In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago has joined the State of Illinois in issuing a Stay at Home order effective Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CT. In addition, City of Chicago facilities are closed to the public. Staff are prioritizing essential services to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. As such, we may be delayed in responding to non-essential inquiries and service requests. To stay up to date on the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 response, please visit the City Coronavirus Response Center site.
Q: I provided information to the Department of Revenue indicating that I am the current owner of the vehicle. I was given a green payment sheet as proof of receipt. Why do I have to produce a title or registration to request a hearing at the Department of Administrative Hearings Information Desk?
A: The Chicago Municipal code section 2-14-132 provides that the owner of a vehicle is eligible to contest the impoundment of that vehicle. Therefore, the Department of Administrative Hearings, which is separate from the Department of Revenue, is required to establish that you are the owner of the impounded vehicle when you request a hearing. We will do this by asking for a title or vehicle registration and a valid driver’s license or state identification card. Our staff will make a copy of all pertinent documents and return the originals to you.
Q: Why does the request for hearing on the vehicle impoundment form tell me to file my request at 740 N. Sedgwick and not at 400 W. Superior?
A: You have the option to file at both locations. You may send a request for a hearing by mail to: Department of Administrative Hearings, Municipal Division, 740 North Sedgwick, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60654. If you wish to request an in-person hearing, please visit the 400 West Superior St., Information Desk between the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Remember, when you file in-person, you must provide satisfactory proof of ownership.
Q: I was not the driver of the vehicle at the time it was impounded nor was I the passenger who was found with drugs on them. Why am I being held responsible?
A: The Chicago Municipal code imposes responsibility on the owner of a vehicle that is used in violation of any one of 19 impoundment offenses, regardless of who was driving. The most common of these offenses involve vehicles that contain: illegal drugs, an illegally transported firearm, vehicles that are used while driving under the influence (DUI) or used in the solicitation of a prostitute. Specifically, code section 7-24-225 imposes responsibility on the owner of a vehicle that contains any illegal drugs, i.e.; controlled substance or cannabis with no exceptions.
Q: What does the court date on the front of my notice of vehicle impoundment represent?
A: The Circuit Court date on the front of the notice of vehicle impoundment is associated with the offense or charge that caused your vehicle to be impounded. Do not confuse that Circuit Court date with the Department of Administrative Hearings. You may request a separate hearing at the Department of Administrative Hearings for the impoundment of the vehicle. Please refer to your police district of arrest for further information regarding the court date on the front of your vehicle impoundment notice.
Q: I won my (DUI/DRUG/GUN) case in the Circuit Court. Can I get my car out of the pound without paying? If not, why doesn’t Administrative Hearings take this decision into consideration when I have my hearing?
A: Although you won your Circuit Court case you cannot get your car out of the pound without paying or by being found not liable at an administrative hearing.It is not a defense that a criminal court dismissed a case or suppressed evidence. The prosecutor in a criminal matter must prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This is a higher burden than the one used at DOAH. In criminal cases, the Defendant faces a period of incarceration. In an impoundment case, the Administrative Law Judge determines whether it is “more likely than not” that you are liable. The burden the City must meet carry is lower because the penalties are civil; i.e. money damages. In addition, criminal cases are sometimes dismissed due to different evidentiary rules which apply to criminal cases. In an impoundment case, the City may still use this evidence in determining liability.
Q: Why is it that the Department of Administrative Hearings cannot check the state records to verify ownership of vehicles that have been impounded and I have to be transferred all over the City?
A: With some limitations, the Department of Administrative Hearings, Municipal Division staff can check state records. Please call 312.742.8475 or visit us in-person at 740 North Sedgwick, 2ndfloor.
Q: I received a notice of impoundment for a vehicle I never owned, or for a vehicle that I sold, donated or traded-in before the impoundment. What can I do to address this matter?
A: If you received a notice of impoundment on a vehicle you never owned, or for a vehicle that you donated, previously owned or sold prior to the impoundment you may contact the Department of Law at 312.742.8421. In addition, you should forward any proof of the vehicle transactions to fax number 312.742.8420. Satisfactory proof could include a charitable receipt, trade-in form from an auto dealership, bill of sale, letter between two parties indicating a curb-side sale, copy of a signed title between parties, or any Secretary of State documentation such as a revoked/transferred title, vehicle registration number or license plate.
Q: My vehicle was never impounded. Why did I receive this notice? Do I still have to worry that the vehicle will be impounded?
A: The Chicago Police Department ordered the impoundment of your vehicle. If you or someone else moved the vehicle before it could be towed, you must still request an impoundment hearing because when it is located by C.P.D., your vehicle can still be impounded. Also, you are still legally responsible for the alleged violation and any fees associated with it.
Q: I’ve already paid to get my car from the auto pound. Do I have to request a hearing?
A: If you do not wish to challenge the impoundment of your vehicle, you are not required to request a hearing. However, please keep the receipts from the auto pound for your records.
Q: My car is still in the auto pound. Do I have to request a hearing?
A: Although you do not have to request a hearing, your vehicle will continue to accrue storage fees while impounded. You could be financially responsible for these storage fees. You mayrequest a hearing tochallenge the impoundment.
Q: I received a ticket (ANOV) from a police officer. Do I still have to come to court?
A: Several violations allow pre-payment in order to avoid coming to a hearing. The violations that are eligible for pre-payment are listed on the back of the ticket you received. If the violation for which you were cited does not appear on the list of violations eligible for mail-in payments, you must attend your hearing.