Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Geek,

I am a Fleet Manager and have just received two incorrect city stickers.

The license plate number on the stickers don’t match the actual plate on each car.

When I contact the City Clerk’s Data Services office I was told the plate numbers don’t matter. There should be a letter stating that non matching plates and city stickers are not a ticketable (her word not mine) offense.

Is this a city worker trying to get me off the phone or is it legit? I’ve been scouring the web and so far no information exists. It was my understanding that the plate numbers had to match on the sticker AND the vehicle. Any information you might have would be helpful.



Don’t sweat this one Chris…

Ticket writers are instructed NOT to ticket for any discrepancies between city stickers and license plates.

Kristine Williams, spokesperson for the City Clerk’s office, tells me these discrepancies won’t trigger a ticket because their databases aren’t up to date enough and may not be for another year or so.

“The license plate number is only a security feature,” explains Williams. “However, if someone does want a correction made, we will do so at any City Clerk office location but the person must bring in the sticker and original purchase receipt.  Again, I want to emphasize that anyone with incorrect plate information is OK to use the sticker – they cannot receive a ticket for this.”

See? Nothing to worry about Chris.

The Geek

Dear Parking Ticket Geek,

I am about to purchase a car from an individual, and this person owes hundreds
of dollars in parking fines.

My question to you is, once the title is changed over in my name and I get new license plates, will the tickets follow me, or is the seller still responsible for the tickets.



Hey Vicky!

This is a good question.

But the answer is NO, the tickets do not follow you if you get your own license plate on the car.

The tickets don’t technically belong to the vehicle but the license plate and in reality the registered owner of that plate.

So you’re cool.

Some people make the mistake of not taking off their license plate when they sell their car and the new owner starts parking in front of hydrants, blocking alleys, in handicapped spots–whatever and the former owner starts getting hit with the tickets. OUCH!

One person I know of left the old owner’s plate on their car and they got booted because of the former owner’s tickets.

So, you are wise to get a new plate.

The Geek

Hi Geek,

I came across your website and wondered if you had the answer to my question.

I received a parking ticket and I contested it but was still found liable.

It was one of those instances where it is a tow zone during weekdays, and I was parked on a Saturday, yet they still did not dismiss it. Can I just not pay the ticket?

Thanks so much,



If you don’t pay the ticket it doubles after 21 days.

If you have more than 3 unpaid tickets in Chicago, you can get booted.

If you have two or more unpaid tickets in Chicago, you can get booted.

If it’s just one ticket, the worst thing that will happens is you’ll get nasty computer generated letters from the city and/or a collection agency. You’ll probably get a few phone calls.

However, if you keep your nose clean and only have one ticket on your record, there’s not much any city can really do until they change the law.

Sound good?

The Geek

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek is a semi-regular parking ticket advice column.

If you have a question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please e-mail the Geek with your query

145 Responses to Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

  1. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Maybe, possibly is the answer.

    If the city can link the new plates with the old plates, the answer would be yes. This would most likely occur when you get a ticket on your new plate and don’t pay it right away.

    I’m guessing you’re not from Chicago as, we don’t tow here initially. We boot, then tow if you don’t pay after 24 hours.

  2. Trellio says:


    I have parking tickets on an old license plate that I am paying on monthly as it is pretty high.

    Will having a new license plate buy me time and stall things, since they have everything under a different plate number?

  3. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    If you have a current payment plan…keep on paying it.

    You don’t want to default on your plan. However, if you default, it might take them a while to connect you to your new plate. But ultimately, they probably will.

  4. yadira says:

    Hello I bought a car from my friend in 2013 and she had multitude of tickets I never changed to new license plate and of course I got a couple tickets my self after but now that I’m paying my own tickets all of hers are coming up as well .. is it going to be a problem when I get my new tags should I have to worry about paying this tickets that don’t belong to me ?

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    That license plate does not belong to you, so technically you cannot be held responsible for ANY of those tickets.

    However, you should go ahead and pay the tickets the vehicle was issued while you were the owner.

    But even before that, change the plates to your name ASAP!!!

    Do it immediately and then don’t worry about the former owner’s tickets–it’s not your problem.

  6. DoR Employee says:

    Geek….heres a problem.

    Since she apparently didn’t change the plate over when she took ownership of the vehicle…those prior owner tickets are now going to be her problem.

    Unless the prior owner calls Finance and declares them theirs and sets up a payment plan.

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    If the young lady who bought the car didn’t change the registration with SOS, the former owner is responsible for ALL the tickets–prior and current.

    If she did change the license plate (registration) into her name, then you are right, the new owner is responsible for the old tickets as well as the new.

