chicago parking tickets

Chicago Parking Tickets (Avoiding + Contesting Fines)

If you’re local to Chicago, parking tickets aren’t a new subject for you. Parking enforcement gives out tickets like candy – they are able to ticket every car without a sticker, which costs $87 per year. This has caused an incredible amount of debt (sticker violations are the largest source of ticket debt in the city). 

Often times, citizens who don’t have the money to pay the yearly city sticker don’t have the money to pay for a ticket. Not only can your car be booted or impounded if there are too many tickets, but the government can also suspend licenses after a driver has 10 unpaid parking fines. A Chicago parking ticket can turn into a nightmare!

On the bright side, the city is slowly improving these rules. They plan to end license suspensions, create more accessible payment plans, lower sticker penalties, bring back grace periods for drivers to get stickers, and make sure cars can’t be ticketed multiple times in one day. That said, 

Chicago Parking Tickets in 2020

The city loves boosting its revenue with tickets – they will hand them out as often as possible. On top of that, there is currently no statute of limitations in Illinois, meaning ticket debt will last forever. Chicago motorists owe $1.45 billion in ticket debt, while New York only owes $238 million in comparison because of their eight-year statute of limitations. 

Average Chicago Parking Tickets Cost

Most tickets cost anywhere from $50–$100, but some can cost all the way up to $200. There are many different violations that range in price. You can find a full list on their website, but here are a few of the most common parking tickets Chicago gives out. 

How much is a Chicago parking ticket?

Expired Parking Meter: $50–$65

Loading Zone: $60

Street Cleaning: $60

No Residential Parking Permit: $75 

Red Light: $100

Alley Parking: $150

Fire Hydrant: $150

Blocking Bicycle Path: $150

Sticker Violations: $200

How to Pay Your Ticket

As with most modern-day tickets, you can pay online. You can also pay in person, pay by phone, or pay by mail (check or money order). They will ask for your ticket number, but you can look it up by license plate as well. Online payment is easiest. 

Wondering where to pay parking tickets in Chicago? If you want to make your payment, you can simply search for a local payment center facility near you. 

How long do you have to pay a Chicago parking ticket?

You have 25 days from the date of the decision to pay parking violations before they double in price. 

Can you make a payment plan for parking tickets?

Luckily, anyone can set up a Chicago parking tickets payment plan. On top of that, they have been pushing to create even more accessible payment plans for the millions of citizens in ticket debt. In a standard plan, payments are set up in equal installments over a set period of time (up to 24 months). There are also hardship plans if you meet the qualifications (such as low-income households, senior citizens, students, or someone who receives other government benefits). 

Is there a statute of limitations on parking tickets in Chicago?

Unfortunately, Illinois is one of the rare states that has no statute of limitations. This means tickets will stay on your record forever. 

Fighting Your Chicago Parking Ticket

People make mistakes (even traffic officers). If you believe you were falsely issued a parking ticket, you can fight it. However, you must do it quickly – you only have seven days from the date of issuance to contest. If you’re contesting a red light or speed camera ticket, you have 21 days from the date of issuance to contest. 

If you don’t respond to the first notice within that window, you’ll receive a “Notice of Determination” that states that you’ve been found liable by default. After that, you have another 21 days to appear in person to contest the ticket. If you provide a quick response by mail, you can even avoid a court appearance. 

Possible reasons a parking violation may be disputed:

  • Ticket is illegible
  • Wrong date, time, or county
  • Incorrect vehicle information (wrong plate number, plate type, vehicle color, model year, vehicle manufacturer, etc.)
  • They didn’t specify whether you were parked in ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ the address in question

Note: if you don’t plan on fighting your Chicago parking ticket, you should pay it right away to avoid your ticket doubling, other late fees, and even worse consequences. 

How do I dispute a ticket?

They have made it pretty simple to submit a request for disputing a traffic ticket. It’s easiest to go on their website and submit a hearing request. You can also contest your ticket by mail and in-person.  

Writing your Statement

When you contest City of Chicago parking tickets, you will need to write an explanation to let them know why you want your ticket thrown out. On top of that, providing any photographs or other records that help show your ticket is invalid. If your statement is convincing enough, your ticket will be thrown out and you won’t need to have an in-person hearing. 

Don’t Lie

We don’t recommend lying about being innocent. It can result in even more fines and consequences if they find out you’re lying. That said, even when telling the truth, there are guidelines that will make it more likely for your ticket to be contested without having to attend a hearing.

Be Professional

When writing your statement (don’t go on a rant about how angry you are about the ticket). Write the message formally and firmly, as if you’re sending a message to your boss. 

Provide Evidence

Parking tickets with evidence are far more likely to be deemed not guilty when compared with no evidence. Make sure to take as many pictures and gather other evidence at the scene that helps prove your innocence!  

Bottom Line

Overall, Chicago parking tickets can be quite a hassle (especially if you’re wrongly written one). Not only do you need to keep up with mandatory sticker renewals, but you also need to make sure you park very carefully as there are many no parking zones or other signs. When parking, be very cautious. It’s also important to pay quickly as the price doubles after a short period of time. Hopefully, Chicago will update their rules soon to be more flexible with their ticket system and help relieve the city of debt. On a side note, check out our Chicago O’hare airport parking deals if you plan to park near the airport.