Boot & Run

A crafty driver in Logan Square found a way to escape the dreaded Denver boot and give the city the middle finger all in one fell swoop last night.

The industrious car owner, finding his or her vehicle immobilized by a bright yellow, heavy, metal boot, found a way to remove the entire wheel in order to get back on the road.

The courteous driver did leave behind a souvenir for the city’s Department of Finance, the nice people who issue parking tickets and slap boots on cars with more than two unpaid parking tickets over a year old, or three unpaid parking tickets in final determination status.

Surprisingly, Department of Finance staffers say booted drivers succeed in removing their boot more often then one would think.

The downside for drivers who remove the boot from their car is that they now face a $750 fine for tampering with the boot.

Special tip to Steve T. for the tip.

16 Responses to Boot & Run

  1. David says:

    I have always wondered how the City can obtain the $750 fine for tampering with the boot. They would have to prove that the driver did the tampering . For example, what if a Robin Hood movement arose in which a group went around the city removing and stealing boots. The city has a finite number, and this group would be doing this for political purposes (no doubt on their way to Tea Party meetings…). Could the city get boot tampering from the owner? Or one neighbor dislikes another and sees that his unliked neighbor has just been booted. So he goes and tampers with the boot to get an extra $750 in fines for his neighbor. And so on. The City has got to have some proof, and I don’t see how they have it if they don’t catch the miscreant in their tracks.

    Now this one is pretty obviously the driver, but what if it was a car thief stealing the car? The driver clearly has more than one ticket and thus has been careless parking it. Maybe, the thief theorizes, the driver will think that the city towed the car. (in fact, one could make a case that cars that have been booted are “better” targets for thieves. The owner, once the car has been determined to be booted, is less likely to return to it until release has been obtained.)

  2. Jeff says:

    If the boot is broken off, and the owner of the car is then seen driving he car around, that is sufficient circumstantial evidence for a jury to infer that the owner (or someone in collusion with the owner) was behind the tampering. There is no need for video footage or CSI-style forensics evidence to prove guilt here.

  3. David says:

    I know that this is the position of the City. I just don’t think its legally sustainable. And if opens up the person who is booted to mischief from all sorts of sources. An angry neighbor or someone who is mad about a car being booted in “their” space could easily, under this policy, impose an additional $750 fine on the driver. And its a bad precedent for a whole slew of other reasons. In America we require that punishment be imposed on more than mere speculation or factually unsupported surmise.

  4. Pete says:

    The thing about parking fines is that there is no proof required whatsoever of any wrongdoing. If the ticket is written, the owner of the car is responsible. Therefore nothing at all has to be proven regarding who removed the boot.

    If someone takes a boot off of a car they do not own, the owner of the car will get the booting bill from the city and there won’t be a damn thing they can do about it. The city is perfectly OK with this as it maximizes revenue. Yay for the Crook County Administrative Kangaroo Courts.

  5. Greg says:

    Here’s a question – other than the paperwork the booter fills out, if the boot is removed, what is the proof that it was actually put on in the first place? What stops someone who is booted from saying they never got booted in the first place, and the booter must have filled out the wrong info.

    Oh, right, I forgot, no one from the city EVER makes a mistake like that…

  6. Jeff says:

    Circumstantial evidence convicts defendants every day. A wife is found dead in her home, murdered by a blunt weapon that is not recovered. There are no witnesses or physical evidence or signs of forced entry. The week before she dies, her husband had taken out a life insurance policy on her for $5 million. The only person who had keys to the house besides the wife was the husband, and his keys are still on his person at the time of his arrest. Even with no witnesses or physical evidence or murder weapon, that is damning circumstantial evidence from which a jury could draw the factual inferences to convict. Just ask Drew Peterson about whether circumstantial evidence can send you to jail.

  7. DoR Employee says:

    Greg, boot vehicles have video cameras that record every attachment or release.

    The Booter has no control over them. They start rolling as soon as the inboard computer is turned on for the shift.