  8. B says:

    How does one even transfer a plate to another person in Illinois? I’ve never even found it to be a choice. The car changes ownership when changing title and registration one gets new plates by default. It’s been a few years since I had to fill out the forms but I don’t recall any other options and even if there was an option to transfer the plate it has to involve more effort, not less.

    To keep the same plates means never really selling the car as far as the SoS office is concerned. It’s never been titled in the new owner’s name. The old owner is responsible for everything. People are either lazy or try to avoid paying title/reg/and use tax and then we end up hearing about people like that woman with $100K of tickets on beater chevy barely worth hauling to the scrapper.

  9. paul says:

    If I receive the boot & I switch the title to somebody else name will they remove the boot?

  10. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Very creative thinking. Unfortunately, it won’t work.

    If the title was changed BEFORE getting booted then you might have a chance. However, it would be better to change the title AND the lic. plate.

  11. Claribel says:

    If I get temporary plates will I still get booted?

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    It’s very unlikely that you will get booted with a temp plate. Since the plate is only on your car for a short amount of time, the city won’t be able to connect the dots quick enough.

  13. cee cee says:

    My car was booted for unpaid parking tickets a I recently got a new car how long do I have before they connect the new car to the boot list?

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Cee Cee,

    If you transferred the old plates to the new car, it won’t take them long at all.

    If you got fresh plates with the Secy. of State, then they won’t connect it until that car gets its first parking or red light or speed camera ticket. If you get one of these tickets, pay it immediately–I mean, same day. Like I mean, go in person to a payment center and pay the ticket on the spot.

    That way, if it’s shown as paid, the city won’t have to generate a Notice of Violation which would then link the old plate to the new plate–at least not for a long ass time.

  15. Neena says:

    I have a new vehicle with temporary plates. I live on a street where a permit is required. Since I haven’t obtained my new city sticker, or plates yet, can they give me a ticket? If not, how much time do I have before they can ticket me?

  16. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Yes. They can give you a ticket. Ticketing can start immediately.

    I would suggest getting your city sticker right away OR stopping by your alderman’s office to snag a few temporary passes OR asking a neighbor for some guest RPP passes.

  17. Latisha Williams says:

    I got a boot but I don’t owe any tickets? Why?

  18. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Do you own a big pickup truck or a commercial vehicle with graphics advertising a business?

    A truck or pickup truck over a certain weight can be booted for parking on a residential street. Same for a commerial vehicle.

    What make and model of car do you have?

  19. NATALIA says:

    I receive a ticket in Texas with a NY license, and as soon as I got to FL (where I live right now) I got a new license, not because of the ticket but because my NY expires tomorrow. How does this ticket can affect me? thanks!!

  20. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Geez Natalia!

    That’s a lot of different states.

    I’m not sure it does affect you. The ticket may end up showing up down the road, but it shouldn’t prevent you from getting a driver’s license in Florida or registering a vehicle there.

  21. jamal says:

    Would parking tickets in the suburbs get you the boot in Chicago

  22. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    No, suburban or any non-Chicago parking tickets will not get you booted in Chicago.

    The only way you can get the boot in Chicago is if you have 2 unpaid parking tickets/red light camera tickets/speed camera tickets (or any combination thereof) in Final Determination status and more than a year old.


    3 unpaid parking tickets/red light camera tickets/speed camera tickets (or any combination thereof) in Final Determination status immediately.

    If you have a parking ticket from Arlington Heights, that won’t affect you in Chicago.

    But watch out! A handful of suburbs do use the boot to immobilize ticket scofflaws in their towns. The rules vary from town to town.


  23. Maria says:

    I have a question…i dont have a license but I had my name on a car over 10 years ago. It got parking tickets that the person using my name never paid. I am now learning to drive and want to get a license. Would that affect me now.

  24. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    What state do you live?

    From my understanding, at least in Illinois, you cannot own a vehicle if you don’t have a valid driver’s license.

    If you have so many tickets that a city asks the state to suspend your driver’s license, yet have now driver’s license to suspend, you should be able to get one for the very first time.

  25. Maria says:

    I live in chicago, Illinois

  26. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Hmmmmm…that’s very confusing to me. I’ll have to check into owning a vehicle without having a driver’s license.

    So, here’s the deal. Unless the car has more than 10 unpaid parking tickets, there’s no problem at all with getting a driver’s license.

    And, since you’ve never had one before, I don’t see how that could be a problem for you to get one now.

    The only way to know for sure is to try to get one. Please keep us posted.

  27. Maria says:

    Will do. Also would that affect me getting car in my name?

