Top 10 worst tickets to get in Chicago

October 27, 2011

The recently proposed Chicago budget has a few novel ideas for generating additional revenue, all in an effort to plug a massive deficit. 

For instance, the Illinois state legislature just passed a bill that would allow cameras that track speeders to be installed in a large swath of the city. And Mayor Emanuel has warned city employees to pay up on any of their own existing citations and tickets.

Add to that the fact that my Facebook inbox and contact fields have started to fill up with people upset about tickets they recently received, and that got me thinking it was time to perform an important public service. 

I've spent the last couple of days doing research, and today I bring you a list of the 'Worst Ways in Chicago to Get a Ticket."

Improperly displaying your city sticker

This was well documented last week in a Chicago Tribune article, but if you keep your old city sticker on your car for decoration, even with a new sticker displayed above and/or below, you can get a $120 ticket. This is probably the worst offense because if you're like me, you're probably stacking the stickers to show your civic pride, not to skirt the law.

If you do official city business, you best set your clocks

According to the municipal code, a company or building owner that houses official Chicago business must set all of its clocks to the official Chicago time: Central Standard. If you get cute and try to show Eastern Standard? You can be fined $200. Per clock.

Landscaping your parkway

You know that area of grass between the curb and sidewalk? Right in front of your place? You can mow that patch, but that's about it. If you try and plant flowers or otherwise trick out that city-owned area, you will get a ticket (or could get a ticket). 

Private use of Chicago seal

According to the code, if you use the Chicago flag or Chicago seal for anything that isn't authorized by the city, you will get a ticket. I wonder if this includes tattoos?

Discovering dead bodies

In an article called "discoveries," the municipal code says "Any person who discovers the body of a dead human being, or any part thereof, shall immediately communicate to the medical examiner of the county the fact of such discovery, the place where and time when the same was discovered, where the same is or may be found, and any facts known by which the said body may be identified, or the cause of death ascertained."

If you don't, you can face a fine "not less than $200.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for each offense."

So think about that, cast of Stand By Me.

If you falsely claim (or exaggerate) that you won a medal in the military

That's a ticket.

Sound emitting devices in public conveyances

"It is unlawful for any person to make use of any portable entertainment appliance, radio, used exclusively for entertainment, or musical instrument (and other sound-emitting devices), which are audible to others, in any streetcar, elevated train or subway and in any other public conveyance having a capacity of more than seven passengers operating within the city limits of the City of Chicago. Any person violating this section shall be fined not less than $50.00 nor more than $300.00 for each offense."

Does this item in the code apply to drum circles?

Don't give away your transfers

I'm not sure this applies any more, but remember when you had paper transfers on CTA subways or buses? Remember when you would hand off any unused transfers, because you were a good Samaritan? Ticket. $5-$200, at the officer's discretion.

Don't sell garbage

"No person shall vend or attempt to vend in the city any fruit, vegetable, or other article of food that may be decayed or partially rotten, or that may have been taken from any barrel, box, or other receptacle for the same, in any public way of the city."

Insert joke here. $500 fine for the first offense.