The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Ask The Parking Ticket Geek: I Got a Hydrant Ticket ... But I Was in My Car

By Mike Brockway | September 16, 2013 7:51am
 Mike and his parking ticket antagonist — the dreaded fire hydrant.
Mike and his parking ticket antagonist — the dreaded fire hydrant.
View Full Caption
The Expired Meter.com

The Parking Ticket Geek from The Expired Meter gets flooded with questions. He's got the answers.

Hey Geek,

A few weeks ago my dad had cataract surgery Downtown. I had his car and picked him up outside on Wabash. I pulled in front of a fire hydrant but stayed in the car with the engine running. The nurses and my mom brought my dad down in a wheelchair, got him into the car, and I drove them home.

He got a ticket in the mail for a hydrant parking violation. I guess there must have been a parking meter employee who walked by and took a picture of the car in front of the hydrant.

He's planning on contesting it by including documentation from the eye place that he had surgery. He also has handicapped plates and included the handicapped placard as part of his case.  Anything else he should do?


Mike: Most ticket writers or police officers would have given an illegally parked driver a heads-up and told him to move his vehicle before writing a ticket. But the person who issued your ticket didn't, and then didn't even have the nerve to hand you the ticket.

But here's the good news: you were not parked illegally.

When a vehicle is stopped, but still running, it is "standing" not parked.

That's not just me saying that, either. Chicago's municipal code has a definition that allows drivers to do exactly what you did while picking up your father.

9-4-010 of the municipal code defines it this way:  

“Standing (to stand)” means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers; provided, that, an operator is either in the vehicle or in the immediate vicinity, so as to be capable of immediately moving the vehicle at the direction of a police officer or traffic control aide."

Fight the ticket explaining the scenario you've already laid out with the documentation your father put together. But make sure he cites the law defining "standing," and I would include a notarized letter from you as a witness to back up his story.

If you do this, the ticket should get dismissed.

The Geek

Hi Parking Ticket Geek,

I was wondering if I could get your help!

I received two parking tickets where the expiration on my license plate was written incorrectly.

I know I can contest it, but not sure how I go about doing that.  Do you have any suggestion?


Ingrid: Here's the deal ...

If a parking ticket is written improperly, for example, the license plate is written incorrectly or the make and model, time or date or street address is wrong, the ticket should be dismissed.

Here's what the city's municipal code says about this subject:

"The issuer of the notice shall specify on the notice his identification number, the particular parking regulation allegedly violated, the make and state registration number of the cited vehicle, and the place, date, time and nature of the alleged violation ..."

An incorrect license expiration date falls into the same category.

Request an in-person hearing. Bring in your registration along with a photo of your car's license plate showing the correct license plate sticker.

Just explain to the judge that the ticket was written improperly and show your evidence.

These tickets should be dismissed on this basis.

The Geek

Parking Ticket Geek:

What happens if you wait until after the street sweeper cleans the street and then park before the expiration time on the sign? I just got a ticket! Why can't I park if the street has already been cleaned?


Albert: I think you need to pay up.

If you parked before the posted time for street cleaning ends (in most cases 3 p.m.), and the signs were still up, you still risk being ticketed even though the street sweeper already came through.

Spokesmen for the Department of Streets and Sanitation explain that often street sweepers may make two and sometimes three passes on a street to make sure it's as clean as possible.

Once Streets and San is finished scrubbing your street and the signs are pulled down, it's safe to park — but not until then or the posted time expires.

The Geek

If you have a parking ticket question for The Parking Ticket Geek, please email your query to: askthegeek@theexpiredmeter.com