Traffic ticket prices have skyrocketed in Chicago since Mayor Rahm Emmanuel agreed to spike citations from $120 to $200. Statements from the mayor say that the surge in traffic citation prices will bring $16 million much-needed dollars to the city of Chicago. However, the citations managed to only generate a few million dollars and forced thousands of already disadvantaged residents into filing for bankruptcy to cope with the debt. As a result, unpaid traffic citations have contributed to an explosion in Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings in Chicago. Collectively, drivers owe $275 million dollars in traffic tickets since 2012. In an effort to fight back, residents filed a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that the price of traffic citations exceeds the state cap of $250 per ticket.
What Does it Mean to File for Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is designed for individuals who are overwhelmed with debt and cannot find a way to pay. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law and is given to all persons. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops creditors from seeking to collect debts from you until your debt is settled as according to the law. For instance, filing for bankruptcy in Illinois can:
- Eliminate the legal obligation to pay your debts;
- Pause foreclosure on your home;
- Allow you to catch up on missed payments;
- Prevent repossession of a car or other property;
- Stop wage garnishment;
- End debt collection harassment; or
- Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
Is Filing for Bankruptcy Right for Me?
There are several ways of filing for bankruptcy that depend on your situation, your qualifications, and what is best for you and your family. Although most people will want to file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, here are a few other types of bankruptcy provided under federal law:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Known as “liquidation.” It requires a debtor to give up property that exceeds a certain amount, so the property can be sold to pay creditors.
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Known as “reorganization." It is used by businesses and sole business owners whose debts are larger than a normal single individual or family.
- Chapter 12 Bankruptcy: Is for farmers or members of the farming community.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Known as “debt adjustment.” It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts (or parts of debts) from their income.
Where can I Find a Trusted Bankruptcy Lawyer in Chicago?
At Newland & Newland, LLP, our goal is to help people who need help filing for bankruptcy and to make filing a claim a positive experience for you and your loved ones at a rate that will not cause your family further financial hardship. Our team is compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable in bankruptcy claims and is committed to working hard on your case. If you live in Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, or Itasca areas, and if you are suffering from overwhelming debt, contact us at (312) 981-0409 for a complimentary evaluation of your case, or visit us online.
(image courtesy of Bernard Hermant)