Getting a parking ticket in the City of Chicago can be frustrating. When you were not using the vehicle at the time or even aware of the ticket until days later, that frustration can be extensive. As general rule, you are responsible for all tickets given to your vehicle while you are the registered owner.
Under the Chicago Municipal Code (MCC) it is the owner of the vehicle, and not the driver, who is responsible for parking tickets in the City of Chicago. Even if the owner was not present or did not know the vehicle was being used, they will still be the one who is financially responsible for the violations. Here are some exceptions and clarification to that general rule.
If the vehicle has been stolen, am I still responsible for the ticket?
If the vehicle has been stolen and you have a police report from the incident, this will serve as a defense to the ticket and can protect you from liability. The police report must cover the day in which you received the ticket.
I did not give permission to this person to drive my vehicle and they got a parking ticket without my knowledge, is this a defense?
No, lack of permission is not the same as stolen under the MCC. In situations where someone may have just taken your keys or been given your keys by a third party, the owner is still liable. This is true even if the owner had no idea the vehicle was being used or has no idea who the person driving the vehicle is. Absent a police report, under the MCC lack of permission is not considered a stolen vehicle and the owner is responsible.
I sold the vehicle and am still receiving parking tickets in Chicago, what should I do?
If you sold the vehicle prior to the ticket that is a defense to future parking tickets. An important thing to do, aside from requesting a hearing and contesting the ticket, is to take the vehicle out of your name with the Secretary of State by contacting them and following the proper procedures to ensure you will not receive future tickets on this sold vehicle. Evidence such as a Bill of Sale will help to establish that someone else owns the vehicle and that the seller is not responsible for violations that occurred after the date the vehicle was sold.
In summary, if you are the owner of a vehicle that receives a parking ticket in Chicago, you are responsible for that parking ticket. If your vehicle is stolen it is important to file a stolen police report as soon as possible. Furthermore, whenever you sell a vehicle be sure that the vehicle is taken out of your name with the Secretary of State. And most importantly, always know who is using your vehicle and what they are using it for; you are responsible for their actions when they are using your vehicle and if you entrust your vehicle to the wrong person it can end up costing you thousands of dollars.