Old Chicago Parking Tickets?
March 24, 2004 2:43 PM   Subscribe

ChicagoMachineFilter: I left Chicago nearly four years ago, and just last night I received a bill from the Chicago Dept. of Revenue (aka Soprano Family, Midwestern Branch) via some law firm called Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson demanding $670 in fines and penalties for parking tickets incurred in 1995. (the more, she is inside.)

They say that I am on the dreaded boot list (or, more correctly, my old car -- which I sold in 1996 and has probably long-since been junked -- is on the list). I know that when I sold the car, I hadn't paid the tickets (though at least two that they show appear to have been incurred after I sold it); however, when my (now ex-)husband and I later registered our new car (or possibly when I renewed my driver's license -- it's been quite a few years now!), we paid back fines/fees on several old tickets -- which I had always assumed were these tickets from 1995. This is literally the first time I've gotten a collection notice for these tickets in nearly nine years. My questions (beyond what the fuck?!) are:

1) Most urgently, can they contact the California DMV and screw up my ability to re-register my car and/or renew my driver's license here? (Or even boot the car I currently drive? Yes, I know, it sounds paranoid -- but that's Chicago!)

2) If I ever move back to Chicago, will I automatically be prevented from registering a car or getting an IL driver's license again?

3) What are my chances for disputing this? I live halfway across the country now, and of course strongly doubt that either I or my ex still have any relevant paperwork. I'm assuming that at the very least, this will wind up on my credit report -- the credit report I've spent many, many long hard years of working to clean up following a couple of disastrous years of post-grad-school poverty.
posted by scody to Law & Government (11 answers total)
Oh yeah, and 4) Isn't there a frickety-frackin' statute of limitations on parking tickets anyway?
posted by scody at 2:57 PM on March 24, 2004

As a fellow Chicago parking ticket veteran, you are not far off the mark with the Sopranos reference.

I'd be more concerned about the credit issue than whether your tickets will show up in California (possible, but bloody unlikely in your lifetime.)

Can you post the text of the letter you got?
posted by PrinceValium at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2004

1 - yes! at least moving violations...i don't know about parking, but i would imagine "yes!"

2 - can they prevent you from doing this if you owe fines? should be easy to find out.

3 - bad. you have no proof.

4 - i have no idea.

not very helpful, i know....but my ex had a speeding ticket follow her across time and space to screw up getting a license....but again, that was a moving violation, not a parking ticket. i'd beware, however...these guys sound pretty bad.
posted by taumeson at 4:14 PM on March 24, 2004

Scroll down to number 5 on this page. If this info is accurate, there is no statute of limitations (SOL, heh) on parking tickets. I also couldn't find a SOL statute on Lexis either, maybe PrinceValium can confirm that.
posted by anathema at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2004

*stares at old and faded NYC parking ticket*
posted by anathema at 4:27 PM on March 24, 2004

The difference between speeding and parking tickets is that the former represents a violation of state law; the latter is a violation of a city ordinance. While Illinois might inform California of a speeding ticket or DUI, I doubt that Chicago has the ability to inform your new city of an outstanding parking ticket. But I could be wrong.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:09 PM on March 24, 2004

I got arrested once for an unpaid ticket. (biking in the wrong place -- who knew? well, yeah, I did.)

It was a four year-old ticket, I had moved out of state and back in, and had gone through three cars and three licenses.

They wants their money. Misdemeanor tickets are a huge source of income for municipalities.

Funny thing is, after all that time the amount due was only $20 more for a late fee, which kicked in only a month after I got the ticket. I'd say there's still a little leeway for them to hack socked me with even more.
posted by o2b at 8:35 PM on March 24, 2004

...to have socked me...
posted by o2b at 8:36 PM on March 24, 2004

Thanks for the responses. PrinceValium, to answer your question about the letter itself -- it's mostly about being taken off the boot list in 24 hours if I pay at least $500 upfront before March 31 (at which point the city will "allow me" to set up a payment plan for the remainder), plus how the total fees/penalties in tickets may not reflect totals in existing boot/tow/storage fees (which is irrelevant in my case).

I talked to my former husband just now (thank god for amicable divorces!) and I got off easy, relatively speaking -- he just got his extortion letter (as he put it) for $1500 for a car that was towed a decade ago, and which he signed over to the city (it was a junker -- he was about to sell it for parts anyway) after being told that if he gave them the title, all fees would be waived. That's just so fucking wrong it makes me spit.

His conclusion is the same as PrinceValium's -- for parking tix, a city department really isn't going to have any pull with an out-of-state DMV; it's not in California's self-interest, basically, to go through the trouble of booting me when they're not going to get any of the cash in the first place. But he concurs that at the very least they could screw with my credit, if not make things nasty for me if I ever moved back to Chicago. (He also concurs that we already paid at least several of these tickets back in '96 or '97...but of course, we've got no proof. Bastards.)
posted by scody at 10:23 PM on March 24, 2004

If you paid these at the DMV, they should still have the records. It will be a big pain to dig them out, but the records should still exist.
posted by Irontom at 5:11 AM on March 25, 2004

We're moving to Chicago at the end of August and I now know to never, ever, ever throw any municipality-related paper away.

Thank you, ask.metafilter!

Another possibility to prove payment might be cancelled checks or old bank statements, which if you don't have, you might be able to get copies of from your back. Although that, too, will be a massive pain in the ass.
posted by jennyb at 9:50 AM on March 25, 2004

« Older Can anyone recommend a better alternative to...   |   Other than Excel, Freehand, and Illustrator, are... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.