It's that time of year already. Ticketing starts in Chicago this weekend - $120 - for cars without a city vehicle sticker, or more accurately, for failure to properly display your sticker. (If you already bought your new one, don't forget to put it on your windshield. Simply purchasing it in time will not save you from a ticket.) And on top of the $120 ticket, you'll be facing a $40 late fee for buying the sticker after the deadline.
They're pretty strict about these stickers, which isn't surprising since the city makes millions from them. So be warned - even if you don't think it applies to you, it probably does. If your car is registered elsewhere and Chicago isn't your primary residence, you still need that sticker if you rent or own property here. If you are new to Chicago you only have 30 days to put a sticker on your car. And if you didn't know about the whole city sticker thing? Too bad Welcome to Chicago.
There are, of course, some ways to contest these tickets, but you need a good reason, like the fact that you don't own the car that was ticketed.
If you don't have the time or money to get your sticker by the deadline, or if you've simply decided to scoff the law, good luck. In Chicago, it's possible to get away with it for a time, because they issue tickets by walking the streets and looking for violations. Other cities and towns have decided to cross-check sticker sales against the secretary of state's records. They find out who should be purchasing tickets and who hasn't, and they send tickets in the mail.
If you're like me, part of the better-safe-than-sorry crowd, get that sticker. Put it on your windshield, make sure it's in the right spot, and don't forget to take the old sticker off. Sure, it's $75. But it's better than $75, plus $40, plus $120. And it's not for nothing. You have a shiny new sticker.
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