard in such a way that the date and time information is clearly visible from outside the vehicle.

If using Pango, the City's mobile parking app, the vehicle operator is responsible for entering all information correctly, as well as starting and stopping the parking session at the appropriate times. If a citation is issued as the result of a Pango user error, the citation is valid. 

6. Parking without a Current Residential Parking Permit 

In 1979, the Alexandria City Council designated certain areas in the City as residential permit parking districts. Council established these parking districts because of the increased demand for parking. The residential permit parking ordinance prohibits on-street parking for more than two or three hours during varying time periods. The City's Transportation Division posts signs in each block of the parking districts describing the time limits and hours of enforcement. Vehicles displaying the appropriate parking permits are exempt from these restrictions.

Vehicle owners who live in residential parking districts can obtain residential parking permits at the Treasury Division, 301 King Street, Room 1510, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The vehicle owner must present proof of residency (e.g., copy of a lease) within the permit parking district for which he or she wishes to obtain a permit. This permit can only be obtained after registration for the personal property tax and purchase of the City decal. The residential parking permit must be replaced on or before the expiration date each year. As of 2010, the fee for the residential parking permit is $30 for the first vehicle, $40 for the second vehicle, and $100 for each additional vehicle.

If a resident of a residential parking permit district has a temporary rental or loaner vehicle other than the vehicle that is registered with the City, he or she must obtain a visitor's permit for the vehicle before parking it on the street. Residents may obtain temporary permits for rental/loaner vehicles or their visitors' vehicle(s) at the Treasury Division, 301 King Street, Room 1510 during regular business hours. The "Visitor" permit is valid for a maximum of 30 days. The permit is not renewable, and no more than two "Visitor" permits will be issued to the same residence at the same time. The fee for "Visitor" permits issued for more than seven enforceable days is $5.

Note: Proof of purchase does not constitute proof of display.

Citation Errors

On occasion, the vehicle owner may believe the ticket was issued in error and request the citation be reviewed by the Police Department in lieu of scheduling a hearing date.  Accordingly, the Police Department has identified instances in which a review will be conducted and the ticket possibly voided.  However, the Police Department reserves the right to deny the request and require the vehicle owner to either pay the ticket or contest it in the General District Court. Tickets eligible for review are limited to:

  • Parking Ticket issued for “Parking Contrary to Direction of Official Sign” or “Handicapped Parking” but signs were not displayed or improper signage.
  • Parking Ticket issued to incorrect tag number.
  • Parking Ticket issued for City Tag or Residential Parking violations but vehicle owner has proof the tag or permit was displayed in accordance with City Code. Or, the decal or permit was stolen and the Citizen has reported it as required.
  • Parking Ticket issued for “Expired Meter”, but vehicle owner has on line receipt from Pango for the time issued.
  • Parking Ticket issued for “Expired Meter”, but the meter was broken.
  • Parking Ticket issued for City Tag violation, but the vehicle is not housed in the City of Alexandria.

If you feel a citation was issued to you in error, you can report it here using the City's Call.Click.Connect. system.

Additional Important Parking Facts

  1. No vehicle may be parked less than 15 feet from any corner.
  2. No vehicle may be parked less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant.
  3. It is illegal to park a vehicle on the City streets for more than 72 consecutive hours.
  4. In time restricted spaces, a vehicle may not occupy the same parking space more than once in any 24-hour period.
  5. Commercial vehicles cannot be parked overnight in residential areas.
  6. It is illegal to perform repair or maintenance on a vehicle parked on the street or in a public parking lot.
  7. Vehicles must be parked with the right side of the vehicle parallel to the curb unless the street is designated as "one way."
  8. In Virginia, it is illegal to transfer ownership of a vehicle without removing the license plates.
  9. If a vehicle is booted, the responsibility is on the owner to resolve the issue.
  10. Citations can be avoided by not parking on a block longer than the permitted time.

Non-Registered Vehicles on Private Property

f you are concerned about vehicles which may not be properly registered with the City parking on a private lot you own or manage, or on private property you own or manage, please fill out the following form to allow Tag and Parking Enforcement Personnel to patrol the property. Return the completed form to the Alexandria Police Department Parking Enforcement Unit.