Chicago Parking Tickets: An Overview (Including Important Information On Red Light and Camera Tickets)
March 26, 2019
You’re in a hurry, trying to run one quick errand during lunch before rushing back to the office for your busy afternoon – you stop for just 5 minutes to pick up dry cleaning and on your way out – OH NO, there it is… that all too familiar, dreaded paper notice sits under your windshield. You have a Chicago parking ticket. Whether it’s due to illegal parking in a restricted zone, or an overstay at your meter, Chicago parking tickets can not only ruin your day, but if left unresolved they can jeopardize your driving privileges, or worse. Unpaid Chicago parking tickets can possibly get your car booted, get your license suspended, or even give the city a legal right to garnish your tax refunds in some cases. And while a great number of people show less concern about Chicago parking tickets, as they are not moving violations, it may come as a surprise to many to find out that unpaid Chicago parking tickets can possibly lead to higher insurance rates. It’s a slippery slope because unpaid Chicago parking tickets can have a negative impact on your credit score if they are given over to a third party for collection, and if your credit score drops your insurance agency may raise your insurance rates. And sadly, thousands of people in Chicago have been forced into bankruptcy for unpaid Chicago parking tickets. The city rakes in over $200M of revenue per year on parking tickets, with some years exceeding a quarter of a billion dollars, and with a haul like that there is no reason to believe that ticketing will decrease, but in fact it will more than likely increase as technology makes it easier every year to ticket citizens.
One particular job survey of individuals in various employment programs revealed that over half of the people with suspended driver’s licenses due to Chicago parking tickets either lost their job or opportunity to secure a job because of the tickets. Many people have no idea that their parking tickets have gotten out of hand and may not even learn of the problem until they are informed by a police officer in a traffic stop. And this is not the way to find out, because it could then be possible to lose your car or worse – go to jail. As you can see, Chicago parking tickets are no joke, and for all of the aforementioned reasons they are a problem you absolutely need to deal with sooner as opposed to later.
By this point, you’re certainly realizing the gravity of unpaid Chicago parking tickets, and are probably saying to yourself right now, “I wonder if I have unpaid tickets I don’t know about?” If you are unsure, the first and best step you can take is to do some digging and check with the appropriate city office to ensure that your record is clear. Even just a few unpaid Chicago parking tickets can potentially wreak havoc on your financial record, which can snowball and make many areas of your life more difficult. You don’t want this to happen; therefore it is critically important to take care of any unpaid Chicago parking tickets right away. The city’s official website is a good place to start digging and you can access lots of information here: www.chicago.gov
The site features helpful information on red light and automated speed enforcement cameras, and provides a handy search feature that allows Chicago drivers to pay tickets; check their status; or search for parking, red light, and automated speed enforcement tickets.
CHICAGO PARKING TICKETS: GENERAL INFORMATION
It’s clear that a ‘simple parking ticket’ isn’t always simple. There are many issues to consider, from how to pay a single ticket and where, what to do if your car has been impounded by the city, how a bankruptcy might affect the tickets you’ve accrued, what are your legal rights, and what are the worst case scenarios. We know it can all be a bit overwhelming, and that’s why Robert J. Adams & Associates is there for you when the use of bankruptcy is the best solution. Come in for a consultation and we’ll let you know what we can do to fight for you. Often people have similar questions right at the start, so we’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions below, for your convenience.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
I AM GETTING PARKING TICKETS IN MY NAME FOR A VEHICLE I DON’T OWN. WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THAT?
If you don’t own the vehicle for which you are receiving parking tickets or mail regarding unpaid tickets, obviously there is an administrative issue that must be straightened out. Don’t assume the problem will simply work itself out. If you are receiving tickets you must take action and clear the matter. The city of Chicago has a parking ticket helpline that you can call to inquire about the issue. They can assist you with the matter and advise you on how to contest the tickets, or they may be able to review all records and tickets, and possibly resolve the ownership issue. Additionally, you might find assistance by contacting the Secretary of State.
WHY DID I GET A TICKET? I WAS PARKED AT A METER WITH TIME STILL ON IT!
You may have received a ticket for parking over your allowed limit. Some meters are for a set amount of hours. If there is a maximum allowable parking time for the space, you are required to move your car after the time has expired. You may not, for example, put more quarters in to extend your time; if it’s a 2-hour maximum, then you must move your car when two hours have expired to allow other motorists to have an opportunity to park in that space.
MY CAR IS REGISTERED OUTSIDE OF CHICAGO. DO I STILL HAVE TO DISPLAY A CITY STICKER ON IT?
For as long as you remain a resident of Chicago you will be required to display a city sticker. Residents are defined as people who own or rent property in Chicago, regardless of whether or not Chicago is their primary home. Just moved to the city? New residents must obtain and subsequently display their city sticker within 30 days.
WHERE DO I PAY MY PARKING TICKETS?
The city of Chicago depends on parking ticket revenue and as such wants to make it as easy as possible for you to pay your Chicago parking tickets; there are multiple payment center locations across the city. Certain locations are set up to handle payment for parking, red light, and automated speed enforcement tickets, as well as deal with booted vehicles and driver’s license suspensions due to unpaid tickets. It is important to note that in-person payments are required if your vehicle was booted or if your driver’s license was suspended due to unpaid tickets. The link below will take you to the area of the Chicago.gov site in which you can find more information, as well as link to a convenient map of the many EZ Pay Stations in the greater Chicago area. www.chicago.gov
WHERE CAN I FIND RELOCATED & TOWED VEHICLE INFORMATION?
