Category Archives: Fighting Chicago Parking Tickets

How To Avoid & Beat Residential Permit Parking Tickets



I walked out of a parking ticket hearing today, smiling gleefully while firmly gripping the paperwork dismissing the ticket I received for parking in a residential permit parking zone back in May. It’s a happiness that needs to be shared by showing other drivers the best way to avoid and/or beat these tickets.

Residential permit parking zones restrict drivers from parking on a great percentage of Chicago streets.

The original concept for the restrictions was to make sure residents living near hospitals, CTA or Metra train stops or schools, were able to park in front or near of their homes without having to compete for spaces with visitors.

But the number of RPP zones have exploded over the past twenty years making it more difficult every year for motorists to find free parking on residential streets.

But parking tickets for RPP violations are pretty easy to avoid and not very hard to beat if you get one.

NBC 5 Helps Driver Fight ‘Unfair’ Parking Ticket Rulings

Sam Navin is new to Chicago.

And the city has made him feel more than welcome almost immediately issuing his truck a pair of bright orange parking tickets.

The only problem was that both tickets were issued improperly according to Navin.

The first was for having an expired truck permit, which made no sense to Navin who got his sticker just after he came to town. So he took a photo of his permit sticker, assembled all his evidence including proof of when and where he got his permit and mailed it off with a letter explaining why the ticket was issued improperly.

Unfortunately for Navin, the Administrative Law Judge ruled against him saying in his decision there was no date/time stamp on the photos he submitted as evidence. Puzzlingly, the photo of the truck permit sticker the city provided was unreadable.

Right after that, Navin was issued a ticket for not having a front plate on his vehicle–even though he says it was there. So he dutifully took photos–this time with a date and time stamp and a letter with his defense.

Parking Ticket 101: Parking Too Far From The Curb

A tape measure is your friend when fighting a parking ticket for parking too far from the curb.

A tape measure is your friend when fighting a parking ticket for parking too far from the curb.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Parking Ticket 101 is a semi-regular feature explaining to drivers the most effective ways to fight Chicago parking tickets.

We’ll work through the city’s municipal code violation by violation and give readers the best strategies for each and every one.

9-64-020 Parallel parking – Obstruction of traffic
(a) It shall be unlawful to stand or park any vehicle, except for a motorcycle or motor scooter, in a roadway other than parallel with the edge of the roadway headed in the direction of lawful traffic movement and with the curbside wheels of the vehicle within 12 inches of the curb or edge of the roadway; provided, however, this prohibition shall not apply to the parking of any vehicle in a designated diagonal parking zone or space.

Anyone with a driver’s license should know when you parallel park a vehicle as close to the curb as reasonably possible–legally, the car’s tires must be no more than 12″ from the curb.

Sometimes drivers will get sloppy and park a little farther away from the curb than they should or, perhaps a buildup or snow or ice prevents or obstructs a vehicle from parking closer.

And that’s when the tickets get written.

In the case of a “12″ from curb” ticket, the tape measure is your friend.

Professor Geek Teaches Parking Ticket 101 Class At CivicLab

Parking Ticket 101 photoThe Parking Ticket Geek is teaching a class.

The West Loop’s Civic Lab invited the Geek to teach a class on fighting parking tickets we’re calling Parking Ticket 101.

It’s a slimmed down version of our Driver Survival Seminars with a focus purely on avoiding and contesting those pesky bright orange tickets from the city.

Parking Ticket 101 will give attendees an overview of parking enforcement in Chicago and educate attendees on how best to both avoid parking tickets and how best to handle receiving a ticket, including how to successfully contest improper or unfair ones.

Civics Lab is a co-working education and office space created to help teach Chicagoans about civic engagement, activism and how to better understand and interact with their government. It was founded by Tom Tresser and Ben Sugar last summer.

Tresser is that famous troublemaker who, among his many other accomplishments spearheaded No Games Chicago, the group which furiously lobbied against bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

Seating is limited so reserve your spot right away. There is a nominal $10 fee that goes toward helping support Civics Lab in its great work.

Sign up through Eventbrite or through our Facebook event page.

EVENT: Parking Ticket 101/Driver Survival Seminar

WHEN: Wednesday, March 26th at 6:30 PM

WHERE:  Civics Lab,  114 N. Aberdeen St.  Chicago, IL 60607

SIGNUP: At Eventbrite


Geek Scores A Hat Trick Against The City

Some days are just better than others.

My plan for yesterday was simply to fight another of the seemingly endless stream of parking tickets my ’83 Impala seems to attract.

I had planned my day so I could take an hour off after lunch time to hit a hearing facility, but per usual my plans took a left turn.

Beer Drinking In The Park

A colleague’s niece stormed into the office waving one of the city’s blue colored ordinance violation tickets in my face asking me if I could help her with her ticket. I was a bit hesitant at first as my expertise lies with the orange tinted tickets–not the blue.

NBC 5 Shares Tips For Fighting Parking Tickets

View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.

NBC 5′s Lisa Parker is back on the parking ticket beat.

First she helps a driver ticketed while his car was parked in a garage in the suburbs get some ticket justice.

Then, she shares research from successful parking ticket defenses on how to beat parking tickets.

Check out her full story at the NBC 5 website.


Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Parking Ticket Geek,

Do you know anything about this law firm that collects money for the City of Chicago, Arnold Scott Harris?

I was garnished after I got on a payment plan and they claimed it was a “system” error. I am embarrassed at my job now and could scream! I can never get through to them and when I do, different people tell me different things, they always contradict themselves that is assuming I can understand what they say, some of them can barely speak good English.

Is this place legit?


I feel your frustration Mike.

Blogger Makes Beating Parking Tickets Look Easy

Steve Tanner dislikes parking tickets just as much as the rest of us.

But Mr. Tanner, after getting two tickets in February for not displaying a Chicago city sticker, decided to do something about it and fight back.

Unfortunately, Tanner’s sticker was one of the tens of thousands of city stickers sold last year without enough adhesive to remain affixed to his windshield.

The cold weather of the Blizzard of 2011 ultimately took its toll and Tanner’s sticker wound up on the floor of his car and thus, replaced by two orange tickets on his windshield.

Tanner does an amazing job of documenting how the entire process of his journey from violation to building a case to ultimately having both tickets dismissed at his hearing on his blog, SteveandAmySly.com.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Geek,

Apparently I have over $4,000 in parking tickets.

Arnold Scott Harris (the collection agency)  has been contacting me like crazy.

The problem is I have no money. I have been unemployed since September of 2010.

Do you have any idea what my options are? I wanted to see if they would offer me a settlement where I can pay half, but they claim they don’t do that. Do you know if that is true?

The lady said my only option is a payment plan. Is that true?



Unfortunately, the payment plan is your only option Jake.

Parking Ticket 101: Fighting Cell Phone, Texting Tickets

Back in 2005, the Chicago City Council passed a controversial law prohibiting motorists from using a cell phone without a hands free device back.

It was one of the country’s earliest municipal bans on driving while using a cell phone without a hands free device and it was not without controversy. Some people embraced the move, while others felt it was just another strategy to generate more revenue for the city.

The law was changed in 2008 to take it from being adjudicated as a moving violation and making it essentially the equivalent of a parking ticket or red light camera violation.

Since 2005, tens of thousands of drivers in Chicago have been slapped with a $100 ticket for driving with a cell phone up to their ear.

But there are ways to avoid cell phone driving tickets as well as fighting them successfully when they’re issued improperly.