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Parking Tickets in Woodstock

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Parking Tickets in Woodstock

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 19, 2008


From the FAQ webpage of Woodstock's Police Department:

"How do I pay for my parking ticket?

"You can pay a parking ticket in person at the police department 24 hours a day seven days a week, or by mail to the Woodstock Police Department at 656 Lake Avenue Woodstock, Illinois 60098. Parking tickets must be paid within 30 days of the issued date to avoid the fine increasing. Any parking ticket that is not paid after 10 days is processed through the McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office and will be assessed additional court costs. "

Got it? Really? See any problem with the wording?

I hope you didn't stop reading after "Parking tickets must be paid within 30 days of the issued date to avoid the fine increasing."

If you did, you might think that you could hold off on paying the parking ticket until pay day or until you can drag your kid's bottle of pennies to the bank and turn them into dollar bills. Somewhere there must exist a schedule of parking ticket fees; perhaps it's on the ticket.

Last time I saw a parking ticket in Woodstock was February, 1996, when I mistakenly parked overnight on the street, not knowing about the 2:00-6:00AM rule. Of course, it didn't help that the warning signs really were missing along the highway into town!

If you don't want to have to take out a payday loan to "avoid the fine increasing", then pay up, and you'd better not wait 29 days. Read the rest of the paragraph:

"Any parking ticket that is not paid after 10 days is processed through the McHenry County Circuit Clerk’s Office and will be assessed additional court costs."

Now, this really makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? If a errant driver doesn't fork over his $5-10 for a parking ticket, does the City really send the ticket to the Circuit Clerk's Office on the 11th day?

Let's say you get the parking ticket and are leaving the next day on vacation. Are you going to miss your flight to stop at the P.D. on the way out of town and pay your ticket? Not likely.

When you get back, you find out that your ticket is being processed at the courthouse. How much is that going to cost you? You probably cannot even find out by phone, because the cashiers there will tell you "the computer has to calculate it" when you come in to pay it. Dumb!

Solution?

If the ticket isn't paid in 15 days, the PD could mail a postcard for $.27, reminding the violator to cough up his dough. If he doesn't, then 30-40 days later the ticket can be processed for payment. But at the Circuit Court, where bank robbers, home invaders, carjackers and murderers are processed?

Maybe the City needs to put down the hammer, and I don't mean "Drop the hammer." This is Woodstock, not Chicago!

© 2008 GUS PHILPOTT



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