Unpaid tickets? Get ready for boot blitz

Chicago raised $7 million in ticket amnesty
March 4, 2009 (CHICAGO) Despite the tougher standard, a city spokesperson said there's no reason for a motorist to get the boot because there's fair warning since three notices are issued before and driver's can request a hearing. There's also an option to get on a payment plan pay-off an outstanding ticket.

But some drivers said the new 2-ticket minimum-- down from three-- in more than one year just isn't fair.

"What we saw is that people would hover. They would hover at two unpaid tickets because they knew they wouldn't get booted," said Ed Walsh, Dept. of Revenue.

It's a policy that's been under attack from some city aldermen.

"The original intent was to go after people who routinely flaunt the law, you know, 5, 10 tickets. We're not talking about that now. Now we're taking about two unpaid parking tickets," said Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward.

Moore's ward includes Rogers Park, where parking is tough. While drivers might see more yellow, the city is seeing green. A 10-week amnesty program that allowed people to pay outstanding tickets at a reduced price brought in more than $7 million. That's $6 million more than what the Dept. of Revenue predicted.

People were lined up at the Dept. of Revenue to pay tickets. Many had received warnings in the mail.

"This ticket-- 5 minutes late on a meter -- costs me $50. And I work downtown so I'm not pleased about it at all, Especially with the meters going up. It doesn't make it easy for you at all," said Darnetha Watkins, who paid off her parking tickets.

Seizure notices for the boot are going out this month. Drivers have 21-days to request a hearing.

Motorists who pay the fee within 24 hours of getting the boot will have the boot removed. Otherwise, the car will be towed. That leads to tickets, boot fees, tow fees and storage fees.

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