Parking Ticket Geek

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Ask The Parking Ticket Geek

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The Parking Ticket Geek

The Geek is an idiot, who gets a lot of parking tickets, and knows how to fight back.

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Dear Geek,

I just got a notice of delinquent parking citation from the city of Charleston, SC for a parking ticket that I was supposedly given of June 27 of last year.

This came as a surprise to me since I haven't been to SC in about a decade.

Not only that but while the license plate number is the same as mine the make of the car is not. They have the make listed as a Subaru. I don't own or have ever owned a Subaru.

My question for you is will I have to go to South Carolina to contest this ticket?

What can the state of SC do to me if I just throw this ticket in the trash? I do know that there's no way I'm paying for a ticket to a state when I haven't been to the state or or even own the make of car they're describing.

Chris

Chris-

In my humble Geek opinion, there's not a damn thing those South Carolina rednecks can do to you.

The Geek is a Chicago boy who knows nothing of hillbilly parking ticket regulations.

My guess is there may be a way to contest the ticket by mail.

If not, send them a letter explaining to them, that you have not been to South Carolina in 10 years, your car is not a Subaru and send them a copy of your registration proving this point.

Make sure you use only single syllable words,  so they can't get confused by your book learned city ways.

My guess is the ticket writer wrote down the wrong license plate number.

Even if they don't accept your proof, reason and logic, don't despair. There's really nothing they can do to you except send you pathetic threatening letters that are essentially, like much of the population of South Carolina, toothless.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

The Geek

Chicago City Sticker 2008

Hi Parking Ticket Geek,

Some butt munch threw something at my car's front windshield and smashed it, while it was parked last night.

I'm wondering if I have to pay for a new city sticker, or any type of replacement fee, especially since we're about two months away from the city sticker renewal.

Thoughts?

Michael in Albany Park

Michael-

I live on the border of Albany Park.

And there does seem to be an overabundance of butt munches in that neighborhood.

Not only did that particular butt much cost you the price of a new windshield, it's going to cost you $30 for a replacement city sticker. At least according to the Chicago City Clerk's website.

Make sure you try to peel off the old city sticker off your windshield before you trash it. You'll need it to get the replacement. It seems, the Clerk's office wants to make sure you're not trying to scam them by "claiming" your sticker needs to be replaced for whatever reason.

If you don't have the sticker anymore or it was destroyed in the incident, bring your receipt with you, along with a receipt for the windshield replacement. A police report may help you with this as well.

If you don't have the original decal or the receipt, you may out of pocket for a brand new city sticker which will cost you $75. OUCH!

It would be my recommendation to pay the $30 for the replacement sticker even though the new stickers will be available shortly. Without the city sticker, especially if you park on the street, you are a potential target for a big, fat, juicy $120 fine.

Here's what I'm thinking though. If you're car insurance will cover the replacement of the windshield, perhaps they'll cover the cost to replace the city sticker? The sticker was damaged in the incident, so why wouldn't that be covered too, since it must be replaced? It's worth looking into.

Oh, before I forget. While it's important to get your replacement sticker sooner than later, it may be prudent to write a note in marker that you can stick on your dashboard explaining why you don't have a city sticker while you're in the process of replacing it.

Good luck!

The Parking Ticket Geek

Dear Parking Geek:

First, thank you. Finding yourself suddenly facing $1600 in parking fines, license suspension and the boot when you have about $150 in the bank is a stress inducing (and embarrassing) feeling and it helps to  find a resource.

I got a notice from the Dept of Law stating that I owe some $1600 in  fines and am subject to suspension, etc., with no recourse to contest  the tickets (a judgment has been entered).

Several are from 2006 (on a previously owned, now sold car) for a missing city sticker; the majority are red light violations on camera accrued since January 2009. I was NOT aware of any of these red light tickets; I've dug up pictures for two and it appears I was making a LEGAL right turn on  red.

The old ones I'd thought were taken care of when I got booted twice and paid $1200 to the city last year.

I've called two lawyers, neither of whom was even slightly helpful.

Questions:

1. Do I have any legal recourse once a judgment has been entered? (I know you're not a lawyer, nor am I paying lawyer fees to you, but I see a section titled "Circuit court" and am wondering if I can fight this legally in any way.)

2. I am livid that the city tickets you based on a camera recording  you making a legal right on red. Have you heard of this issue being raised before?

3. Is there a requirement for service by certified mail for these tickets, especially the red light ones?

4. Can they boot my new car with new plates for tickets against the car that was sold? Guessing this one is yes.

5. Are there any times of day/night weekends/holidays when the booters are off and you can park "safely" or do they roam 24/7?

6. Do you know a lawyer who handles these types of cases?

Thank you for any help you can offer and keep up the good work!

Sherye

Sherrye-

$1600?

That's brutal Sherrye. BRUTAL!

But don't be too hard on yourself. I've been there before in a similar situation and was completely embarrassed too. And so have lots of other people. It sucks, it's embarrassing, but you'll struggle through it.

Let me address your questions in order.

1-Once a judgment is entered, your options diminish. Sometimes, when a judgment has been entered, you are given a certain time frame to file a Motion to Dismiss the judgment. You can look into filing this motion, which, if the judge allows the motion, it gives you a little more time to investigate if you have any recourse in fighting any of this stuff.

My gut feeling is that you're not in great shape here. However, being that I'm not an attorney, I think I'll take a pass on saying anything more than this.

2-In regards to the right turn on red at a red light camera intersection, it's hard for me to say if you were right or not, without viewing the video that should be available to you. In general, the city's red light camera system is pretty damn accurate. Mistakes rarely happen.

That's why only 2% of all contested red light violations are ever dismissed. It's that accurate.

If you truly were not given notice of the violations, you may have some wiggle room there. Maybe. If the city is sending your notices to the wrong address, maybe you have a case. Again, your chances are slim to fight this aspect as well. It may be too late.

3-From what I have read in the municipal code, red light tickets do not have to be sent by certified mail. So you're SOL on that point.

4-Technically, the city can boot your new car with new plates for an old vehicle, with old plates that is/was on the boot list. However, if your new plate is clean and ticketless or you're all paid up on your tickets, chances are VERY slim they'll make the connection to your new vehicle. Just keep it clean.

5-Booting occurs six days a week. Monday through Saturday. No booting occurs on Sunday except for O'Hare or Midway parking lots.

More specifically, booting usually occurs in the early morning, from 5 AM until about noon. Very little booting is done in the early afternoon. But no booting seems to occur in the evening until early the next morning. So, like your cell phone plan, evenings are FREE.

On Saturdays, very little booting occurs and it seems to be only in the morning and along major thoroughfares.

Sundays, again, no booting (except the airports).

Remember, you can't be booted if your vehicle is on private property.

6-Lawyers, huh? I have two that may be able to help.

One super cool guy is James Dimeas from The Legal Defenders. Hey may be able to help. His firm handles traffic violations and license suspensions.

Another attorney to try is Roger Malavia, who heads up The Malavia Law Firm.

Other Thoughts: Is it possible you left your old plates on your former vehicle when you sold it or got rid of it? Is it possible someone else was using the plates illegally when they got all those red light tickets? Look into that.

Also, try to resolve this before your license gets suspended. This process can take a while, but you really don't want to have that hanging over your head.

Hope this helps. I'll say a prayer to St. Jude for you.

The Geek

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek is a weekly parking ticket advise column here at The Expired Meter.

If you have a question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please e-mail the Geek with your query at: askthegeek@theexpiredmeter.com

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