Monday, January 12, 2009

Won Parking Ticket Hearing in Chicago

On October 29, 2008 I received a parking ticket in downtown Chicago for Noncompliant Plates. The parking ticket indicated that I had violated 9-76-160(d) of the Chicago Municipal Code because I had improper plastic covers on my plates. I requested a hearing on the ticket, and the hearing was held today on Addison Street. I pulled the actual city ordinance which states that "no registration plate shall be covered by any tinted or colored screen." I have clear plastic covers on my plates. I also did some research into state law and discovered that effective June 1, 2008, under state law you cannot have any clear covers on your plates. I assume that these prohibitions about covers on plates have to do with the ability of red light and traffic cameras to take pictures of license plates. But since the ticket was written as a violation of the Chicago Municipal Code, I raised this defense in my hearing. I even brought the clear plastic plate cover with me to the hearing. I had taken photographs of my vehicle with my cell phone camera as soon as I received the ticket and showed those photographs to the hearing officer to prove that the same clear plastic cover I had brought to the hearing was on the plates when the ticket was issued. The photographs made the plastic covers appear slightly tinted but pointed out that I had parked the vehicle directly below the overhead CTA tracks.

I noticed that many citizens before me were arguing excuses rather than raising legal defenses to their ticket. One elderly man argued that he should not have been given a ticket for stopping his car in a zone clearly marked as a "no stopping or standing zone" because he had a stroke and was being dropped off to the doctor's office. Another man was able to prove that he had his registration for his vehicle but had forgotten to place it on his windshield. All of these arguments failed because while they are valid excuses, they are not legal defenses. First, start by looking at the law and see if you can defend your ticket by arguing that you did not violate the terms of the law.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.


Lara said...

I received the same ticket you did and for the exact same reason, a clear license plate cover! And now I'm it worth taking time out of my day and dealing with Cook County employees to save $50? Or should I just consider it a tax for parking in Corrupt Cook County and be glad that it wasn't for more money? I think I will see when my court date is, and then decide.

By the way, the kicker in all of this is roughly an hour after this ticket was received, MY CAR WAS BROKEN INTO. The passenger side window was shattered and my CD player was stolen. Where was the valiant ticketing officer then? Off saving the rest of the world from the dangers of clear license plate covers? Ridiculous.

James G. Dimeas said...

It really is a shame. They know that most people will just pay up because it's not worth it for them to take a day off of work to challenge a $50 ticket. For most people it makes more sense to just pay and shut up. How unjust!
I wish you the best.

Jay said...

James, Thanks for posting this. I recently got a ticket for the same 9-76-160(d). I have a clear plastic cover and the reason I have it is because most IL license plates rust and eventually become illegible. I guess you have seen many such IL license plates in the Chicago area. As you said, my plastic cover is clear plastic and it does not hide or disfigure my license plate at all. In your case, were you able to contest this ticket and get it over turned?? Thanks. Jay.

James Dimeas said...

I did contest the ticket and I won. I explain in the article what I did and how I won. Now this was many years ago so I don't know if Chicago changed the ordinance or not. You need to do some research. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

As it reads now on January 23rd 2016, under 9-76-160 - non-compliant plates [sic](d)- Every registration plate shall be at all times be securelly 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 a position to be clearly visible and shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legibile. 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 section. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined the amount set forth in Section 9-100-020 for each offense. I would say you are correct in arguing that you had a clear plastic cover over your plate, I would also research what defines a screen to see if such a plastic cover measures up to that definition. So in essance, make sure your plates are properly affixed to to your vehicle in the spot where they're supposted to be affixed at, (or at least the same height) and amke sure you don't have any colored "screens" covering your LP's and one should be fine!!!

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