A handicap parking placard has been a universal symbol since 1968.
It’s also the source of a crime though that some consider a victimless crime.
Fraudulently using a disabled parking placard that’s not assigned to you is against the law. When you park in a blue zone, you not only take away a spot, but also access from the people who really need it. Misusing a disabled placard is a crime.
All of us I think have seen it. You go to a grocery store, to the mall and you see someone park in a spot and you get upset because you feel are they abusing the placards. So how widespread is this type of fraud in our state?
“It’s been estimated one in 10 may be misusing those placards. There was a study in 2016 that over 26,000 people over the age of 100 had been issued a placard, but we only had 8,000 people in the state of that age. So the DMV has gone in and revoked those bogus placards, but it still continues that desire to park in those spaces is just so enticing to people,” explains top family law attorney Christopher C. Melcher.
If they’re being issued to people who don’t deserve them in a small percentage of cases, how does one legally get it and how are they able to get it?
“We need a medical certificate showing that there’s impaired mobility or sight problems that would warrant that special parking spot,” says Christopher C. Melcher.
They always seem to be full, the blue spaces. Is that because parking lots aren’t providing enough of them?
“I think modern developments are providing more spaces than older developments are, but if we have maybe 10% of people who are misusing it and if we’re able to curb that, there would be more adequate spaces. And so it’s a combination of not enough spaces and then people using them that aren’t entitled to,” celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher explained.
Some people consider this victimless, but it’s not victimless.
“It isn’t. Those spaces are necessary for people who need to work or go to the store or go to an event. They need extra space to offload a wheelchair and also it puts them at risk if they’re slow to walk or can’t see well and they have to cross a parking lot. They have a caregiver with them also, so we’re putting people at risk when they can’t use that preferred spot,” explains family law expert Christopher C. Melcher.
And you’ll see on the sign the fine is several hundred dollars I believe and it’s posted right there in most cases. What are the fines and do people just think they’re not going to get caught?
“I think so. And it is a crime. It’s a misdemeanor citation, so if somebody does get caught that’s $1,000 fine potentially and they’d have to go to court, hire a lawyer, there’d be a mark against their record. DMV is really going and ramping up enforcement efforts right now. They’re doing two sting operations per month across the state. They’ve issued 800 citations in the last six months and so they’re really trying to get the word out there that this is some very serious consequences if people get caught.”