A recent court decision that had nothing to do with parking tickets dramatically changed how people in Illinois can contest a parking citation.
The ruling only affects people who drive a company car, but that still means hundreds of thousands of people will now find it harder to contest a parking ticket in Illinois. The case in question was Stone Street Partners LLC v. City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, and it revolved around building code violations, which has virtually nothing to do with parking tickets. Under the ruling, the First District Appellate Court ruled that corporations could not represent themselves at any administrative hearing, only lawyers can. Coincidentally, that’s the only venue where parking tickets can be contested. This side effect means some drivers will need to hire an attorney simply to contest their parking ticket.
Problematic for Some
For Chicago photographer Laurie Rubin, this change represents a huge problem. Rubin is self-employed and registers her car under her company’s name for tax purposes. She said when she was unjustly ticketed, she was told she couldn’t challenge the citation without the assistance of an attorney.
“I got a letter from the city informing me for the first time – I had never heard this before – that I cannot contest a ticket because my car is registered in the name of a corporation,” Rubin said. “I can’t ever contest a parking ticket without hiring a lawyer, which seems ridiculous.”
Kent law professor Harold Krent said the unintended effect unfairly targets small business owners.
“The problem is when the rule is applied to a very small corporation — particularly if the corporation is one person — the rule doesn’t make any sense,” Krent explained. “I think that if it’s asked, the court itself would carve out an exception for the simple category of traffic tickets. It doesn’t make sense if the corporation is an individual. The individual should be able to represent him or herself just like they can in any other case.”
As for attorneys who help challenge parking tickets, the ruling wasn’t lost on them. They understand that nobody is going to spend hundreds of dollars to contest a $50 ticket, so they have to re-evaluate their billing methods for certain cases. That said, enough parking tickets can result in license forfeiture, so small business owners shouldn’t ignore these tickets because of the fees associated with challenging them. If you’re impacted by this change, contact a traffic ticket attorney to discuss a plan that benefits both sides.
Related Source: NBC Chicago