Parking Ticket 101: Move Your Car Weekly

I know a lot of you folks like to find that perfect parking spot in front of our apartment or home, and then leave your car there for days on end.

Perhaps you take public transportation to work and don’t need to drive during the week or you have another car you drive more often.

The problem is during the winter, it’s much easier for cops or PEAs or Streets & Sanitation workers, or nosy neighbors whom make it a hobby of complaining to their alderman’s office,  to spot that car that has not been moved for seven days.

That’s because it’s the only snow covered car on the block!

And this is like an open invitation for getting a ticket.

You see, according to the municipal code:

9-80-110  Abandoned vehicles.

(a)     It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon any motor vehicle on any public way within the city.  A vehicle shall be deemed to have been abandoned if it (a) is in such a state of disrepair as to be incapable of being driven in its present condition or (b) has not been moved or used for more than seven consecutive days and is apparently deserted or…Each day a vehicle remains abandoned shall constitute a separate and distinct offense for which a separate penalty may be imposed.

In other words, you need to move your car at least once every seven days. If not, you can be ticketed.

This ticket will set you back $75 bucks.

Then, the cop, or more likely Streets & Sanitation, will slap a bright orange decal on the driver’s window giving you a date by which you have to move your car. If not, your vehicle is taking a nice ride, hooked to the back of a tow truck down to one of Chicago’s lovely and romantic auto pounds.

The ransom to get your car back is $160 plus whatever extra fees may have incurred before you retrieve it.

You can get a ticket for each day your car has not been moved past the seventh day. So you can rack up a lot of tickets pretty quickly if you don’t act fast.

The simple solution is either move your car every seven days or, if you are truly lazy and pathetic, at least clear the snow off your car so it at least LOOKS like it was driven within the last week.

Just doing this will save you potentially huge headaches and from burning a hole in your wallet.

16 Responses to Parking Ticket 101: Move Your Car Weekly

  1. [...] have a question about your recent post on the “abandoned vehicle” rule, which states that any vehicle parked in one spot for more than 7 days can be [...]

  2. Susan says:

    Recently my car went “missing” and there has been a debate as to whether or not it was towed or stolen. Though it does fall under the “abandoned vehicle” laws for I did not move it for several days, I searched online for both potential tickets and towing records and my car did not make either list. So my question is, could it still have been towed by the city and they simply just don’t know? I reported it stolen and was given no indication that they knew where it was, but my trust in the system is very small.

  3. Aesha says:

    So I just found one of these on my car yesterday! Too bad I didn’t find this site before then. I’ve only lived in IL for two years, and never would have dreamed that a city with a mass transit system, where people may not have to drive their car often, and not enough parking spaces for the amount of houses would ticket you for parking outside of your own apartment!

    My boyfriend’s car is the one we park in the garage space we have at our apartment. Do you have any advice on what to do about this ticket? I can provide proof of residence by my lease/drivers license/letter from landlord, proof of ownership of the car… if anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated!

  4. DoR Employee says:

    Aesha : If there was a 3-1-1 call complaining about a vehicle that hadn’t moved in 7 days then your stuck.
    Revenue will not write that ticket, but the Police will.

    Susan : Call 3-1-1 with your plate number and VIN number (from your insurance paperwork). There are records Not on the Revenue site that have to be checked.

  5. dee says:

    I just got a ticket for “abandoned vehicle,” on my truck. We parked Thursday night, and got the ticked on Tuesday, which is only 6 days. On Thursday morning there is street cleaning, so that proves we weren’t parked there earlier in the day. So my question is, if we contest the ticket, bring in pictures of our vehicle sticker and license plate sticker, in addition to the picture of the street cleaning sign — can we win? I am also debating whether my whole day is worth $75.
    thanks, love the site!

  6. Don says:


    I know this is an old post, but i wanted to let you and your readers know that yesterday, February 11, 2011, I and my girlfriend each received tickets for not moving our cars for seven days. The cars were parked legally in front of our own house.

    For those of you reading this in the future, on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, we had a blizzard here in Chicago. On the day the tickets were issued, sidewalks were still covered in snow in many areas and many people hadn’t yet attempted to drive.

    We were among those Chicagoans who opted to walk and take public transportation instead of driving.

    Our cars were buried, not so much from the blizzard as from city plows. Getting out would have been one thing, but getting back into a parking spot would have been nearly impossible. So, why bother driving.

    I am, of course, contesting these tickets. The police were either making a cash grab or trying to make their quota which they deny having.

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Considering how much snow fell on our city, you would think they would have told ticket writers to look the other way until after we had a big thaw.

  8. Rob R says:

    We have a similar ticket from Feb 3, 2011, which we just saw today (Feb 20)! I guess we’re lucky they didn’t plaster on the Orange Sticker of Doom and hook up the tow truck by now.

