DOR Steps Up Photo Evidence On Tickets

Expanded Use Of Photos Will Make Parking Tickets Much Harder To Contest

It seems Chicago’s Dept. of Revenue (DOR) has had so much success utilizing photographic evidence when ticketing parking violators, the department has decided to utilize photography for for even more violations.

According to DOR management, the program was expanded the second week of February.

Ultimately, the goal of photo evidence is to discourage motorists from contesting tickets utilizing photos and encourage violators to pay sooner.

“It has been pretty successful,” said Dept. of Revenue spokesman Matt Darst about the program. “But it’s always been our goal to expand it (photo evidence) when we thought they (PEA’s) were familiar with the technology and the (AutoCITE) device.”

When the DOR first had Parking Enforcement Aides (PEA’s) utilizing the new AutoCITE handheld ticket printers with photographic capabilities back in August 2008, the PEA’s were instructed to use them on just four limited violations.

This included city sticker violations, residential parking permit violations, missing front or back license plates and expired registration stickers on vehicle plates.

“These four violations generally had a high contest rate or low payment rate,” said Darst explaining the rationale behind using photo evidence for the initial violation types. “But we look at it as providing two things. It provides additional information with the ticket. It may provide the driver with a defense. And it supports a ticket when a PEA thinks they wrote a proper ticket.”

But now, the expanded list of violations that will have photo evidence provided by Parking Enforcement Aides will include:

  • Parking on a sidewalk
  • Double parking
  • Blocking or parking in an alley
  • Parking less than 30″ from a stop sign
  • Bus stop parking
  • Pay & Display violations and even
  • Expired meter violations

According to our friend and PEA Ticketmaster, PEA’s are not limited to the partial list above and are instructed to use their built in camera whenever they see fit.

Management has now instructed us to basically take photos of all violations,” explains Ticketmaster. “This includes: meters, fire hydrants, bus stops, 30′ from stop signs as well as everything else prior to (now).”

The only upside to this new policy is that taking photos does slow down the ticket writing according to Ticketmaster.

Yes, taking all those photos have seriously slowed some of us down,” says Ticketmaster. “The good news for the owners is that maybe we won’t be able to get to their car as fast, the bad news is that these tickets will be even harder to contest.”

Although Darst doesn’t agree with Ticketmaster’s assessment as far as speed and feels any slow down would be nominal at best.

Only PEA’s and SERCO enforcement employees carry these handhelds ticketing devices and only account for about 35% of all parking tickets. Police still write the vast majority of parking tickets in Chicago.

In most cases, this photographic evidence will make it MUCH harder for motorists to contest their tickets as photos provided by PEA’s will, in most cases, help support the facts alleged on the ticket.

The key will be to view your photos online and see if the photos accurately represent the facts of the violation.

For example, is that your car and/or license plate in the photo? Do the photos prove what the written violation states? Are the photos clear enough and in focus enough to prove the violation occurred? Check the photos to see if they may prove the violation did not occur.

If you are using photo evidence to dispute a ticket, your photographs (and testimony) are going to have to over power the photo evidence provided by the PEA’s. This may be difficult, but not impossible. More and better photos may do the trick.

However, if the photos provided by the city make the ticket irrefutable, then you may just want to pay…unless you’re mentally unbalanced like me.

12 Responses to DOR Steps Up Photo Evidence On Tickets

  1. lauren says:

    I received a ticket for parking in a permit zone. I was parked in front of the arrow sign pointing backwards. The ticket picture even proved the ticket wasn’t warrented. I contested with more photographic evidence to no avail.

  2. Emily Booth says:

    I got a ticket on 02/05 for an expired meter. The problem? There was a quarter stuck in the slot and I couldn’t turn the knob. I didn’t have any paper on me so I wrote using a black pen “BROKEN METER” on the glass. No one noticed the stuck quarter in the slot or my writing on the glass before they took the photo. I took my own photos but I”m using theirs to contest it.

  3. Bill X says:

    don’t park in Chicago period, take the train, the bus or walk

  4. Niraj says:

    The photo I received from a violation is hopefully actually doing the opposite for me…it’s making it easier to contest. Of course, I’ll wait until I hear back before I say that definitively (I contested via mail and am waiting to hear back), but while the photo was extremely blurry (it was at night and snowing), it sufficiently shows there wasn’t a parking meter where I had parked, though they ticketed me as if there was.

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Thanks for the comment. That’s a great piece of info. It would be fantastic if the city’s photo evidence actually worked AGAINST the city and helped you fight the ticket.

    Please keep us posted.

    Thanks again.

  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Good work Emily.

    I would LOVE to see the photos you get back from the city to see if your note shows up on their photo.

    Please keep us posted!

    If you can, e-mail photos, status, info here:

  7. ChiNewbie says:

    Should I contest my ticket if the picture they have associated with my ticket is of a license plate that is not even mine?? Will I for sure get it dismissed?

  8. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    That ticket should be immediately dismissed. You cannot be ticketed for a vehicle that is not yours.

    Bring in, or mail in a copy of your registration showing what your license plate is. Make note of the discrepancy in the photo evidence.

    I don’t see how you lose this.

  9. JamesPFItz says:

    I have contested a good eight expired meter tickets, each supported with photos taken by the PEO which clearly show the meter’s rates are not displayed (having been vandalized). I hope this is sufficient to get the tickets dismissed. If not I will appeal. Trying to find a lawyer who will include a claim for punitive damages of $240 million.

  10. Niraj says:

    Since it took over a month to get a response, I forgot to come back here and post the outcome :) Sure enough, the ticket I contested was dismissed. I think I had included a couple of my own photos to clearly show the situation, but I made sure to include a printout of their own violation photo as well.

  11. Traci says:

    The cited ticket I recieved for an expired meter has the wrong vehicle model year but there a photo of my car in the spot with the license plate showing. Is there anything I can do?

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    What do you mean “has the wrong vehicle model year”?

    Do you mean wrong model? Or wrong expiration date on your license plate?

    If either one of these is incorrect on the ticket, then it can be dismissed.

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