EVERY motorist fears being slapped with an irritating parking fine, but if you're willing to fight your corner you may be able to get out of it.
Local councils are obliged to be lenient towards motorists for a number of reasons - and some of them are more bizarre than you might think.
It's not uncommon for a fine to be overturned but don't be surprised if you have to jump through a few hoops to prove your case.
From attending a funeral to asking for directions - your excuse just might be good enough to mean you don't have to pay.
So read on to see if you can use any of the following to avoid your next parking fine.
Going to the toilet
Unfortunately this doesn't mean just any old time nature calls.
If you are going to use the bathroom excuse, you will need to be able to produce evidence to show that you have a relevant medical condition that means you simply had no choice but to park where you did.
Unless you can prove your parking was due to a toilet related medical emergency, claiming you were "busting" just isn't going to fly.
One recent case saw a pensioner escape a £130 fine because he needed the loo.
Asking for directions
If you are unlucky enough to be fined while stopped to ask for directions, you might have a valid excuse.
You could also claim you were stopped to wait for gates to a private property to be opened.
But if any evidence you present contradicts the report from the Civil Enforcement Officer, you'll still be liable to pay the fine.
Picking up a prescription
In the most "urgent" of circumstances, collecting a prescription from the chemist could be reason for illegal parking, but you will have a hard time proving it.
You must show that you had no other option but to park illegally in order to avoid an unacceptable delay and that there were no other parking spaces available.
You can actually get out of a fine if you couldn't see parking restriction signs but you will need to prove that they were blocked by snow, foliage, fallen leaves or flooding.
The same goes for driving in a bus lane - to prove it photographic evidence will be your friend here.
And if you are bold enough to try to claim this one for a fine in an undercover parking area don't expect a positive outcome.
Attending a funeral
You can be excused from a parking fine if you were forced to park unlawfully to attend a funeral.
Parking officers are directed to show sensitivity to the issue at hand and drivers may be exempt from a fine in exceptional circumstances.
But if you park in an "inconsiderate" way, either in a residential zone, in a disabled bay, across a dropped kerb or near to traffic lights or junctions, any ticket appeals will be rejected.
Motorists can also claim recent bereavement as an excuse for illegal parking, but only if attending an official event related to the death like registration.
If you work as a doctor, nurse or health visitor, and you are given a parking fine while attending a patient, you may be able to get out of paying.
You must prove that you were attending an urgent medical call and that there were no legal parking spaces nearby.
Getting a parking fine just after your car has broken down is like rubbing salt into a fresh wound.
But if you can prove that your car needed to be towed or repaired around the same time as the fine, you should get off.
Councils will try to get around this excuse by stating that it is not valid if the breakdown is due to "negligence", so if you run out of petrol or your car is poorly maintained.
Parking officers are often so quick that you can be fined in the time it takes you to leave your car, collect some change for the meter and return to pay.
If this happens, you just need to prove that you didn't leave the vicinity of the car park or street, and a ticket was purchased immediately on your return.
You can also be exempt from fines if you claim to have been unaware of recent rise in the cost of parking in the area, or you put money in the wrong machine.
Evidence of a medical condition, either permanent or temporary, could see you get out of your parking fine.
You will need to provide evidence of the condition, and be sure that your claims are in line with what the parking officer has said about your case.
For any car driven by a diplomatically-registered motorist, they are exempt from all parking fines.
Unfortunately for the majority of us, we aren't lucky enough to be afforded this privilege.