If your car has been towed or impounded, you want answers right away. Having your car towed is a stressful event that most of us have gone through at one time or another. And though we hope it will never happen, or never happen again, it sometimes does. Chicago is a sprawling city and you’ll want to use the city’s website to track your car’s location in case it has been towed. The linked page below will provide information on towing fees, boot fees, storage fees, and more. www.chicago.gov
HOW MUCH ARE CHICAGO PARKING TICKETS, RED LIGHT TICKETS, NON-COMPLIANCE TICKETS, ETC.?
Tickets in Chicago are varied and the city code list of types of tickets is a long one. While there are many tickets issued for various non-compliance issues such as broken lamps that might cost you only $25, there are multiple tickets that cost upward of $100, with some of the costlier heading up to $250 and even higher. However for tickets related specifically to parking, most range from $50 to $250. The bottom line is that tickets can quickly mount up and you may find yourself in a difficult financial situation.
For your convenience, the Chicago.gov website has compiled a list of parking, standing, and compliance fines, as well as automated red light and speed violations that can be issued to a vehicle for failure to meet the legal requirements. For more information, and to view the list, click on the link below. www.chicago.gov
IS THERE A STATUTE OF LIMITATION ON TICKETS?
There is no statute of limitation on Chicago parking tickets. It may be out of sight out of mind to you, but it is not forgotten. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but in regard to parking tickets, Chicago is the city that never forgets. Many people are surprised when they receive a letter in the mail from the city demanding payment for a Chicago parking ticket from 20 years ago, but it happens.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO PAY TICKETS?
As is true with most problems in life, it’s generally better to deal with them right away as opposed to letting them linger. In Chicago, you have three (3) months to pay parking tickets. Late payments may double your fine, so take the initiative and pay them off right away when you get them.
IF I CONTEST OR CHALLENGE MY TICKET, WILL THAT GIVE ME SOME MORE TIME TO PAY IT OFF?
This is perhaps one of the most common totally incorrect assumptions that many Chicagoans make. Contesting a ticket does not buy you extra time to pay. And depending on the situation, if you’re found to be liable you could possibly be billed even quicker. Chicago has several payment plans and you may qualify for one, so do some investigation and find out if you can make payments, but never assume you will ever be granted an extension to pay your tickets regardless of any circumstance.
ARE THERE ANY DEFENSES FOR CHALLENGING OR CONTESTING PARKING TICKETS THAT ACTUALLY WORK?
Yes, absolutely, the Municipal Code of Chicago allows for many defenses against parking and compliance tickets. The Chicago.gov website has a long list that you can review.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY BOOT HEARING?
Having your vehicle booted is a pretty frustrating experience, an experience that you can hopefully avoid always. However, tickets can accumulate and you may find that you’ve been booted. If you feel that you have a case to contest then you may qualify for a boot hearing. You should come to your hearing prepared. Obtain a print out of all the violations that pertain to the booted vehicle’s license plate. You can gather this information from the Department of Revenue cashier at any of the designated hearing facilities.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF I DON’T PAY MY PARKING TICKETS?
Unpaid tickets are a roll of the dice. You might get lucky and have your ticket slip through the administrative cracks, but don’t count on it. The city of Chicago is hardcore and diligent when it comes to collecting that parking ticket revenue and if you don’t pay you will more than likely find yourself in a bad situation. In fact, just 2 unpaid tickets could get your car booted or impounded, or even give the city the authority to suspend your license altogether. Don’t take the risk; pay off those tickets when you get them. However, if you do find yourself in trouble regarding your Chicago parking tickets, or have had your license suspended, etc., contact Robert J. Adams & Associates to speak with one of our skilled attorneys. We can help you assess your case and work toward a solution.
COULD I REALLY GO TO JAIL FOR UNPAID PARKING TICKETS?
In most cases, the answer is no. Most people will not be looking at jail time for unpaid parking tickets; however, there are exceptions always. Do you really want to take the risk of going to jail? We are sure you’ll answer no to that question, so be aware of your driving record and be aware of the laws. Some possible situations or violations that might lead to potential jail time are: if you’re caught driving on a suspended license, tampering or removing the boot on your car (considered trespassing or theft of city property), and parking in a handicap space. While parking in a handicap space is a misdemeanor, and many people, unfortunately, violate this law, is this really a risk you want to take?
WILL MY PARKING TICKETS GO ON MY CREDIT REPORT?
In most cases, you don’t have to be overly concerned with a parking ticket impacting your credit report, but there are times in which the city may refer your case to a collection agency or perhaps obtain a judgment against you for the unpaid tickets. If these situations occur, you could possibly see them affect your credit report.
I’VE HEARD ABOUT A ‘FRESH START’ PROGRAM. DOES THAT APPLY TO ME?
You may qualify for Chicago’s Fresh Start Payment Plan Program. Depending on your particular situation you could possibly find relief regarding parking tickets, red light tickets, standing compliance, automated speed enforcement (cameras), and automated traffic law enforcement (cameras). If you find yourself with a ticket problem or issue, contact us at Robert J. Adams & Associates. One of our qualified attorneys will be happy to speak with you about your Chicago parking, compliance, red light or camera ticket issue.
CAN PARKING TICKETS AND/OR RED LIGHT AND/OR CAMERA TICKETS BE DISCHARGED IN A BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING?
No one wants to go through a bankruptcy. A bankruptcy can be stressful and emotional; however, sometimes a bankruptcy is the best solution and can offer significant relief to an individual who has exhausted other options. The city of Chicago considers bankruptcy and takes it into account regarding some Chicago parking tickets and ticket situations; thus the answer is yes, it may be possible to eliminate some of your tickets. Robert J. Adams & Associates has a tremendous amount of experience in this area and we have helped many clients reach successful conclusions to their bankruptcy and ticket problems. Take a look at our website to get more information on these and other issues.
Disclaimer: Posting on legal matters is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
For more information or to schedule a consultation right away, call Robert J. Adams & Associates today and speak to one of our skilled attorneys.