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posted: 5/5/2010 12:01 AM

Candidate for state house drove without insurance

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  • Richard Hamen

    Richard Hamen


Prospect Heights Alderman Richard Hamen, who is also the Republican candidate for state representative in the 57th District, has been found guilty of operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

He appeared Friday at the Skokie Courthouse and was ordered to pay a $555 fine.

Hamen said he doesn't know whether he had insurance when a Des Plaines police officer pulled him over on Jan. 14 for an expired registration sticker.

"I'm pretty sure I did have insurance, but I didn't have proof at the time and I couldn't find any around the house," he said.

Hamen said he has three months to pay off the fine and hopes to show he had insurance by that deadline. He said he didn't fight the fine because "I didn't want to drag this out in court."

The judge dismissed the expired registration, as well as a driving on a suspended or revoked license violation, striking both from Hamen's record. Hamen said he didn't realize his license was suspended - the result of getting pulled over last year for speeding in Lake County while driving with an expired license.

Hamen said he was struggling financially and was saving money to renew his license. Money became even tighter after he became unemployed four months ago, he said.

Hamen said he has since purchased a six-month insurance policy and renewed his license, calling the violations silly errors on his part.

"Times are tight for honest politicians and this has caused me a whole lot of money, trouble and hassle," Hamen said. "I don't have a pile of money. I'm just a regular guy and I hope people can relate to that."

Hamen is challenging Democratic incumbent Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook in the November election.