Court ruling allows Chicago to double amount for parking tickets and fines

Chicago News

CHICAGO — If you get a parking ticket in Chicago, you may have to pay a lot more than expected — that’s because a judge says the city has the power to raise the fines.

A lawyer suing Chicago on behalf of a group of motorists is crying foul. Attorney Jacie Zolna is arguing that the cost of your parking ticket, or a fine for not having a city sticker, could soon double after a Cook County Circuit Court ruling last week.

Zolna says Illinois law is supposed to protect motorists from excessive fines or tickets for non-moving violations for standing, parking or compliance infractions, such as registration problems or no city sticker. But that’s not what’s been happening, according to Zolna.

It’s a complicated story, but the attorney arguing that state legislators erred in the 2010 passing of an unrelated state law; known as the Railroad Safety Law, amending the Illinois vehicle code called in the process.

Zolna says this opened the door for municipalities to adjudicate certain violations in the administrative courts, which sometimes assess more than $250 in fines and penalties — particularly for repeat offenders.

But in last week’s ruling, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anna Loftus, weighed in on the lawsuit brought by the motorist.

According to Zolna, the judge expressed her opinion that state legislators erred with their Railroad Safety Law, leading to unintended consequences.

WGN’s efforts to reach city hall or the mayor’s office for comment have been unsuccessful.

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