My Parking Ticket History – The Highlights

From late 2008 – 2010 I have accumulated 19 parking and moving offenses, totaling over $2K in fines.  I like to think about myself as the guy who shows up 2 minutes late to the meter, only to see a big fat ticket waiting for me.  This is my story.
My name is Jeremy Smith.  I am a 24 year old entrepreneur living in Lakeview.  I graduated with a Finance degree from the University of Illinois Champaign –Urbana with a minor in Parking and Moving violations.   Ok, maybe that wasn’t an offered minor but I am certainly well educated on the subject now.  My education in car mishaps began one month after purchasing my first car, a Silver 2008 Honda Civic Coupe.  I I wanted to run you through the history of a few of my favorite tickets.

10/5/2008 ($100) – My first red light offense occurs at 4000 N. Western Ave.  Young, dumb and on a cell phone.  I’ve got a lot to learn.

6/22/2009 ($25) – I am issued a ticket from the village of Glencoe for parking more than 12” away from the curb on a Wednesday night.  Needless to say, this officer hates his life. On the memo line of my check I make sure to write that the payment was for a “bullshit ticket”.   Thank you Citibank for saving images of every cashed ticket!

1/31/2010 ($220) – I am towed at 7:30AM from my spot in Streeterville, while all other previously parked cars are ticketed and not towed.   I am fined 160 dollars to have my car towed to the central auto pound only four blocks away.  Ladies and gentleman, that comes out $40 a block to have a car towed.  After going through the hell that is the auto pound, I arrive at my car with a fresh $60 “no standing prohibited” ticket on my front windshield.   I request a trial to prove my innocence.  I arrive at the courtroom with pictures of my spot, and all the street parking signs from the block I was towed.  I even come equipped with talking points and a game plan from a good friends’ father who is lawyer.  Needless to say, the end result is always the same.  Guilty as charged.

6/21/10 – ($60) – I am ticketed for “No Stand/Park Time Restricted” at 13 W. State  Um, hello officer that’s not even a real address.  State can only be North or South.   Now knowing the block system in Chicago I am extremely angry that I made a payment for this.  I let myself down.

6/24/2010 ($100) – My third red light ticket.  Once again I go through the light at Belmont and Lakeshore Drive.  I’m going to place the blame on the four Malaysian couch surfers packed into my backseat.  It was 5AM and I was in mood to drive and pack heavy bags in my trunk.  They have never heard of a red light camera and could not share my pain.

7/8/2010 ($50) – Nothing is more depressing than seeing an overweight forty something guy step out of his Chicago Cubs edition Street Cleaning Car just to place a ticket on your windshield.

7/27/2010 ($391.50) – I am caught going 25 miles over the speed limit in Milwaukee and am on the brink of being thrown in jail.  The office doesn’t like me because I have Illinois plates, a Chicago address, and that I am wearing a pink polo shirt (Dead duck).

I decide to contest the ticket, and drive all the way up to Milwaukee for my court date.  I wait my turn in the courtroom when I am finally summoned by the judge.  She explains this isn’t the real trial, but just the place you go to plead down to a lesser charge.  Having just spent the last two hours driving, I sense fire blowing out of my nose and I slam a piece of mail on her desk that says, “YOU MUST APPEAR IN COURT ON THIS DAY”.  She disregards it and offers me the option to plead down my charge to an improper parking violation with only two points deducted on my license.  Deduction of points on my license?  Did you even look at state on my Drivers License?  I argue a little longer to avail.  The final verdict: $391.50. The drive home was the most miserable solo excursion I have ever had.

8/29/2010 ($115) – The 5 W’s of Parking

Who?  The ass hole sitting in a beat down Volkswagon patiently waiting

What? An immovable boot on my darling Civic

Where? Einstein’s Bagel Wrigleyville (Sheffield and Clark)

When?  Sunday August 9th, 2010 @ 1pm

Why?  For being parked there for 2 minutes.  I accidentally step outside of the lot to make a call when I should have “gone directly into the store”.

Aftermath… I have a slight emotional breakdown / swearing tirade.  He won’t even cut me a little slack, and keeps saying “bro it’s my job man”.   I hope for the rest of my life that I never do something as scummy as that guy.  I wouldn’t put a price on my integrity.

All in all, I am just another poor soul who has had more than his fair share of parking and moving mishaps.  2011 will be the year this changes.  No more red light tickets, boots, towings and street cleaning violations.  If you feel my pain, know that you are not alone.  I’m just one guy in Chicago trying to help, and I wanted to share with you my story.

7 responses to “My Parking Ticket History – The Highlights”

  1. Dan B. Avatar
    Dan B.

    The name of the game is revenue. I lived on the Gold Coast for over 10 years and could average 3 tickets a month along with having the car towed at least twice a year.

    I got very lucky and moved to Hyde Park-actually to a place with much available street parking. Guess what-no more problems!

    1. Jeremy Avatar


      You couldn’t have said it any better. I’m glad to hear that things are at least OK in Hyde Park. Keep the good luck rolling in 2011, and let us know if you come across any problems!


  2. John Avatar

    OK I’m 38 have lived in Chicago Wrigleyville since I was 23 and have accumulated 1 parking ticket 1 no left turn ticket and no red light cameras. So you got more tix in 6 months than I have in 16 years. My advice to you is either sell the car or get your head out of your ass and pay attention to the parking rules!!!

  3. Brett Avatar


    I had the exact same issue in Streeterville. I work at a hotel there, and parked across the street every night for one year straight. On this space, which is only two car lengths long, are contradictory signs: One saying I cant park, one saying that I can. At around 7am, I see from my office window, a Streets and San tow truck starting to raise my vehicle. I ran outside (I didnt know I could move that fast!), and showed the driver the signs, and he simply said.. tell it to the judge!

    A couple of hours later, I went down to the miserable hell-hole that is the city auto pound, and found out the damage: $130 towing, plus a $50 parking ticket. I was livid… $130 for towing my car four blocks, and $50 for parking where at least one sign said I could park! The person at the counter said I probably should just pay and not bother appealing. Yeah, right. I immediately made an appointment for the administrative court.

    About a week later, I went in to see the judge. I showed them my photos of the signs on the block, and where my car was parked. They said that the most restrictive sign on the entire block takes precedence… What?? You mean, that if there is a handicapped sign, or a loading zone sign, the whole block is considered handicapped or a loading zone? She said I was being ridiculous, and kept the tickets as they were. End of story. I was shaking mad, went outside before I could open my big yap, paid the ticket using the machine, and headed to the pound to get my car before they added more fees.

    The grand finale: I go to the auto pound to pick up the car. The same jerk who told me not to appeal, as well as the tow truck driver are sitting in the office. “So, Mr. Appeal, did you win??” I reply to the negative. “I told you so!” The whole room bursts out laughing. Before I mention that I wish wacker drive would collapse on this god forsaken place, I get out of there.

    Epilogue: I immediately vowed to sell my car. The ultimate middle-finger to the city is to cut off their revenue stream. No more meters, city stickers, parking garages, tickets.. nothing. Within two weeks, I had the car sold and out of my possession. My blood pressure has since gone down many many points. Granted the CTA is not a land yacht, but it is much better than dealing with the city.

    Good luck, and sorry for ranting!


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