    Part for safety of the Booter in case of assault or battery attacks, and part for evidence in case of theft/damage to the boot so there is video of what condition the boot was in, which side of the vehicle it was put on and which wheel it was attached to. The GPS also records the address specific to the car when the “boot eligible” alarm sounds from the plate recognition camera/software system. And then a secondary manual check via phone call in to the shift Boss is done just to be certain before a boot is attached to remove any chance of error. Very few vehicles get a boot in error with the current system.

  8. Greg says:

    Here’s a diabolical question…isn’t a very simple way to avoid the boot if you are on the list – or even a ticket, for that matter – is to cover your plate with something? Or even take the plate off?

  9. KevinG says:

    Greg,

    I would be willing to bet that you could avoid the boot by covering your plate. But I’d also point out that it ilegal to cover your plates, and IIRC Chicago DoR will be more than happy to ticket you for that so I’m not sure how much you gain.

    Maybe if you know you’ll need the car in a hurry and don’t mind paying a very steep interest rate on your past due tickets.

  10. B says:

    The obvious question is, what constitutes tampering with the boot? One could argue in this case the boot has not been tampered with and is right where the city employees put it.

    On another note, given the condition of the tire, this was on a car someone doesn’t really maintain very well. Either a ball joint problem or a tie rod end issue. Either way the car is probably long on the way to immobilizing itself.

  11. Greg says:

    Kevin -

    I understand its illegal.

    But if you cover it in a way that can’t be easily removed, they can’t see the plate to write the tickets to. And put something over the VIN number on the dash, and they have no way to assign the ticket to anyone.

    If people were really diabolical, it seems it would be pretty simple to create a fake temp plate.

    I have such a devious mind…

    Then of course, I’m the one who purposely creeps up to intersections at red light cameras and rolls through just enough to set the camera off, so those evaluating them have to waste their time looking at them…

  12. B says:

    Greg, I am surprised you don’t get tickets doing something like that. Around the country RLC tickets are just rubber stamped. Machine said so, therefore it is. I didn’t think the City of Chicago or Redflex in this instance, would be an exception.

    There’s one RLC in the suburbs that I turn left towards the approach covered by the camera (for right on red revenue) and if I cut the left turn just tight enough the camera flashes. Having a green light and not going the direction the camera covers prevents any tickets of course.

    One time I have the green someone on the cross street just creeps slowly through the red nearly causing a collision but the RLC for that approach didn’t flash. There seems to be a speed slow enough on the approach that some don’t register.

    WRT plates, The only way to avoid the boot with plate changes/covers would probably be to have a James Bond rotating number plate. Have the real one showing when driving around and then after parking flip it to another with a valid sticker. Odds are the only thing that will run plate numbers of a parked car is the booting van, while the only check on a moving car will be from a police cruiser.

  13. Drew says:

    Greg…that constitutes a legitimate reason to Seize the Vehicle right there.

    Any vehicle parked on the Public way without visible/valid registration plates can be towed under Ordinance Numbers:

    9-80-110 : Part C: Vehicle has been left on the public way without state registration plates or a temporary state registration placard for two or more days. (Abandoned or Hazardous Vehicles)

    9-76-160 A through F: It is illegal to park a vehicle on any roadway if the registration plate or other registration material fails to comply with these subsection’s.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Here’s something fun. A car sits booted, and a third party STEALS the boot, to use as a security device like The Club. The schnook driver gets fines the $750 and the third party driver has a boot to slow down car thieves. (presumably because he lives in a hazardous neighborhood)

  15. Eddie says:

    This is childs play. If you know how to take off a wheel with a flat then this is easy. I’d wonder if these really cost $750 to replace.

    Ed

  16. Anonymous says:

    Eddie,

    The boot & lock do cost less than $750 to replace. The reason for the $750 is a punitive fine for removing or damaging the device. If the fine was simply replacement value, there would be no punishment.

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