Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Hi Geek,

Yesterday, I received a ticket for parking during rush hour on a street where parking is not allowed from 4-6pm.

Clearly my fault.

However, the officer who issued the ticket forgot to mark which state my license plate was from, which is Wisconsin.

Can I use this mistake to get out of the ticket? Please let me know if there is any hope for me.




You totally dodged a bullet on this one…

If they didn’t mark the state on a handwritten ticket, it’s assumed it is an Illinois plate. For any out of state plates, the state of the license plate MUST be listed otherwise, the ticket is invalid.

You definitely need to take advantage of the numbskull ticket writer’s mistake.

Just argue that they forgot to list any state, you have Wisconsin plates and therefore it’s an incomplete and improper ticket and should be dismissed.

Case closed.

The Geek

Dear Geek,

Thanks to your wonderful site I now know I have till the end of July until I have to get my 2010 parking sticker. But at the end of August I’ll be moving away from the city.

I don’t want to pay the $75 fee for 1 month of parking in the city. Is there any pro-rated rates I can get a sticker for? Or any way around not purchasing a sticker?




First thing I did was ask Kristine Williams, from the City Clerk’s office, what she would recommend in this case.

“We do not have a temporary annual sticker,” said Williams who gets this question a lot as the Information Officer for the Clerk’s office. “If the person lives in a residential parking zone, one suggestion is to purchase enough daily guest passes to park on the street for that month. If they don’t live in a residential zone, they should purchase the annual sticker at the regular rate to avoid getting any tickets.”

I think the daily guest pass strategy is a good one.

But if you’re not lucky enough to live within an RPP zone, I also have a few other ideas.

Try expediting the change of address on your auto’s registration. If you know your new address, you can change that with the Illinois Secretary of State and then, technically, your car is not registered in Chicago anymore. Therefore, there’s no need to get a Chicago city sticker.

If you move out of state, this might be mildly more difficult, but with the ability to call long distance and this new fangled invention called the “internet,” it may be easier than we think.

In the month you’re still in town, remove all city stickers from prior years off your windshield. This will throw off any ticket writers who may then be unsure if your car is actually registered in Chicago.

Keep your car parked off the street as much as possible. Maybe you can rent a garage or a private parking spot for a month. Even if you have to pay a few bucks, it would hopefully be less than $75 or a $120 ticket or at worst, you’re not giving the city that money.

Hope this helps.


The Geek

Dear Geek,

I’ve been continually ticketed for for 9-76-160D:

“shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible. No registration plate shall be covered by any tinted or colored screen. “

In other words, I have a license plate cover on my car’s back plate.

But my cover is clear. Since the law stated above only mentions tinted or colored, can we persuade the DOR to inform their agents to stop writing these in instances like mine?

I fight each one and win, but am getting tired of the process.


Dear Steve,

You are a smart guy. In fact, I’m really impressed how you researched the law and fight these tickets.

And I’m ecstatic you keep kicking the city’s ass on this one.

I would encourage you blow a call into the Dept. of Revenue Street Operations office and tell them about your problem. The number is 312-744-4500.

Usually, they have very responsive people over there and they will take time to listen if you have a legit beef. Be polite and respectful in return and you may get somewhere with them.

Perhaps DOR management will have a sit down with the parking enforcement aides and perhaps pass on the same reminder to our friends working for SERCO–the private ticket writing company the city employs.

But, just to clarify, your license plate cover is actually illegal under state law. This was changed a few years ago to cover ALL plate covers–clear, tinted, colored–whatever.

I have no idea why. Perhaps it was because of some of the plate covers out there that allegedly obscure red light cameras and tollway cameras and speed cameras from photographing your plate.

However, that’s a different violation than what you were cited for, and it is my understanding PEAs cannot write a state violation. Cops could probably write that ticket though. But, it’s one of those violations that are not heavily enforced within Chicago city limits.

