Code Compliance Tickets in Fort Worth
Did You Receive a Ticket for a Code Violation in Fort Worth? Here’s All You Need to Know About Code Violations and Your Next Steps
Are you a Fort Worth resident or visitor to the city who recently received a ticket for a code violation? Were you taken off guard by your ticket and wonder what you can do to mitigate the situation? Are you unaware of the code laws for Fort Worth? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you have come to the right place. For years I have not only studied Fort Worth’s code violations — but I also have helped defend violators in municipal court. You have options when you receive a code violation ticket — and that doesn’t always mean you have to pay the ticket.
Read on to learn about Fort Worth’s code violations and the options you have for moving forward. Keep in mind that sometimes it makes the best sense to go ahead and pay the ticket — but there are many cases in which you have enough evidence to have the ticket reversed in municipal court or to pay a lower ticket fee. The key is acting quickly so that you do not wrack up late fees for failing to pay your code violation ticket. Let’s get started:
What You Need to Know About Fort Worth Code Compliance
Fort Worth code compliance is very detailed, and it’s very easy to violate the law. Here are a few of the categories that you’ll want to pay attention to so that you can avoid getting a ticket:
If you have a pet such as a cat or a dog, you’re going to want to keep the animal contained in your yard with a fence, if possible. What you may not realize is that Fort Worth code allows you to get a ticket if your cat is lingering outside the bounds of your property! In addition, a code enforcer can give you a ticket for failing to keep your pet updated on vaccinations, spaying or neutering it, or failing to license your pet four months old. If you feel a code enforcer has unfairly targeted you and your pet for a code violation, then contact us to gather the evidence. A code enforcer will need physical evidence that your pet was violating the law.
Solid Waste Violations
In Forth Worth, you can receive a code violation for failing to properly dispose of your solid waste — including putting your recycling in the proper bin, disposing of your yard trimmings appropriately, and failing to recycle your electronics properly. You cannot throw a TV into your standard trash, for example. You must bag your yard trimmings or pay for a yard waste cart for $75 a year. Expect to get a ticket if your code enforcer has physical evidence of your trash being non-compliant.
Parking Your Car
You own your property, so you feel like you can park anywhere on it right? That’s wrong according to Forth Worth code. You cannot park any motor vehicle in the front yard or in your side yard — unless that area is a driveway or a paved space. Your code enforcer will issue you a ticket if he or she sees you doing this. So pave the space according to building code laws, or just park in your driveway.
Forgetting to Mow Your Lawn
In Fort Worth, code enforcers will give you a ticket for failing to mow your lawn. That’s because high grass is a fire hazard in hot Texas temperatures. You must keep your lawn under 12 inches. If an enforcer gives you a ticket for grass that is above 12 inches, then you will have ten full days to cut it. If you fail to do this, the enforcer will unleash a city contractor to mow your lawn and then charge you — about $250 for an average residential lawn. This is a real problem in Fort Worth, and this is an area in which we can really help you out. Failing to mow your lawn creates a snowball effect in violations, so make sure you contact us immediately for help. If you fail to act the City of Forth Worth could place a lien against your property.
Do you have a junk vehicle on your property? The code enforcers of Fort Worth can slap you with a fine as high as about $200. In addition, your vehicle — your property — could be towed away without your approval. So if you have a junk vehicle and you want to make sure you can keep it on your property, you must be able to prove that it has a current license plate and can pass state motor vehicle inspection standards. If it is not working and it has been on your private property for more than 20 days in a row, one of the city code enforcers may issue you a ticket. Our attorneys can help you navigate the nuances of this situation — including providing documentation to the municipal court to prove the vehicle meets standards even though it looks like a junk car. There are steps you can take to protect your property from being towed away.
Are You a Landlord Neglecting Your Rental Property?
If you are a landlord that has let a few things slide at your Fort Worth rental property, then you should be prepared to face some violations from code enforcers. They will send officers to investigate whether your property is meeting standards for building, electrical, and plumbing codes. Many of these violations can be addressed by providing the municipal court with documentation of your improvements to the property. Some of the violations actually may not be violations but simply what the code enforcer subjectively sees as a potential violation.
