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City Services

Contesting Parking, Red Light and Automated Speed Enforcement Tickets by Mail

As a registered owner of a vehicle, you have the right to contest the issuance of a parking, red light  and automated speed enforcement ticket. You have seven (7) days from the date of issuance to contest a ticket. If nothing is received, you are then sent a Notice of Violation allowing you fourteen (14) days to request a hearing. Still if no response is received, a Notice of Determination is sent notifying you that you have been found liable by default and must appear in person to petition to set the default aside. This option must be exercised within twenty-one (21) days of the date of the Determination. Once the twenty-one (21) days have lapsed, your opportunity to contest has expired. A Notice of Final Determination is mailed informing you that your options to challenge the ticket, both administratively and judicially, have been forfeited.

What defenses must be raised during a challenge?
The following defenses are allowed by the Municipal Code of Chicago for most parking and compliance tickets. They are:

  1. The respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation;
  2. The cited vehicle or its state registration plates (license plates) were stolen at the time of the violation;
  3. The relevant signs prohibiting or restricting parking were missing or obscured;
  4. The relevant parking meter was inoperable or malfunctioned through no fault of the respondent;
  5. The facts alleged in the parking or compliance violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated (e.g., motorists may contest a city sticker violation if they have resided in Chicago for less than 30 days or the cited vehicle was purchased in the last 30 days; tinted windows comply with the medical use requirement of 625 ILCS 5/12-503(g); the residential parking permit was issued to a delivery, service, or repair vehicle or home health care provider doing business with or assisting a resident of the zone; etc.);
  6. The illegal vehicle condition did not exist at the time of the compliance violation;
  7. The illegal vehicle condition was corrected prior to the hearing (Note: this defense does not apply to city sticker violations (§ 9-64-125), muffler or exhaust violations (§ 9-76-140(a)), missing plate violations (§ 9-76-160(a)), expired registration violations (§ 9-76-160(f)), and tinted window violations (§ 9-76-220)).

The following defenses are allowed for Red Light Violations recorded by automated cameras; violations issued pursuant to 9-102-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. You should have received a notice by postal mail displaying three (3) images of a vehicle registered in your name, including a close-up image of the vehicle's license plate:

  1. The operator was also issued a uniform traffic citation for a violation of sections 9-8-020(c) or 9-16-030(c) (for     purposes of red light camera violations issued pursuant to section 9-102-020 only);
  2. That the violation occurred when the vehicle or its state registration plates (license plates) were reported to a law enforcement agency as having been stolen, and the vehicle or its plates had not been recovered by the owner at the time of the alleged violation;
  3. The vehicle was an authorized emergency vehicle or was lawfully participating in a funeral procession;
  4. That the facts alleged in the violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the Chicago Municipal code was violated;
  5. The respondent was not the owner of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation.

The following defenses are allowed for Automated Speed Enforcement Violations recorded by automated cameras; violations issued pursuant to 9-101-020 or 9-102-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. You should have received a notice by postal mail displaying three (3) images of a vehicle registered in your name, including a close-up image of the vehicle's license plate:

  1. The operator of the vehicle was issued a Uniform Traffic Citation for a speeding violation occurring within one-eighth of a mile and 15 minutes of the violation that was recorded by the system;
  2. The facts alleged in the violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that Section 9-12-070, 9-12-075, or 9-12-077 was violated;
  3. The violation occurred at any time during which the vehicle or its state registration plates (license plates) were reported to a law enforcement agency as having been stolen and the vehicle or its plates had not been recovered by the owner at the time of the alleged violation;
  4. The vehicle was leased to another and the lessor has provided the name and address of the lessee within 30 days of being notified, in compliance with Section 9-100-140(c);
  5. The vehicle was an authorized emergency vehicle; or
  6. The respondent was not the registered owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation.

The following defenses are allowed for Bus Stop or Bus Lane Violations recorded by automated cameras; violations issued pursuant to 9-103-020(a) of the Municipal Code of Chicago for violating sections 9-12-060(b) or 9-64-140(b). You should have received a notice by postal mail with images of a vehicle registered in your name, including a close-up image of your vehicle's license plate:

  1. The operator of the vehicle was issued a uniform traffic citation for a violation of 9-12-060(b) or a parking violation for 9-64-140(b);
  2. The violation occurred at any time during which the vehicle or its license plate was reported to a law enforcement agency as having been stolen and the vehicle or its license plate had not been recovered by the owner at the time of the alleged violation;
  3. The vehicle was leased to another, and within sixty (60) calendar days after the citation was mailed to the owner, the owner submitted to the City of Chicago Department of Finance the correct name and address of the lessee of the vehicle identified on the citation at the time of the violation, together with a copy of the lease agreement, and any additional information as may be required by the Department;
  4. The vehicle was an authorized emergency vehicle;
  5. The facts alleged in the violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that Section 9-12-060(b) or Section 9-64-140(b) was violated;
  6. The respondent was not the registered owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation;
  7. The vehicle was making a right hand turn;
  8. The vehicle, if not a taxicab, was stopped to expeditiously load or unload passengers, and the vehicle did not interfere with any bus waiting to enter or about to enter the bus lane;
  9. The vehicle, if a licensed taxicab, was stopped to expeditiously load or unload passengers.

Mail a statement signed by the registered owner to the address appearing below. You can use the pre-addressed envelope provided with the ticket issued to your vehicle or the envelope provided with the mailed Notice of Violation. Be sure to fill the bubble noting Contest By Mail appearing on the envelopes. If you are contesting a ticket using the envelope provided with a Notice of Violation, please also include the stub at the end of the notice, and fill the bubble on the stub noting Contest By Mail.

What information should be included on my contest-by-mail statement?
Set forth facts that establish a defense. Also enclose any supporting evidence, indicating the ten-digit ticket number of the ticket you are contesting on each piece of evidence. Evidence can include, but is not limited to: photographs, affidavits, your state vehicle registration, or official police vehicle theft and/or recovery reports. Make sure the documents are legible and complete. Send copies, not originals; evidence will not be returned.

Mail the statement signed by the registered owner and any evidence to:
City of Chicago
Department of Finance
P.O. Box 88292
Chicago, IL 60680-1292

Appealing the Administrative Law Officer's decision:
If you are dissatisfied with the Administrative Law Officer's decision, you can appeal before a judge under Administrative Review in the Circuit Court of Cook County located at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., Room 602. This option must be exercised within 35 days of the Administrative Law Officer's decision.