Try you luck with calling Street Ops, but I would also be prepared to fight a few more of these BS tickets.

Thanks Steve. Seriously, keep up the great work.

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Geek has been ill the past week, and so you get a re-run of a past Ask The Geek column.

32 Responses to Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

  1. Drew says:

    Geek and Steve:

    Despite the fact that the license plate cover is Clear, there are 2 points:

    1. Jan 1st 2013 the State made plate covers of all type and color Illegal.

    2. A plate cover IS a foreign object that is covering the plate and it still illegal by 9-76-160D.

    3. The hearing officers are not allowed to dismiss it anymore on the “Its a Clear Plate Cover” defense.

  2. Drew says:

    Here is a complete cut and paste from American Legal Publishing Library: Host site of the Chicago Municipal Code.$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il

    (d) Every registration plate shall at all times be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which it is issued so as to prevent the plate from swinging and at a height of not less than 12 inches from the ground, measuring from the bottom of such plate, in a place and position to be clearly visible and shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible. No registration plate shall be covered by any tinted or colored screen. It is illegal to park a vehicle on any roadway if the registration plate or other registration material fails to comply with this subsection.

    So while the Subsection only States Tinted or Colored Screens, the previous sentence of “Maintained free from Foreign Materials” can apply to anything that is covering the plate.

  3. Jeff says:

    Congratulations are in order for The Parking Ticket Geek. The Chicago Reader has honored the Geek with an award for “Best Blogger, Reporter, Activist, and Authority on the City’s Exasperating and Expensive Traffic Policies.” Read all about it here:

    Congratulations Geek!!

  4. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Thank you Jeff.

    Your kind words are making my day.


  5. Sanford says:

    I have a neighbor who has multiple cars parked in his open driveway (no garage). Do these cars need to be currently licensed or have city stickers on them? They currently have neither and are not being operated, but are making the neighborhood look like a junkyard.



  6. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    My understanding of the law is, as long as the vehicles are not being driven on the “public way” they do not need to be licensed or have city stickers.

    Now, the junkyard aspect of things is a different subject. I don’t the law when it comes to parking or storing vehicles on one’s own property. I’m guessing there may be some restrictions on doing this. I would check with your local alderman’s office to see what the deal is.

  7. Abby says:

    I got a parking ticket and I was wondering if it will be on my driving record,or put against the registration of my car. Im going to pay it and everything I just didnt know if it would be where anyone could see it or if my insurance would go up

    thank you so much

  8. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Parking tickets have absolutely NO effect on your driving record nor influences your insurance rates. Red light camera tickets are not supposed to have an impact but not 100% sure on this.

    It’s traffic tickets and DUIs that can affect your insurance rates and/or your eligibility to drive.

  9. Jeff says:

    Once again, our beloved Patron Saint of Parking Problems gets a great writeup in DNA Chicago:

    Thanks again for all the great work you do!!

  10. DoR Employee says:

    Mike and Sanford:

    Bookmark9-64-125 Display of wheel tax license emblem.
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-56-125(d) of this Code, no person shall park or stand on any portion of the public way, on any city-owned property, in a public parking garage as defined in Chapter 4-232, or any parking lot open to pedestrian traffic any vehicle requiring a license pursuant to Chapter 3-56 of this code, unless the wheel tax license emblem is displayed as required by this code. Pursuant to Section 3-56-021, any person alleged to have violated this section may raise as an affirmative defense that (1) such person resided in the city for less than 30 days at the time he or she was cited for the violation, or (2) the cited vehicle was purchased less than 30 days prior to the issuance of the violation.

    Because the Driveway is on the City Property side of the Property Line..

    Yes…they must have a City Sticker AND Plates/Registration sticker.

    Vehicles between the Street and the Sidewalk are actually On City Property and can be ticketed for all compliance violations.

