Ask The Parking Ticket Geek
This past Saturday night I got a parking ticket two minutes after my time had expired. I then found out about the 5-minute grace period rule, and I thought I could use it to get the ticket dismissed.
The city website said to call their 800 number to find out what to do to make this happen. When I called Tuesday, I was told that the ticket wasn’t even in their system yet, and they couldn’t do
anything about it until then. The agent said there were a lot of tickets being processed from the holiday weekend, and suggested that I wait a week until the following Tuesday to try again.
I asked: “What about this warning on my ticket that says: ‘Within 7 days of this violation notice you must either pay the applicable fine or contest this violation notice’” ? I was worried that if I waited until next Tuesday to call back, my seven-day time limit would run out.
But the agent told me that the seven days doesn’t start until the violation gets posted in their system, and that I had nothing to worry about. Supposedly, the “violation notice” is not the ticket itself, but some more abstract thing that only exists after the city officially recognizes the ticket.
Is this true? Is the language on the ticket really that misleading? Is the seven-day thing really BS? Just last month my girlfriend realized that seven days had passed since she was issued a parking ticket, and drove to the 24-hour post office on Canal street to get her contestation postmarked by the deadline. Was there no need to hurry?
Thanks for your help, and your blog!
Actually, the person(s) you spoke to on the phone are correct Noel.
The clock on your ticket doesn’t technically start until it hits the system.
But, the reality is, you actually have a full 21 days to either send in a contest by mail or request an in-person hearing.
That’s because, when you do get your Notice of Violation in the mail, it will inform
you that you were ticketed and gives you 14 days from the date of the notice to handle the situation.
So, no need for you (or your girlfriend) to have panicked. You have relatively plenty of time.
Just don’t forget to contest by mail or request a hearing before your 21 day window closes.
I woke up this morning to find a ticket for 09-76-150(b) (Parking with Burglar Alarm Sounding for Over 4 Minutes) attached to the rear view mirror of my Jeep.
I am all for the enforcing of loud obnoxious car alarms. I should be, because I DO NOT HAVE ONE ON MY VEHICLE!!
As I got into my car and started it, I noticed that the horn was not working, and that my airbag and check engine light were both illuminated, making me realize there may have been a short in my electrical system.
My first stop that morning was to my local mechanic, who has been the only mechanic performing routine work on my car over the past 5 years. He told me that the horn sounding
may have been caused by a short beyond my control due to heavy rains the night before, and the top being off my jeep. He also said he would write a statement about the lack of an alarm in my vehicle.
My second stop was the 19th Precinct (Belmont and Western) the helpful desk officer looked up my ticket number and said that there had been several calls at 4:30 that morning for “not so much a car alarm, but someone leaning on the horn of a car on the street” (I know, I am so sorry neighbors!!)
My question is this: What are my chances of winning when I contest this ticket?
My points will be:
A) No alarm (letters from both mechanic and insurance company)
B) Sound was out of my control (water shorted out electrical system causing horn
to short out)
C) Got horn and short fixed as soon as found problem.
Any other advice?
Roscoe Village Marine Veteran
First, thank you for your service to our great nation.
Limp-wristed pansies like myself are eternally grateful real men like you are risking their lives to protect America’s freedom, so wussies like me can produce a website about fighting Chicago parking tickets.
I have to tell you though, this is one of the crazier ticket stories I’ve heard and is actually a pretty funny story.
But I think this should be an easy one to beat.
But I would suggest contesting this one in person because of the unique circumstances of this situation. This will allow you to interact with the hearing officer, and answer any additional questions they may have for you.
To me, the best way is just to simply argue you don’t have a car alarm.
The letters from your mechanic and insurance company, combined with your testimony should do the trick.
I’m really not sure if you should go into the crazy story about the rain and the short circuit of the horn, etc. It could possibly confuse the situation and I don’t want some nutty hearing officer to get creative and try to say your malfunctioning horn is the same as a car alarm.
But it’s your call on that aspect of your defense. You may not be able to avoid bringing the back story into your defense.
Ultimately, it boils down to you don’t have a car alarm, so therefore, no ticket should have been issued.
I would be shocked if you lost this one RVMV. Make sure you keep us posted on this one.
Out of curiosity I checked the parking statute for the Residential Permit Parking (RPP) zones and it makes no mention of motorcycles being excluded from those regulations.
Is this a sort of “unwritten rule” because they haven’t implemented a way to affix permits to motorcycles and scooters?
Also, since I am not a resident of Chicago I’m worried that I still might get a ticket for not having a city sticker (or emblem in this case) while parking my motorcycle in a RPP zone downtown. Any help would be appreciated!
Good for you for checking the Chicago municipal code on this Scott.
I’ve never checked the muni code, (but will) but it’s always been my understanding that motorcycles and scooters WERE exempt from RPP restrictions.
The way Jones has explained it to me is, after many meetings with the Dept. of Revenue’s Matt Darst (who recently left the DOR), ABATE came to an understanding with DOR that motorcycles and scooters are exempt from RPP violations and are free to park in any RPP zone without worry of being ticketed.
In fact, motorcycle drivers that HAVE been ticketed usually get a letter a week or two after their ticket telling them there was a screw up and the ticket was “non-suited” or in other words, thrown out.
The ABATE website even has a page dedicated to explaining this issue.
So, I wouldn’t sweat it Scott.
If you get a ticket and it’s not non-suited by the city, you can use the city’s brochure as evidence and you would most likely win.
Ask The Parking Ticket Geek is a semi-regular parking ticket advice column.
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