Expired: 5-Minute Parking Meter Grace Period Ends

Very quietly this past Friday, Chicago drivers lost a small, but helpful tool in fighting expired meter parking tickets.

On April 1st, the 5-minute parking meter grace period ordinance ended, a mere 14 months after Mayor Daley had the ordinance passed back in February, 2010.

The law allowed the city to non-suit (throw out) the ticket for drivers who received an expired meter parking violation, five minutes or less from the expiration of their meter receipt.

Mayor Daley offered the grace period as a short term salve to quell the anger of frustrated drivers unhappy with the rapid meter rate increases and poor execution of the Chicago’s parking meter lease deal.

According to Department of Revenue spokesperson Ed Walsh, drivers who receiving expired meter tickets before April 1st and qualify for the grace period are still eligible to have their ticket withdrawn.

Walsh says 4,098 expired meter tickets have been withdrawn based on the 5-minute grace period, less than 1% of total expired meter violations.

Although this grace period has ended, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack has introduced legislation to make the grace period permanent.

Waguespack authored an amendment to the municipal code in February but it hasn’t passed out of committee so far.

Despite the delays, Waguespack is confident the grace period will eventually be a permanent part of Chicago’s municipal code.

“Once we start discussing it, I’m sure we can get it passed,” said Waguespack.

15 Responses to Expired: 5-Minute Parking Meter Grace Period Ends

  1. BXK says:

    This is one thing I think is really dumb. Its like setting your clocks fast to fool yourself into being on time…..you just do the math in your head and calculate the real time anyway.

    If you know your meter expires at 11am, be there by 11am. Otherwise you know it ends 11:05, so you just wait until 11:05.

    Its silly.

  2. dsb says:

    I could not disagree more with the previous comment. This grace period is absolutely necessary. Not only due to the absurdity of a $50 ticket for a 1-5 minute violation, but because no person can predict to the minute how long it will take to walk to your car from wherever you are otherwise spending money in the city. Also, the argument of “you should know” is a bit much when talking about such a small amount of time. Check 10 clocks and you’re likely to get a range varying by more than 5 minutes.

  3. DoR Employee says:


    We run into this a lot of the time…Personally I like the idea of a 5 minute 1 time a year freebie.

    But on the flip side, we are running into the “Oh..I was only inside for 5 minutes for a Mocha Frappachino” or some crap like that.

    As much as I dislike Meters…I’m beginning to have less sympathy for the Lazy morons.

    Beginning to want to channel Capt M Plate.

  4. Winky says:

    How many people who receive a violation complain “I was only one minute past my five minute grace period”. I would bet that the number is pretty high and probably in the same as ballpark as the “I was only one minute past my expiration time” number.

    I’m also willing to wager that out of the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of cars parking in the city on a daily basis, DoR an his comrades only get to physically patrol a small fraction. At any given time there must be hundreds (or maybe thousands) of expired time violations that DoR and company simply cannot get to in time before the driver leaves or buys more time.

    For all of you Statistics majors out there, this could be your Master’s Thesis!

    My throw a dart blindfolded guess is less than thirty percent.

  5. DoR Employee says:

    Winky would have been pretty accurate about 3 years ago.

    Keep in mind the Heavy Coverage in the areas with CPD and TMA’s that have nothing better to do as well as Ser Co II Meter Enforcement details that do nothing But check Pay Box locations Daily.

    The Statistic is probably closer to 50/50 now days.

  6. Optimus Prime says:

    Im going to have to agree with Winky on this one.

  7. Winky says:

    Optimus Prime says: “I’m going to have to agree with Winky on this one.”

    YOu make it sound like that’s a bad thing! :D

  8. [...] only did the 5 minute grace period evaporate from the municipal code a few days ago, but even if it were still in place, you would be 1 minute [...]

  9. 2 Minutes Late and Angry says:

    I think the 5 minute grace period is necessary. On the ticket I just received (more on that in a second) There is a timestamped photo of my license plate less than two minutes after my ticket expired. I would like to see a timestamped photo of the box I bought my ticket of to know if they match. I agree with dsb – there is about a 10 minute range in times in my house. Who is to know if there camera and the box agree.

    Now, onto my ticket. As an argument to “you should have known better”. I rarely drive, I have to buy tickets that overlap by 5 minutes to be safe (and get no monetary credit for it) and I usually set my alarm for 5-10 minutes before its set to expire. The day I get my ticket is the one day I get a critical phone call at work just as I am trying to get out the door and meanwhile my car is being stalked by a ticket writer.

    I know I am in the wrong, but it still sucks.

  10. DoR Employee says:

    2 minutes late:

    Ever look at your receipt when you buy it?

    You already get 2 minutes Free Built into the time.

    Buy 2 hours at 8:12am? Expires at 10:14am

    So you want 7 minutes of Free time because it is too difficult for you to properly manage your TIME?

    The Box is connected by Wireless to a Server that syncs to the Atomic Clock (that is what we are told.).

    Same for the Autocite’s that we use.
    The Ticket Machine Clock is the One that matters.

    We don’t look at a personal Watch or Cellphone Clock.

    We use City Issued Clocks to use to make certain of the time.

  11. Cindy says:

    I received a ticket on April 16, 2011 at 2:07 p.m. I watched the meter police write the ticket and begged him not to write it. The meter expired at 2:03 p.m. I was 4 minutes late. He was a jerk. Do you think I have any chance of fighting this? If so, where should I go to do it? Thanks.

  12. Drew says:


    You could have contested it…In April

    Now that it is May 3rd…you’re stuck.

    NEVER wait past 7 days to Contest a ticket.

    READ the Info on the Orange Ticket or Orange Mailer.

    You waited from the 16th of April to May 3rd to find this site and ask that question, when all you needed to do was look that info up on the BACK of the Ticket.

  13. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Actually, April 1st is when the 5 minute grace period ended. So, unfortunately, your ticket being issued on April 16th was AFTER the law sunset.

    So, while you could try using this defense, it would probably not work.

    However, a lot of hearing officers are not up to speed on what the law is, so you might get lucky and win on this one. Since I can’t think of any other defenses having an in-person hearing to try the 5 minute rule defense. It can’t hurt.

    P.S. With all due respect, Drew is mildly wrong on his “7-Day” statement.

    Drivers actually have 21 days from the date the ticket is issued to request a hearing or submit a letter to contest a ticket. Often, you get more time than that due to computer processing delays.

    Even if you miss the initial 21 day period, you can still (in most cases) still have an in-person hearing within the 21 days after you receive a Notice of Determination. All you do is fill out a motion form and give a believable excuse on why you missed your chance at hearing the first time around and normally, you get your hearing on the spot.

    Go ahead and request the hearing right away and you should be OK.

  14. Mystery Guy says:

    yes wedo use the autocite time clock and we cant manually change that when it recharges its battery it sets the times from the internet

  15. [...] This is definitely Mayor Daley's crowning achievement in my eyes. An interesting fact noted on The Expired Meter.com  is that during this 14 month period, the 5 minute grace period allowed for 4,098 lucky drivers to [...]

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