Category Archives: Parking Ticket Advice

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.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Parking Ticket Geek,

On Friday my family & I visited the Shedd aquarium and fed a meter $5 to park until 4:01 p.m.

At 3:45 we made our way out of the aquarium, but as we were walking past the lockers heading out of the accessible exit, my 2 year old grabbed a door and shook it – and got her thumb pinched between the doors. She instantly shrieked and a blood blister appeared on her thumb. We sat, calmed, consoled, and bandaged as quickly as was humanly possible.

We grabbed our stuff and walked as briskly as you can lugging a 2 year old and a 5 month old, and just as we rounded the odd fountain with the man holding a fish, we could see flashing lights, and my watch read 4:01.

By the time we hit the crosswalk we could see him at our car, and when we reached our car at 4:04 we had a ticket that read 4:03. BAH.

I know since it’s a meter we don’t fall under the 5 minute grace period, but is it worth pleading our sob story? We’ve NEVER had a parking ticket.


Snow Covered Cars Are Targets For Tickets

It has been a over a week since Chicago got hit with its first substantial snowfall of the season.

And if you park on the street, and haven’t cleared the snow off your car, dug it out or better yet, moved your vehicle out of the space it’s been hibernating in for the past week, you had better get your butt in gear.

If you don’t know already, motorists are required by law to move their street parked vehicle every seven days. Otherwise you can be ticketed and ultimately towed for Chicago municipal code violation #09-80-110(a)–or in English,”Abandoned Vehicle: 7 Days or Incapable of Operation.”

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Geek,

Last night when going out with my girlfriend we left her car parked and fed the parking meter but we overstayed for 6 mins (paid until 8:48pm, ticketed at 8:54….9:00 p.m the time you don’t have to feed a meter anymore on that area).

She got a $50.00 ticket and she was really upset, we read the 5-minute grace period note at the bottom of the ticket but we are thinking that it will not apply (as it was a 6 min overstay).

1) Do we call the 312 number listed on the ticket and try to negotiate with whoever answers for a 6 minutes grace instead of 5?

2) Do we pay it :( ?

3) Do we not pay it and see what happens? She never gets tickets but I’m a bit hesitant recommending her not to pay it as I’ve heard horror stories about the yellow boot in the city. Do you think that she can get a yellow-boot if she does not pay this ticket?

4) Do we contest it? (the ticket was issued correctly so I’m not sure if we have a shot)

Thanks for your response Geek,


Geek Speaks In Public Monday Night

The Parking Ticket Geek has an aversion to crowds.

Normally, if he’s not driving around getting parking tickets, he is hiding himself in his secret bunker, deep underground and away from prying and scornful eyes of the public.

However, the creepy Geek, after much prodding and cajoling, has agreed to briefly leave his lair and appear in public (sans mask) to speak to a meeting of a northside civic association called U.N.I.T.E.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear 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.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear PTG,

I have an ethical question for you.

There is a car that has been parked on my block for over a month–they were doing street construction farther down the block so they seem to have skipped the street cleaning. I know that the law says one week max, but this is not about the law, it is about what is right.

I wouldn’t normally care in the summer but for the fact that the car is taking up two spaces instead of one–it is parked at the beginning of the block and is parked about a half a cars length behind the yellow line so that no car can park in front of it.

I feel like a cranky old man with this get off my lawn behavior, but parking is really a problem where I live and I have difficulty feeling sorry for someone who parks in such an inconsiderate manner. So, what are your thoughts?


Ethical question? No comprende “ethics” Brandon.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Hi Geek,

I got a ticket for not displaying my city sticker.

Here is the deal – we recently bought a house in Aurora and are in the process of moving out of our Chicago apartment. Our closing date was August 2nd so I obviously was not going to buy a sticker.

The closing date has been moved to August 11th – but I still was not going to buy a sticker for that many days! Anything I can do to get out of this???



You need to really move your butt on this one Amy.

Immediately change the registration on your vehicle to your new, non-Chicago address with the Illinois Secretary of State. ASAP!!! Move it!

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…

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

Hi Geek,

I recently received and paid a $50 fine for overstaying a Chicago meter.

That $25 box of chocolates I bought for my date, actually cost me $75 big ones! Ouch!

And not even a kiss! But I digress.

When on-line I noticed a now 13-year old ticket for “rush hour parking” issued to my plates (I think that was my tag back then but sometimes I have trouble remembering last week!) but the car listed as a Buick.

I honestly have never owned a Buick. This citation shows up under my Illinois drivers license search of the Chicago ticket database so it seems forever attached to me.

What ‘s your advice for resolving this after all these years. Apparently I am too late by 12 yrs and 8 months to appeal?