I am confused about a parking ticket and hoping you can help me out. I recently parked in a lot in downtown Medford for less than half an hour before leaving to do business at the county courthouse. I drove back to the same parking lot late that afternoon, parked in a different space — and received a ticket within a half hour. I was in the lot for less than an hour. Yet I have a $15 ticket stating I parked longer than the three-hour limit. How can this be? And how can I fight this?

I am confused about a parking ticket and hoping you can help me out. I recently parked in a lot in downtown Medford for less than half an hour before leaving to do business at the county courthouse. I drove back to the same parking lot late that afternoon, parked in a different space — and received a ticket within a half hour. I was in the lot for less than an hour. Yet I have a $15 ticket stating I parked longer than the three-hour limit. How can this be? And how can I fight this?

— Lynne S. Rogue River

Perplexed about parking, Lynne? We feel your pain, and took your complaint right to Lynnette O'Neal, assistant deputy city manager.

O'Neal said there are three basic options with a parking ticket. You can simply pay the fine. Or you can pay the fine and write the judge a letter of explanation. Or you can pay the fine and ask for a trial. Do you see the same theme we do?

Seriously, if a judge agrees you were wrongfully ticketed, your money will be refunded.

As to your question about leaving and returning and time that passed — or did not pass — we refer you to the confusing text in Medford's municipal code 6.330 regarding prohibited parking. The code states in part that no person shall park a vehicle on a street or in a city parking facility longer than the time limited by official signs for parking, or on a street or in a city parking facility on or in the same square block for more than one limited time period per day. In determining whether a vehicle has been parked in violation of this subsection;

(a) The period to be considered shall begin when the vehicle is parked in a particular limited time zone on a particular square block; and

(b) The period shall continue whether or not the vehicle is moved into another limited time zone on the same square block; however,

(c) The period shall be terminated if the vehicle is moved and parked on a different square block, at which time a new period shall begin as stated in (a);

Clear as mud? We thought so, too. Thankfully, O'Neal said, the city has its own questions about the code's clarity on this issue.

"That's one of the codes that we are really looking at for possible revision," she said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.