Update October 2018 - We recently contested a Chicago speed violation ticket after the VEHICLE MAKE was listed as OTHR even though the ticket photographs showed the make of my vehicle. In our in-person hearing, we stated:
I AM NOT LIABLE FOR THIS TICKET DUE TO THE FACE THAT THE MAKE OF MY CAR WAS LISTED AS “OTHR” WHILE IT IS CLEARLY DESERNABLE IN THE PHOTOS AND VIDEO AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN LISTED ON THE VIOLATION AS REQUIRED BY STATE STATUTE AND CITY ORDINANCE STATE: ILCS5/11-208.3 CITY 90-100-030. THEREFORE, THE TICKET SHOULD BE DISMISSED IN MY DEFENSE.
We had copies of both state and city ordinances on hand.
The administrative law judge (Karen Brazil Breashears #021, who was a contractor for the city of Chicago during our hearing) further asked if we had any more defense. When we stated no, they said we were still liable for the ticket without further explanation. The law judge further explained that we "admitted liability" at some point during our hearing, and eluded that since we did, our defense was meaningless. The confusion here is we originally contested the ticket thus saying we were not guilty for reasons we were bringing to the hearing. The judge seemingly assumed that even though I was guilty for the ticket, the ticket was issued illegally. When we tried to solicit an explanation and further our defense, the judge moved onto the next case. We approached the bench and reiterated our defense and asked for an explanation - this is when the judge could not formulate a response and simply said repeatedly "I am not an attorney and cannot advise you" even though we were not asking to be advised. The law judge became increasingly uncomfortable and fumbled for words.
Finally, the law judge said we could appear the order to the Circuit Court of Cook County within 35 days and file suite - which was another way to dismiss us out of the room.
Update July 2017 - According to an Administrative Law Judge (to be named), there is a pending lawsuit in the courts that is challenging the City of Chicago municipal code mentioned below. The case of Chicago vs (Slope) but we have not been able to find anything online regarding this case or this name. More to come. Please share with us your experience if you have challenged your ticket referencing the legislation below.
Receive a red light or speed camera violation ticket notice in the mail? On your ticket, check PLATE/STATE/TYPE VEHICLE MAKE section and ensure your vehicle is correctly listed, as long as the camera has a clear picture of your car make/model on the ticket. If anything else is listed in the VEHICLE MAKE section, including OTHR, you have a chance for the ticket to be reversed in your favor.
There are 2 municipalities in Illinois that state if there is a clear picture representation of your vehicle in the ticket, then it must be identified regarding VEHICLE MAKE on your ticket. Read below.
(625 ILCS 5/11-208.3) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-208.3) per below of Illinois Law: Link
(2) A parking, standing, compliance, automated speed enforcement system, or automated traffic law violation notice that shall specify the date, time, and place of violation of a parking, standing, compliance, automated speed enforcement system, or automated traffic law regulation; the particular regulation violated; any requirement to complete a traffic education program; the fine and any penalty that may be assessed for late payment or failure to complete a required traffic education program, or both, when so provided by ordinance; the vehicle make and state registration number; and the identification number of the person issuing the notice. With regard to automated speed enforcement system or automated traffic law violations, vehicle make shall be specified on the automated speed enforcement system or automated traffic law violation notice if the make is available and readily discernible. With regard to municipalities or counties with a population of 1 million or more, it shall be grounds for dismissal of a parking violation if the state registration number or vehicle make specified is incorrect. The violation notice shall state that the completion of any required traffic education program, the payment of any indicated fine, and the payment of any applicable penalty for late payment or failure to complete a required traffic education program, or both, shall operate as a final disposition of the violation. The notice also shall contain information as to the availability of a hearing in which the violation may be contested on its merits. The violation notice shall specify the time and manner in which a hearing may be had.
City of Chicago Municipal Code cited below: Municipal Code 90-100-030: Link
Whenever any vehicle exhibits a compliance violation during operation or is parked in violation of any provision of the traffic code prohibiting or restricting vehicular parking or standing or regulating the condition of a parked or standing vehicle, any police officer, traffic control aide, other designated member of the police department, parking enforcement aide or other person designated by the city traffic compliance administrator observing such violation may issue a parking or compliance violation notice, as provided for in Section 9-100-040 and serve the notice on the owner of the vehicle by handing it to the operator of the vehicle, if he is present, or by affixing it to the vehicle in a conspicuous place. The issuer of the notice shall specify on the notice his identification number, the particular parking or compliance ordinance allegedly violated, the make and state registration number of the cited vehicle, and the place, date, time and nature of the alleged violation and shall certify the correctness of the specified information by signing his name as provided in Section 11-208.3 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, as amended.
If your ticket incorrectly lists your VEHICLE MAKE, contest the ticket and an in-person hearing. Do not contest the ticket by mail. Bring copies of the mentioned municipalities. Read and understand them so you can intelligently speak to the judge. If you contest by mail, you will receive a letter that says the same old guilty language:
“As defense to this ticket you have asserted that you were not in violation of any parking or compliance ordinance at the time of the violation was issued. An Administrative Law Judge has reviewed all the evidence submitted, either in person or by mail, by the city of Chicago and you.
It is this finding of the Administrative Law Judge that the information submitted supports a determination that the violation occurred.”
The city is currently battling a lawsuit that just recently gained ground to cut out the speed and red light cameras and refund millions of dollars to Illinois tax payers. Always contest a ticket – even if you are at fault. It can’t hurt.