THE LOOP — Tired of that sinking “please-don’t-be-booted” feeling every time you walk to your car?
Get rid of those tickets without going broke while you can — Sunday is the last day to apply to have your city sticker debt erased by the city.
The move could help hundreds of thousands of Chicago drivers who have struggled under the burden of ticket debt.
Here’s how to clear the debt it while you still can:
Step One: Get A City Sticker
First, if you have a car, you must get a city sticker. You have to get a city sticker within 30 days of buying a new car or moving to the city or you’ll be charged a $60 late fee.
Those that get a sticker on time only have to pay the usual sticker price of $46.49 for a bike or $87.82 for a passenger car. (Have a bigger car? Sticker prices are available online.)
Can’t afford the price? You can get a Reduced Term City Sticker, which will give you a cheaper sticker that’s active for part of the year. You’ll have to get another sticker once the first one’s time is up.
Some people — including seniors, those with antique cars and veterans — can also buy stickers at a discount or for free.
Drivers can buy a city sticker online or by going to a City Clerk office, a Department of Finance office or a Mobile City Hall:
- City Clerk offices: 121 N. LaSalle St. (City Hall), 5430 W. Gale St., 5674 S. Archer Ave.
- Department of Finance offices: 4770 S. Kedzie Ave., 4445 N. Pulaski Road, 2006 E. 95th St., 400 W. Superior St.
- A schedule for Mobile City Halls is available online.
Step Two: Apply To Have Your Debt Forgiven
Once you have a sticker and are compliant (or if you already have a sticker), you can apply to have your city sticker ticket debt forgiven.
Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15, you can go online to fill out the application and request forgiveness for those tickets.
Those applying will need their valid city sticker number, license plate number and driver’s license or state ID number.
The city will forgive debt for up to three city sticker tickets — and since each ticket costs $200 and not paying them incurs late fees, that can quickly add up. Anyone who has a city sticker is eligible for the debt relief.
Those who are low-income can also have all their sticker ticket debt erased, tweeted ProPublica reporter Melissa Sanchez, who’s written extensively about Chicago’s ticket debt.
Those who apply will get an email saying their ticket debt has been forgiven once the city processes their application.
And no, those who have already paid sticker tickets won’t be given a refund. The forgiveness program is only available to those with outstanding debt for city sticker tickets.
Can My Other Ticket Debt Be Forgiven?
No — at least not yet. Right now, the city is only forgiving debt for tickets related to city stickers.
How Do I Get My License Back?
The city is still waiting for state legislators to pass reforms that will make it so Chicago’s drivers can get back their licenses if they lost them due to ticket debt. That means there’s no way to get your license back — yet.
On the plus side, the city is no longer suspending the licenses of people for non-moving offenses, like parking tickets. You can still lose your license for driving offenses, though.
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