Chicago Swipes Criminals' Cars

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Speaking of Paris Hilton, Chicago is cracking down on the 25k drivers motoring around the windy city on a revoked or suspended license. The Chicago Sun Times reports that the police will now impound the miscreants’ cars. While the Times points out that Chicago probably doesn’t have the storage capacity for the expected influx, we’re more interested in the fact that “Vehicle impoundment has become the city's catch-all penalty for 13 offenses ranging from drunken driving, fly-dumping and prostitution to loud radio playing, drag racing, and drug and curfew violations.” Not to mention the new $1000 “administrative fee” needed to reclaim an impounded automobile. Hey, I thought judges set criminal penalties…

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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4 of 12 comments
  • Hal Hal on Jul 14, 2007

    Orian I think zero tolerance policing works and I pay my parking tickets. Cracking down on antisocial things like loud car stereos or parking tickets might seem draconian but it's small things that make the difference between having a livable city or having to move out of the city and it's been proven to reduce overall crime rates. If you or your kids are woken repeatedly by car stereos or alarms it's not a minor problem. Dynamic You don't need a licence to drive a horse and buggy on the road but you do need buggy plates - at least in Indiana.

  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Jul 14, 2007

    This sounds like just a another scheme to get revenue. Do they impose that fee on any car that has been impounded? If your car is stolen and the police recover it and put it in the impound lot do you still have to pay fee? Can you get your car out without paying the fee while you are contesting the charge? Sounds kind of Fishy but it is Chicago...

  • Glenn 126 Glenn 126 on Jul 16, 2007

    Chicago "authorities" have always has had difficulties in perceiving the difference between law enforcement and extortion with menaces. I'm all for crushing the cars of law breakers. HOWEVER the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights (supposedly) gives us the right to a) being regarded as innocent until proven guilty in a court b) rights to our property and c) due process. This Chicago "law enforcement tactic" (which is really extortion with menaces) fails on all 3 counts, from what I can see.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Jul 17, 2007

    This is not unique to Chicago. In Los Angeles, you have to pay your traffic fine even if you want to plead not-guilty and demand a trial. Only if you are acquitted are you able to apply for a refund. To add insult to injury, there are court fees imposed, even if you are acquitted. So you are still out-of-pocket. And to make matters worse, a private corporation is in charge of collecting fines and issuing reimbursements for acquittals. Of course the company has a terrible track record of getting refunds issued. They really go out of their way to get your money back to you.... NOT. The higher courts so far have allowed the lower courts and police to confiscate private property/money prior to conviction.