  11. cheryl lewis says:

    I work in Washington DC overnight and live in Maryland. I sometimes park on the main street in front of the building where I work, which has no parking restrictions. I have been parking on this street on and off for 3 years overnight. I recently received a warning ticket stating I have been parking in DC with out of state plates and will be fined because I have not changed my tags to read Wash DC. I live in Maryland. What can I do or who can I contact to let them know that I am not visiting anyone or living in that neighborhood with over the limited amount of time tags. I work there

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Cheryl Lewis,

    See if there’s a phone number on the notice and give them a call. If not, bring the warning down to a local police station and ask to talk to someone. My guess is, when you explain the situation, they’ll know how to deal with this.

    It might also not be a bad idea to leave a note in your windshield.

  13. osmar says:

    Help please,
    So I live in L.A and recently got a used car the car is still not registered under my name but I do have the bill of sale. So I parked the car on the street and got a ticket for not having plates or proof of purchase. Is there any way to get out of it?

  14. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Sorry, we cover Chicago parking ticket issues here and don’t know enough about LA parking rules to give you a decent answer.

  15. Christine says:

    I paid a parking meter for parking from 6:50 am to 8:16 am and put the sticker on my dash. I came out and there was a ticket for violation of ‘central business district expired meter’. I park there (Wabash and Washington) every Monday from 7a-830a. Can I fight it?

  16. Christine says:

    ooops! I forgot to mention the ticket was issued at 7:16 am.

  17. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Of course you can fight it. If you paid for parking between those times and were ticketed at 7:16 then your meter receipt serves as evidence you were parked legally. Don’t lose your receipt! That’s the key to fighting this ticket. I can’t see how you would lose.

  18. Matt says:

    Hi PTG,

    My car’s out-of-state plates (from Indiana) are expired, and I just received a ticket reminding me of the fact. Can Chicago police issue tickets for expired plates if the plates are out of state, or does this point fall beyond their jurisdiction? Thanks for the help and cheers.

  19. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Yes, Chicago can issue tickets to out of state vehicles with expired plates. They do have jurisdiction when a vehicle is on the Chicago public way.

    Renew your expired plates ASAP so you don’t get anymore of these tickets.

  20. Grace says:

    Hello, I have a question in regards to tickets. my brother lives in Harvey, IL and comes to Chicago for work and has a pick up truck he has changed his plates to fd plates (in which the secretary of state says he can park anywhere including residential areas). Now he received a ticket stating that he is not allowed to park in a residential area. They keep telling him to go to the alderman to get those yearly permit parking. He is not able to get one because he lives in Harvey. How can I fix this issue. When you explain to the employees and state that he is not able to get a permit parking from the alderman they say well I don’t know what you can do. sooo do you guys have any idea how I can deal with this. I Don’t think is fare for someone from the suburbs to come and do construction work and ask to be parked on a main street and walk to where they work.

    Thanks for helping!

  21. kyla says:

    Plate sticker is expired but car is registered in Wisconsin can the cpd ticket me

  22. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    The answer is yes.

  23. Mitchell says:

    I live in Anchorage AK . Can they issue a parking ticket foe expired meter if I am in the vehicle?

  24. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    It depends on the municipality, but in general the answer is, unfortunately…YES.

  25. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    I think you’re talking about areas restricted by Residential Permit Parking (RPP) which are zones where only people in the neighborhood can park. They have city stickers or guest passes which allow them to park there.

    First, if he’s working at a location that has RPP restrictions, he should ask the homeowner for an RPP guest pass to put on his car for the day.

    But technically, if he’s doing work at a home in an RPP zone, he should not be ticketed. He can fight the tickets based on the law which allows for delivery and work vehicles to be on the street while employed or working at a residents home.

    But again, the easiest solution is to secure a guest pass.

  26. 019 District PO says:

    Geek, Grace is talking about that Pickup Truck permit, not the Residential Parking permit program.

    She specifically mentions a pickup truck with Fire Fighter Memorial plates (FD Plates).

