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Chicago is home to high traffic fines

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | Traffic Tickets | 0 comments

There is never a good time to receive a traffic ticket. Even if you can afford the fine, tickets tend to be unpredictable and frustrating.

While you may have the notice to renew your vehicle’s registration stickers, it can be challenging to make time to make the payment and receive your stickers on time. Also, registration stickers can get expensive for those with low incomes.

Recently, Chicago courts found that residents received punitive and illegally high fines. Here’s what you should know about the case.

There is a cap on some fines

When an officer catches your vehicle with expired registration stickers, they may be able to give you a fine. Over the last several years, residents have been receiving steep fines.

One resident found himself in over his head with fines of around $20,000. Since he also had other debts consuming his income, he had to declare bankruptcy before he could begin attempting to pay the penalties.

There is supposed to be a cap on the amount driver must pay for administrative fines in Chicago, like those assessed for expired registration. The cap is $250. For years, drivers have been receiving fines that exceed the cap.

Not the first time

As recently as 2018, another investigation found that an aggressive impound program deprived residents of their vehicles and overwhelmed them with fees and fines. During the investigation, over 200,000 cars had been seized, leading to $600 million in fees and debt for Chicago drivers.

A change for the future

In 2020, courts reformed the impound program and granted a $5 million settlement for the class-action lawsuit. Now, courts have a similar opinion regarding the expired registration stickers.

Parties of the class-action suit seek refunds and the erasure of their fine-related debts. At the beginning of May, the Illinois First District Appellate Court found that the city violated the $250 cap and had remanded the case to the lower court for further proceeding.