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Vehicle Impoundment Program Reforms

The Lightfoot Administration has reduced fines and limited fees for impounded vehicles, decreased the number of situations in which a vehicle can be impounded, and added new defenses to help residents get their cars back. All changes will be made by September 24, 2020.

Summary:

Lower Fines

Offense Previous Fine UPDATED Fine

(starting Sept. 24 or earlier)

Vehicle used in connection with purchase or sale of illegal drugs $2,000 $1,000
Solicitation for prostitution within 500 feet of a public park or elementary or secondary school $3,000 $2,000
Possession of an illegal firearm within 500 feet of a public park or elementary or secondary school $3,000 $2,000
Drag racing $1,000 $500
False or stolen vehicle registration $1,000 $500

Driving with a suspended or revoked license

(Does not apply if driver’s license was suspended due to failure to pay a fine or failure to comply with emissions testing)

$1,000 $500
Fireworks for non-personal use $1,000 $500

Counterfeit wheel tax emblems

(This is no longer an impoundable offense.)

$1,000 $500

 

Storage Fee Changes

  • Storage fees for impounded cars will not go over $1,000 (no matter the size of the vehicle or the amount of time it is held)
  • If you cannot get your car for one of the following reasons, you will not be charged any storage fees for the time
    • Your car is a part of a Chicago Police Department investigation, such as narcotics
    • The State’s Attorney’s office is in the process of deciding whether to take possession of your car

Reasons for Impoundment

  • Vehicles will no longer be impounded for the following wrongdoings:
    • Possession of fireworks for personal use
    • Illegal possession of etching materials, paint, or markers (graffiti materials)
    • Loud music
    • Counterfeit wheel tax emblems
    • Reckless driving at, or interfering with, a funeral procession
    • Driver’s license suspended due to failure to pay a fine or failure to comply with emissions testing
    • Littering from your car

New Defenses

  • You can get your car back if:
    • You (the car owner) provide proof that a court dismissed the charges that caused the car to be impounded
    • You (the car owner) were not at the scene of the crime, were not involved in the wrongdoing leading to impoundment, and did not know the car was used.