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How Long can a PCN be Issued After the Offence? The Facts.

Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

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· Jun 10th, 2024
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How Long can a PCN be Issued After the Offence

Have you been given a penalty charge notice (PCN) and do you think it’s been too long since the offence? This article is here to help you. Each month, more than 32,000 people come here for advice on tickets and fines. It’s normal to feel worried, but we’re going to help you understand the facts.

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • What a PCN is and why you might get one.
  • How to challenge a PCN and possibly avoid the fine.
  • The rules about when a PCN can be served.
  • What happens if you win or lose an appeal against a PCN.
  • Whether it’s worth paying your PCN early.

Our team gets how it feels to get a PCN, and we’re here to help you understand what to do. Let’s dive in and learn more about your PCN.

Do You Have to Pay?

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

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When would a PCN be served?

When a PCN is “served” depends on certain things. For example, were you handed the penalty by a parking warden? If so, you were ‘served’ the penalty straight away!

But when the offence is recorded on camera, things change. You get the PCN through your letterbox! Along with other unwanted mail!

When it’s served by post, a PCN should arrive at your address no later than 28 days after the alleged offence!

The issuer must request the driver’s details from the DVLA within 14 days of the violation. But if the details are not forthcoming because the DVLA is slow to respond, a penalty charge could be served months down the line!

Confused? Join the club!

How long can the issuer chase me for a PCN?

The issuer could chase you for years if a PCN goes unpaid. But the likelihood of this happening is pretty low. Penalty Charge Notices are backed by law.

It means an issuer doesn’t have to pursue you through the courts for payment. No, all they need to get is a Warrant of Execution and bailiffs do the rest! It’s best not to let things get this far.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

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Now, is it worth paying PCN early?

There are several advantages to paying a PCN within fourteen days. First, you get to pay 50% less than the original penalty. Second, you don’t have to deal with the problem anymore!

What’s the PCN payment process, you may ask?

All payment details are listed on the penalty charge notice. Online payment methods are the easiest, which means visiting the issuer’s website. Most authorities have dedicated online payment pages!

You must provide the following information however you pay the penalty:

  • Vehicle registration number (VRN)
  • Penalty charge notice reference number

Payment options include most major credit cards and bank cards.

Need to know if you can challenge a PCN?

The answer is yes. You can challenge the fine when you feel the PCN is wrong or the details are incorrect. But you must lodge the appeal within a time limit which depends on how the PCN is served.

  • You must file an appeal within 14 days of being handed a PCN or when it’s left on your windscreen, but
  • The deadline for filing an appeal when the PCN is served by post is 21 days!

Moreover, there’s a process to follow, which means:

  • Making a first informal appeal, followed by
  • Formal representations

If an appeal is rejected, you can opt to appeal the decision to an independent adjudicator (it’s a tribunal).

Was your PCN issued outside London? Then you’ll have to appeal the decision with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Did you get the fine in London? Then it’s London Tribunals who deal with your appeal.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

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What excuse could you have to challenge the PCN?

Having the right approach to challenging a PCN could make all the difference. So I put together a template on how to do this!

So, what excuse could you use? How about:

  • You didn’t commit an offence in the first place
  • Your car broke down, and you were waiting for a tow truck
  • You couldn’t pay to park because the payment machine was broken
  • You had an emergency which prevented you from returning to your car
  • You got the PCN through the post well after 14 days had elapsed

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

What happens when my appeal against the PCN is successful?

The penalty charge notice is cancelled when your appeal is successful. It means the issuer won’t chase you for payment anymore, and you’re off the hook!

What happens if the issuer rejects my appeal against the PCN?

There’s always a good chance an appeal against a PCN gets rejected, which is always depressing. The issuer sends you a Notice of Rejection which you’re supposed to respond to by paying the fine or taking the matter further.

Note: Don’t ignore the notice but decide whether to pay the fine or continue your appeal. Do this within 28 days of getting the notice, though.

Need more information about penalty charge notices?

Why not check out my other posts on penalty charge notices? I’ve covered lots of aspects which could answer any more questions you may have about these annoying fines!

I hope you found the information I provided usefully and that you now know how to deal with a PCN when you get one.

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.


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The authors
Janine Marsh Thrifty Family
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.