12/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek


Hi Parking Geek,

I got a parking ticket on the 6th of October (yesterday), but the officer wrote the date on the ticket as the 9th of October (in the future!). Is this something that is easy to get thrown out (since I wasn't there on the 9th--yet!). And how should I go about this? Thank you, Sage!

Back to the Future

Dear Back to the Future,

That's hilarious. If the date is wrong, the ticket should be immediately dismissed because it does not make what's called a "prima facie" case. All the pertinent information on the ticket MUST be accurate (plate number, state, date, time, location, etc.). If one of these elements is not correct, and can be proven, the hearing officer by law, must dismiss the ticket even before the merits of the alleged violation are heard.

That being said, it might be hard to prove the date was wrong or that you were not there on the date alleged.

If I had actually been in town when I received your e-mail, I would have told you to rush down to one of the in-person hearing centers and have you schedule the hearing even before the date on the ticket. That would have proven your ticket had the wrong date as, how could you have scheduled the hearing BEFORE the ticket was issued. Impossible of course.

Since you can't do that, you need to prove you weren't there on the 9th to have received the ticket. See if you can produce a receipt from the store you were at on the 6th. Or perhaps you were at work on the 9th and have records or a notarized letter from your boss stating this.

Or, is there a friend or co-worker that can go with you to the hearing, or write a letter (notarized of course) establishing you were not where the ticket was written on the 9th of October?

Otherwise, the most simple tact would be to just testify you were there on the 6th, not the 9th, the ticket writer got it wrong and therefore, because the ticket does not establish a "prima facie case," and meets at least one, if not two of the city's seven possible defenses:

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;

6-The illegal condition described in the compliance violation notice did not exist at the time the notice was issued;

Good luck and keep the Geek posted.

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

Hi Geek -

I parked my car at a broken meter. I remember reading in the Sun-Times or Tribune an interview with the director of revenue or someone in revenue/parking enforcement, that it's also a good idea to call 311 and report the broken meter.

Upon doing so, I was then told by the representative that this doesn't prevent me from getting a ticket nor should I park there since I now know the meter is broken. I looked up the ordinance on parking meters and it clearly says, "It is not a violation of this section to park a vehicle at a zone or space served by a meter that does not function properly, provided that the meter is inoperable or malfunctioning through no fault of the vehicle's operator."

So why is the 311 rep saying that? Do all P.E.A. know that you should not issue a citation when the meter is broken, or do they make you jump through hoops to contest a wrongly issued ticket anyways?


B. Fuddled

Dear B. Fuddled,

You ask a good question. Why is the 311 operator telling you, you can't park at a broken meter and you risk being ticketed if you do?

The simple answer is this: THEY ARE STUPID!

You are right. The law clearly states that if a meter is broken, you can still park there without being ticketed. So, don't listen to the ignorant 311 operator. Follow the law.

Your question about the P.E.A.'s is actually a more important question. The vast majority of P.E.A.'s will NOT ticket you if you are parked at a broken meter. Most understand this area of the law and there are so many meters that are broken at any given moment, they know not to issue a ticket in this case.

That's not to say that every once in a while people get ticketed for parking at a broken meter (I know from personal experience), but it doesn't happen very often.

My suggestion is to use my strategy of ALWAYS parking at broken meters if at all possible. This saves you money, keeps revenue out of the city's twisted greedy claws, and gives you an easy win if you do get ticketed.

Thanks for the note.

Very truly yours,

The P.T.G.

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Dear Non-Chicagoans,

While I am very appreciative of your e-mails and questions regarding the parking tickets in your town, I cannot in good conscience answer your questions.

The reason is, I am unfamiliar with the laws in your state or town. Parking laws differ city to city, state to state. I only know about fighting Chicago parking tickets. Advising others outside Chicago would not be helpful to you and perhaps a disservice to you in your ticket fight.

My best advice would only be to fight your tickets. Look up the law and perhaps become an expert (or in my case, so-called expert) in your town.

Thank you.

The rest of you Chicagoans, suburbanites and anyone else who has received a bright orange Chicago parking ticket--keep those questions coming!!!

Very truly yours,

The Parking Ticket Geek

Every week, The Parking Ticket Geek doles out his insipid brand of Chicago parking ticket advice.

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