Haul it Away
Much like the violations for solid waste, Fort Worth has a strict policy on junk and debris accumulating on your private or public property. This can be subjective and fought in a court of low. This is a violation area that is particularly interesting to navigate because the fees are so high. You can face a $2,000 fine for garbage, junk, furniture, car parts and old appliances in plain view on your property if you fail to clean up your property after an official warning. Much like the protocol for addressing unneeded high grass, Fort Worth will issue a forced clean out on your property, which could result in a lien against your property. A good attorney can help fight your violation, however. Where is the unsightly junk? Is it behind your house at the end of your property or is it in your front yard? An attorney can build your defense and help prove that the extra items on your property are not a threat to public safety — which really is the main goal of the city’s code enforcers.
Are You a Local Grocer?
Did you know that if you own a grocery store or neighborhood market, you can get a ticket if your shopping carts are found abandoned in the city? Fort Worth code requires you to try to reclaim the shopping carts that your customers wheel off and then toss. It’s not fair, but it’s the law — and there are ways that your attorney can prove that your violation is unfair because of your efforts in trying to reclaim your carts. For example, perhaps you have implemented a team of people to go out and find missing carts once a week. This proves your compliance with the law. You simply cannot be expected to find every cart that goes missing from your store, as you are lending them to your customers in good faith.
Your Options When You Get a Code Compliance Violation
When you receive a ticket for a code violation, it can feel overwhelming and even scary. Dealing with the court of law in Fort Worth is a serious deal, but you can navigate it easily with the help of an attorney who is invested in municipal law. You have several options when facing a code compliance ticket. You can pay for the ticket outright using a personal check, a major credit card (VISA, American Express, Discover or MasterCard) or via a money order or cashier’s check. If you need a payment extension, you must appear in person at the municipal court to ask for one. You will need to fill out an extension application and the supporting documentation listed in the application. You will appear before a judge to ask for the payment extension. If you work with me or any other attorney in my office, we will do this on your behalf and guide you through the process of fighting the ticket — should you later decide you do not believe you are in full violation.
If you choose to go that route, we will begin building your case with the physical and primary evidence you have. Begin documenting your property and the violation area with a camera. Your code enforcer will need to have physical evidence to prove that you truly were in violation. For example, if your grass was 12.5 inches high, and you received a ticket, then we will need to see the code enforcer’s photograph with a ruler documenting the actual height of the grass. If your code enforcer did not do his or her detailed job in this area, then we have a way to fight your ticket. This is just one example of many that we can help you navigate in the Fort Worth courts. Many residents and visitors to the city don’t realize that they really aren’t in violation and that they really don’t have to pay the full ticket. Courts and code enforcers — called Rangers in Fort Worth — can bully people into paying unnecessary fines. So let us help you know your rights.
Are You Ready to Tackle That Code Enforcement Ticket?
When I say now is the time to act on your violation, I really mean it. You can accrue unnecessary and possibly irreversible fees for ignoring your code enforcement violation ticket in Fort Worth or failing to pay it on time. Those fees are not something the court usually will waive, but an attorney on your side will try to do all he or she can to get your ticket down to the lowest possible fee. You have to do your part, however. When you receive a ticket of any kind in Fort Worth, you’ll need to move quickly and contact an attorney as soon as possible if you are wanting to fight the violation. Many people go ahead and pay the ticket fee — but keep in mind that this is not always fair to you, as there may be legitimate and easy ways to get your ticket reversed in the court of law.
You will need to be willing to put in the time with a trusted lawyer like me who knows the courts and the nuances of the Fort Worth code. Who knew that you could get a ticket for being a little late in mowing your lawn or parking a vehicle you own on the side of your yard. Those Fort Worth code enforcers are out with the ticketing machines, so either know the code and avoid violating it, pay the ticket for a possibly unfair violation, or contact your local, trusted attorney to help guide you through the process of trying to get the ticket reversed. You’ll not only learn a lot about your local court system and how the gavel of justice can swing — but you just may find your wallet with a little extra money in it today! Call us today to get your free consultation and learn what your options are for tackling that annoying Fort Worth code compliance ticket!