Man not allowed to pay $25 parking ticket with 2500 pennies

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But that’s what they’re paid for isn’t it? Why else would anyone work with money?


Legal tender good for all debts public and private…of course…they could make you wait while they count it.


I find the attitude facinating: “I broke the law, got caught, and because I’m upset at the second fact, I’m going to be a big baby and try to be as difficult as possible to anyone I can try to associate with this issue”


The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”
This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

Although in the UK, apparently the Coinage Act of 1971 only allows you to use twenty pennies in a single transaction.

Subject to any provision made by proclamation under section 3 of this Act, coins of cupro-nickel, silver or bronze shall be legal tender as follows—

(a)coins of cupro-nickel or silver of denominations of more than 10 pence, for payment of any amount not exceeding £10;

(b)coins of cupro-nickel or silver of denominations of not more than 10 pence, for payment of any amount not exceeding £5;

©coins of bronze, for payment of any amount not exceeding 20 pence.


Apparently, there is some history and legality for not accepting small coins and bills. The federal limit was removed in 1965, however, and businesses must post their legal-tender-exceptions prominently.

That would not, I believe, apply to a governmental entity.

Up until the late 19th century, pennies and nickels weren’t legal tender at all. The Coinage Acts of 1873 and 1879 made them legal tender for debts up to 25 cents only, while the other fractional coins (dimes, quarters, and half dollars) were legal tender for amounts up to $10. This remained the law until the Coinage Act of 1965 specified that all U.S. coins are legal tender in any amount. However, even in cases where legal tender has been agreed to as a form of payment, private businesses are still free to specify which forms of legal tender they will accept. If a shop doesn’t want to take any currency larger than $20 bills, or they don’t want to take pennies at all, or they want to be paid in nothing but dimes, they’re entitled to do so (but, as mentioned earlier, they should specify their payment policies before entering into transactions with buyers). Businesses are free to accept or reject pennies as they see fit; no law specifies that pennies cease to be considered legal tender when proffered in quantities over a particular amount. (Snopes)

I’ve never heard of the penny-and-nickel exception; which is not surprising, since it expired 5 years before I was born.


I mean, at least 5 years before I was born. WHO KNOWS.


Like MLK writing letters from jail – the big ol’ crybaby! It was the law, he broke it, too bad, so sad, don’t let this nightstick hit you on the way down.

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Are you really comparing Martin Luther King, Jr to someone who parked in the wrong place? Was it parking civil disobedience?


It’s only polite to wait anyway, even if they don’t ask. You will have already taken this wait time into account as part of the legitimisation of your action. And if they say they won’t count it now, then you’re released from the obligation of having to wait.

No, I’m comparing him to somebody who protested what he considered the levying of an unjust fine with a legal payment; the act of parking was not the protest, the form of payment was.

Are you the arbiter of what is considered valid civil disobedience?

Is one act more important to most people than the other? Yes.

But does this mean that the other act is not important, or valid?

Does this mean that we can trump any complaint of yours with the answer “ah, but it’s not as important as what MLK worked on, so please go away” ? And since he was dealing with untold numbers of murders, that would include armed intruders killing your family in front of you. “Yes, that must be distressing, but you must admit it pales when compared to the struggle for Civil Rights in this country. We’ll get back to you when you have real problems.”

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Surely the issue here is that

  1. He is guilty of the offence
  2. The offence itself is bullshit

He has to pay the fine, but he can register his disappointment in a non violent way.

When I lived in Delaware, someone tried to pay their property taxes this way.

A parking ticket is not an injustice. Although it’s common to regard an unwanted expense as unfair a modest fine for parking a vehicle illegally is a mere inconvenience and not an injustice. Paying the fine in pennies is more “being an asshole to the cashier” than it is “civil disobedience.” Is it going to have any effect in getting the parking regulations changed? That is highly doubtful. More likely the cashier is going to say to her family over dinner or her co-workers over drinks: “Some asshole came in with 2500 pennies today.” and that will be the end of it.

I thought about paying a parking ticket in coins when I got one, and, honestly, my motive was spite and not to make society better, but paying the fine with my debit card from the comfort of my desk turned out to be the better option once the initial sense of outrage over the ticket wore off.

Once I wrote a letter and got a ticket excused on the basis of confusing signage and that was an effective action, but that’s another story.


Gosh, it’s not even as bad as sitting on the wrong half of the Woolworth’s lunch counter!

#Those assholes!

Won’t somebody think of the fry-cooks?!?

You know what? I’ve reconsidered it: I once ran a stop-sign, and I was wrong, and I paid my ticket.

So based on my personal experience of being wrong, this guy must have been wrong too, and should shut up and pay.

Also, he shouldn’t eat at Woolworth’s lunch counter, 'cuz that place is hella racist.

Thank you for elaborating while I wasn’t incessantly checking posts.
I think you’ve said a lot of my thoughts. There is no injustice in a parking ticket, unless they’re only being issued based on an arbitrary point (age/condition of car, only in the part of the city on the “wrong” side of the tracks).
I don’t really get what he is protesting…according to the article “It was about how belittled I felt because of being parked this way and being charged so much when it wasn’t inconveniencing anyone”
So he’s protesting the fact he felt belittled? Or that the parking regulations don’t have a clause that requires “inconveniencing someone” in order to receive the ticket?
As noted, this was a “protest” in an attempt to be the biggest ass possible, not a protest or action of disobedience meant to create change.


No, as the article says: “He said he parked on the wrong side of the street”

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No, in the UK up to twenty pennies are considered legal tender, which means they have to be accepted as payment for a debt. It says nothing about how two parties decide to transact, which could be to buy a car with a million pennies, 12 cattle and a bag of boiled sweets.

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Really? Paying a parking ticket in pennies equals Letter from the Birmingham Jail? Oh the humanity!

No, you’re right, civil disobedience is always about being an asshole, unless it has received a seal of approval from the powers-that-be.