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Here's How To Get A Refund For Wrongly Paid Red-Light, Speed Camera Tickets

By Heather Cherone | October 20, 2017 12:55pm | Updated on October 24, 2017 11:24am
 Contractors for Xerox install new red light cameras at the intersection of Diversey and California.
Contractors for Xerox install new red light cameras at the intersection of Diversey and California.
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CITY HALL — Chicagoans can apply for their share of the $38.75 million that the City of Chicago will pay to settle claims that it failed to allow motorists to challenge tickets issued by red-light and speed cameras.

Under the settlement approved by the City Council in July, 1.2 million people who paid fines — but didn't get a chance to contest the 1.5 million tickets they received — could get a refund of half of what they paid the city, officials said.

Drivers have until Dec. 11 to file a claim to be eligible for a portion of the settlement, which will be paid out in August 2018, officials said.

Claims can be filed online using either a number assigned to them by the court in connection with the case or with the number of the ticket. Ticket numbers can be found in the city's online database.

Violations between March 23, 2010 and May 17, 2015 are eligible for the settlement — but only those to which the owner did not pay or contest the ticket and then was found guilty for failing to respond, officials said.

The settlement will send $26.75 million back to drivers and wipes out $12 million owed to the city by motorists.

The law in effect at the time required the city to send drivers a second notice about the violation, with 14 days to pay or contest the ticket before declaring that they were guilty and imposing a $100 fine on tickets not paid on time, officials said.

City officials changed the rules in 2015, and gave drivers who got a ticket — but no second notice giving them a chance to challenge it — an opportunity to challenge the old violations.

The settlement includes a provision that prohibits any of the tickets in question from being used to suspend a driver’s license or to boot a vehicle.

The settlement was in the "the best interests of the taxpayers," Chicago Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel said.

The city's red-light camera program has long been troubled.

In March, city officials agreed to ticket drivers only if they enter a camera-monitored intersection three-tenths of a second — or more — after the light turns red.