  28. Drew says:

    It could Maria.

    Depending on the number of outstanding parking tickets you could actually be prevented from getting your license in the first place.

    10 or more is the threshold.

    Mike….while it is true that the state of Illinois requires you to have a DL to buy a car…I can’t think of anyone other than the Major Dealerships like Honda or VW or BMW or Aston Martin etc, that actually follow state law

  29. Illinois Lady says:

    If I got a camera speeding ticket by a park in Chicago and I recently relocated to another state where I have registered my car in my new state and have their state plates do I still need to pay the ticket?

  30. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Illinois Lady,

    Legally, technically, you should pay it. However, based on your re-location and change of registration, if it were me, I would blow it off.

  31. Bianca says:

    If I received a ticket for not displaying a handicapped sticker but I have pictures if was up and the ticket states I was there at a time I was not there. What will most likely happen when I present the pictures my receipts and the ticket with mistake to the traffic judge?

  32. Ann says:

    Need your advice please!

    So my name is on a vehicle that my husband drives. And has accumulated a grand in tickets. I want to transfer the title over to his name. As I am worried, since those tickets are in my name. Let’s say I do move forward with transferring title…will the tickets owed go with him? Or still stay with me? And let’s say the tickets owed still stays with me…and let’s say that has car gets booted and towed (after title transfer)…that’s no longer my responsibility. Also, since I have a vehicle of my own. Which has NO tickets. Is my vehicle at risk of getting booted as well? Given the tickets accumulated on the other vehicle? Please need your advice. Thanks!

  33. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    You can transfer title (a good idea considering your husband’s talent for getting parking tickets), however the tickets will not transfer to him.

    Also, the other car in your name WILL be at risk for the boot due to the tickets in your name from the other vehicle.

    My advice is, after slapping your husband in the back of the head, to work out a payment plan with the city.

  34. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Your photos are very potent pieces of evidence. If you have photos, I believe your chance of winning are very high. Bring in everything to your hearing and you should win.

  35. Christina says:

    Can my car get towed overnight if my license plates are suspended but my parking meeting is still good until 12 /31/2015

  36. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    What’s a “parking meeting”?

  37. DoR Employee says:

    Short answer is yes.

    A parking meter (assumption due to spelling) being paid does not create a magic bubble of protection around your vehicle that resists all other potential violations.

    Furthermore , assuming you are in Illinois or even Chicago: it shall be illegal to park or stand your vehicle upon the publics way with expired plates or registration according to the City and State (had to look that on up since I’m not Capt M Plate)

  38. Kim Sofia says:


    I live in CA so not sure if you can help…got a brand new car, hadn’t received the plate yet, and got a parking ticket two weeks out. They weren’t able to capture a license plate #, but did print the car’s VIN # on the ticket. Need to pay, or can I get away wit not paying? Thanks!! :)

  39. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Most likely they’ll be able to link the ticket to you through the VIN.

    But you may want to wait to see if a notice shows up in the mail or not. If not…you may not want to pay.

  40. el michaerl says:

    hi i got a double parking ticket on my florida register car..while I TRY TO USE THE NAVIGATION on the car writing a adress..this was 4 years ago..I forgot to pay..what should I do now..i never got a letter oh anything..

  41. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    If you haven’t heard anything from NYC in four years, I would continue to behave as if it never occurred.

    It sounds like the ticket disappeared.

  42. Aaron says:

    Speed Camera Ticket question:
    I live in Des Moines, IA and received 3 speed camera violations close to a year ago and they were never paid. The plates have since expired and the vehicle has not been in use. Now I need to get plates on the same vehicle and wonder if the ticket fines will follow the car or did they die with the the plates when they expired? Also, would it be advantageous to just file a new vehicle registration, or will the fees still catch up with me?
    Thank you for any enlightenment on this!

  43. Damien says:

    Hello I’m on the boot list on my Illinois plates. I just moved to indiana but still work in Chicago If I change my plates and license to indiana when I come back to Chicago can I still get the boot?

  44. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    You will DRASTICALLY reduce your chances of getting booted by changing your plate and d/l to Indiana.

    If you keep the new plate clean from Chicago tickets by either avoiding them altogether or paying or fighting tickets, I believe you will never get booted on your new Indiana plates.

    Good thinking Damien.

  45. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    I am unfamiliar with Des Moines’ and Iowa state law regarding speed cam tickets and how it affects renewing your vehicle registration.

    Your chances for dodging those tickets would be better if you got yourself a new plate. I’m not guaranteeing it will work, but it should at least throw them off your scent for a while.

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