David Studenroth is a criminal defense attorney with 30 years of experience. He has successfully represented clients in all types of criminal cases including municipal administrative hearings. Mr. Studenroth has the experience and knowledge of Illinois law to help ensure your case is resolved quickly and with the best possible result. Contact us at 847.292.9200 for a free consultation.
Chicago Ordinance Violations and Municipal Administrative Hearings
Tickets are issued by the City of Chicago’s Department of Police, Water and Revenue. They are normally issued for relatively minor infractions which do not rise to the level of a crime. These can include things like smoking ordinance violations, driving and talking on your cell phone, owing the city money on a water bill, etc.
You will be handed a ticket by the city official (police officer or other city employee), or you may receive it in the mail. It will have a hearing date, time and location on the ticket. You must appear at the Department of Administrative Hearings at the location and on the date and time indicated.
You must be on time for court and you will need to bring all the evidence you have about your ticket. Evidence includes documents or live witnesses who might give testimony favorable to you. It is advisable to consult an attorney, as the gathering and presentation of evidence is extremely important to the outcome of your case. Without proper evidence and/or an attorney, you will almost certainly lose the case against you.
- The City official in the hearing room will offer to negotiate a settlement with you, explaining the maximum fine that could be applied if you lose your case. They will then offer a settlement which you are free to accept or reject.
- You cannot be jailed for police tickets, however fines can be extremely high—many violations involve maximum fines of over $500.00.
- When deciding whether to settle, you should consider the amount of the potential fine, what evidence you have that you did not commit the violation, and what evidence the City of Chicago has that you did violate the law.
- If you cannot settle the case, a trial will be held by the hearing officer.
The hearing is conduced by an Administrative Law Officer, who acts like a judge. At the hearing, the City representative will explain to the Administrative Law Officer what the charge is against you and what evidence the City has that you committed the alleged violation. This may include testimony of witnesses such as police officers, documentary evidence, and lab reports. You will then have a chance to explain your side of the story and present your own evidence — again, live testimony of witnesses, documents, photographs, and any other evidence you have that you did not commit the violation.
- After hearing the evidence, the Administrative Law Officer will make a ruling, deciding if the City met its burden of proving that you violated the ordinance, and determine the appropriate fine.
- You have 35 days from the date of the order to appeal to the Circuit Court of Cook County.
- The fine against you must be paid if you lose the case, if you don’t pay it, the City may bring you to collection court to get a judge’s help in forcing you to pay, in which case you may be subject to wages garnishment, property liens, or bank accounts frozen.
- If you win, no fine is due. This type of ticket does not appear on your criminal record or traffic record. Keep your copy of the order in case the City mistakenly tries to collect a fine at a later date.
Consult with an Attorney
David Studenroth is a seasoned attorney with 30 years of criminal defense experience. He has the knowledge of Illinois law and its court system to help ensure your case is resolved quickly and with the best possible result. Contact us at 847.292.9200 for a free consultation.