    I’m pretty convinced they just came down the street that week and ticketed whichever cars weren’t cleared yet. We leave our car on the street all the time, ordinarily nobody cares.

    Ditto what John said, we just hadn’t gotten around to clearing the car yet. Ridiculous.

  9. [...] Originally Posted by Chitownguy27 My girlfriend and me are looking at a new apartment in the Streeterville neighborhood. We both work downtown, but keep a car since every few weeks we'll travel out of state to visit friends/family. Is there anywhere on the North Side or a quiet neighborhood where we could park for free on the street and leave the car without risk of tickets or anything? Since we only use the car every few weeks, we're hoping to avoid paying $250/month for a garage parking spot. Thanks for any replies! If you only move it every few weeks the citie's abandoned car law will kick in and you can get ticketed/towed. Basically by law any car that sits for seven consecutive days is considered abandoned. Additionally things like flat tires, broken windshields or any signed the car is unable to drive can cause this law to kick in(inculding not removing snow). Basically you need private parking or just get a rental every few weeks. Parking Ticket 101: Move Your Car Weekly | [...]

  10. (b) has not been moved or used for more than seven consecutive days AND is apparently deserted or…

    I dont agree with your analysis. The code says not moved OR used for seven days AND is deserted.

    It must not have been used/moved for 7 days and the car looks like it has been deserted. Meaning the car must look like it has been abandoned. If it looks like it has and it hasnt moved for seven days THEN you are ‘guilty’.

    Also the code reads not moved OR used. What is used? Its not moved b/c moved is in the code. Each word is presumed to be separate and distinct.

    So if you sit in your car and listen to the radio is that ‘used’? If you get something out of the car is that ‘used’?

    Nonetheless the main point is that it must look like its abandoned along with not moving for seven days. That AND is a big one.

  11. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Thanks Jason.

    While I agree with what you’re saying from a technical stand point, the reality is, most ticket writers don’t read the details of the municipal code.

    Often nosy neighbors will report a car on their block as not having been moved in a week to the alderman’s office and then whammo!, a ticket for this violation shows up. The practical reality is, the tickets do get issued for this violation even when a car is obviously NOT abandoned.

    My advice is to help drivers be proactive in avoiding tickets by moving their car weekly to A) avoid the ticket in the first place or B) give themselves a defense if they get ticketed.

    This advice is aimed at car owners who take public transit to work and keep their cars on the streets for long periods between driving.

    So YES, your reading of the law is correct (I’m guessing you’re an attorney), but taking 1-2 minutes to move your car once a week is just good preventative medicine for surviving urban life.

    Jason, as a side note, we always appreciate the insight of attorneys on these issues, and look forward to hearing from you again.

  12. [...] two big things that can cause you to get tickets for street parking are the abandoned vehicle law: Parking Ticket 101: Move Your Car Weekly | City of Chicago :: Report Abandoned Vehicles and street cleaning: City of Chicago :: City of [...]

  13. JW says:

    Stupid rule. Neighbors buried my car under snow with their snowblower, then call the cops to ticket cars in the neighborhood. I should say the Mexican’s they hired to clear snow did that.
    Stupid Jews are incapable of manual labor like that.
    Here in West Rogers Park the Jews have the police wrapped around their finger. They got me arrested right near my house for drinking a beer while working on my car on the street. Called it “drinking in a public way”. I called it trying to fix my car on a hot day.
    Jews suck. So do West Rogers Park cops.
    And, there are “dibs” chairs and junk in parking spots that have been there longer than my temporarily unmoved car. Can’t wait to move.

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Dude, I’m with you. But my problems are with the Kazakhstani gangbangers in my neighborhood. Well, I think they’re in a gang. These two guys walk down the street to the bus together to get to work every morning around 8 AM. I think they’re speaking Kazakhstani or maybe it’s Polish. Not sure.

    But those guys are always…you know…looking at me funny–smiling at me and nodding. You know what one guy had the audacity to say to me one morning?!?

    “Good morning!”

    Can you believe that?!? What a dick!

    I got scared and called the police. But, you know the foreigners have the cops wrapped around their finger. So nothing came of it.

    The other issue I have is with toddlers. They’re always waving at smiling and trying to be all cute and stuff. I know it’s a freakin’ act. You’re not fooling me you kids!!!! Screw you!

    But there’s one group I REALLY, TOTALLY HATE!!!!!!!!


    They’re always chattering and climbing up trees. They dig in my garden and sometimes eat my tomatoes. If they come in my yard I always yell, “Hey you squirrels! Get out of my yard!” And then they run away.

    I call 311 on them all the time.

  15. DoR Employee says:

    Damn you Geek…

    I spit my beer out all over my keyboard reading your post.

  16. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Sorry DoR!

    I hope it wasn’t good beer. Sorry.

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