    The Residential Truck ordinance does not allow any Pickup Trucks to be parked on a residential street if the pickup truck does not display the Annual Chicago Pickup Truck Residential Parking permit & a current year Chicago City Sticker.

    While there is an exception in the Residential Parking Permit ordinance for Contractors, there Isn’t one in the Ordinance for parking a Truck/taxi/Livery vehicle/Bus/RV over 22 feet in length/Trailers or Self contained Motor Homes.

    CDOT has annual permits available for a fee that would exempt such vehicles from this type of ticket while the permit is active AND displayed.

  27. Kev says:

    Dear PTG,

    Today I received 2 tickets from the city’s Dept. of Finance:
    *”976-160(f): Expd Plates or Temp Registration”
    *”976-160(a): Rear and Front Plate Required”

    ***Note that my car is currently registered in Texas (legally), and I am not a resident of Chicago.***

    Regarding my registration tag, in Texas we do not have dated stickers on our plates; we get a sticker decal that affixes to the driver’s side window. My sticker says “8-14″ but I have proof of paid current Texas registration–although I haven’t gotten around to actually applying my new sticker. Regardless, I wouldn’t think Chicago would have jurisdiction to write a ticket for expired out of state registration, when in fact the standard for visually displaying registration (in and of itself) are established in an entirely different state. Moreover, together with my evidence of current registration, shouldn’t this ticket be dismissed?

    On the front plate ticket, again, with my car being registered in Texas (and me being a Texas resident & driver), shouldn’t I be exempted from enforcement of IL/Chicago code?

    Thanks for your help!

  28. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    A few thoughts.

    Chicago actually does have jurisdiction when your vehicle is on the streets of our city.

    So, you’re going to be on the hook for the front plate ticket.

    However, the expired plate ticket is probably beatable.

    I’m guessing you are mistaken and your up to date sticker has been on your windshield since August (wink, wink), but the ticket writer didn’t know to check there. Take photos of your window sticker and then bring in a written explanation of how things are done in Texas in regards to license plate sticker renewal.

    Since the sticker was on the windshield at the time (wink wink wink) your ticket might get dismissed.

  29. Beatriz Del Cid says:

    Hello, I have a question, I live in a building that is at the corner of Armitage and Kedvale Ave., as you already may know I will need a permit pass to park on Kedvale Ave. because I will have to pay for parking on Armitage Ave. Unfortunately I live on the side of the building that is on Armitage Ave and is very hard for me to find parking. Is there a way for me to get a permit pass in order to park on Kedvale? (When I went to buy my city sticker at the currency exchange they said that if I don’t live on Kedvale I can’t get a permit pass.)

    Thanking you in advance,


  30. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Beatriz Del Cid,

    It’s hard to say, but if your property is on both Armitage and Kedvale, one would think you qualify to part of any RPP that touches your property.

    What I would suggest is:

    1-Go to your alderman’s office and tell them your situation. They should be able to give you more insight into these RPP questions and may be able to intervene on your behalf to get you qualified to be in the Kedvale RPP.

    2-You may also want to go to a City Clerk’s office to see if they can do anything. Currency Exchanges don’t have the data resources on city stickers that the City Clerk’s office does. Your alderman’s office may get you info you can bring to the City Clerk to get this resolved.

    Try that.

  31. Janna says:

    Hi there, wondering why i have to get a residential sticker at all if i live in a “none” zone and the car is registered to my parents house in the suburbs? Thanks!

  32. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    Technically, if your car resides in the city, you need to get a Chicago city sticker. However, many people through the years have kept their vehicle registered outside the city for the purposes of not paying their city sticker every year. The risk is, you could be ticketed at $200 per infraction.

    The best defense for deterring and fighting these tickets is to keep both your driver’s license and vehicle registration with the same suburban address. Then, if you get ticketed you can “prove” you are a suburbanite and don’t have to get a city sticker.

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