Parking Ticket 101- Know The Law!
Now that you’ve received your ticket, and looked over and documented the parking environment where you received the ticket, it’s time to start preparing your defense.
The first thing to do is to look up and read the law.
The great thing about the internet age, is that you can access city of Chicago municipal code right from your computer.
Before, you had to haul your ass down to the local library and try to locate the arm bustingly heavy, black bound tomes that contain all of Chicago’s municipal laws, rules and regulations.
Now all of it available online.
For easy reference, here is a list in summary form, of all parking related violation in Chicago.
So go ahead and look on your ticket for the exact code violation in the municipal code.
You can either browse to your violation, or do a search by the specific violation number. If you don’t see your violation number just browsing, do a search.
Take the time to read through the code.
Look, I know you’re not Denny Crane or Perry Mason. I understand you’re not an attorney. But you’re a reasonably intelligent person (you wouldn’t be reading this website if you were a moron) and can understand this if you just go slow and read through it a few times. It may take you 5, 6, 10 times to do so, but it will be worth it.
Look, if a dolt like me can do it, you can certainly can do it too.
Because if the violation on the ticket does not accurately represent what the law says, and you can prove and/or argue that this wasn’t the case, you should beat the ticket.
The reason you need to know the law you’re fighting is because many hearing officers DO NOT KNOW the law.
One would think, someone who is an attorney, who is presiding over hearings and/or adjudicating parking tickets as their job–part-time or otherwise–would be intimate with this municipal code.
While there are many fine, knowledgeable hearing officers, a great number–a shockingly great number–DO NOT KNOW the law.
I have had to cite the law to hearing officers many a time. In addition, when waiting to have my hearings, I have listened to many hearing officers offer erroneous interpretation of the laws.
I guess I shouldn’t be shocked, we live in Chicago.
But let it put it this way. If a goof like me, a true dumbass, non-lawyer, knows the law better than a lawyer whom spent three years and thousands of dollars for law school and who is paid to adjudicate this area of the law, something is wrong, wrong, WRONG!!!
Let me give you a few examples of how knowledge of the code has helped.
1-A reader was parked at an address in a Non-Central Business District, but was ticketed for “Central Business District” (aka Downtown). When he pointed this out to the hearing officer, it was dismissed. Knowing the law let him beat the ticket.
2-I’ve been ticketed for parking 20 feet from a cross walk. But if you read the law, a sign must be posted. My photos showed no sign so the ticket got tossed.
3- A buddy of mine drives a delivery van for a living. He was parked in a loading zone and was inside a building dropping off some boxes. When he got back, he had a ticket. But the law allows for 30 minutes of time to unload your delivery. He fought, told his story and won.
For all these reasons, you should at least read over the violation listed on your ticket in the municipal code, so you can be better prepared for your hearing or to quote in your contest letter.