A number of individuals filed a lawsuit to challenge the City of Chicago’s authority to adopt an ordinance imposing administrative penalties on the owners of impounded vehicles, claiming that section 11-208.7 of the Illinois Vehicle Code only authorizes fees for towing, storage, and other reasonable administrative costs.  

The circuit court dismissed the complaint, finding that section 11-208.7 of the Illinois Vehicle Code did not preempt home rule authority. The appellate court agreed, finding no limitation or preemption in the statute that would prohibit a home rule unit from charging an administrative penalty or fine when impounding vehicles.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld the dismissal of the case. Lintzeris v. the City of ChicagoThe Illinois Supreme Court agreed with the circuit and appellate courts that there is no express language of prohibition or exclusion in the Illinois Vehicle Code that would preclude a home rule municipality from imposing additional fees, including administrative penalties. The Court also held that the imposition of local administrative penalties would not circumvent the authorization of fees, create an obstacle to charging fees, or derail any state function. In short, the Court upheld the City’s administrative penalty provision in its impoundment ordinance. 

Post authored by Molly Anne Krebs & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink.