I just reviewed the stats to determine my fantasy football team. The weather is starting to change (ever so slightly). Fall is creeping into the picture. This means football season and another year of school kicks in. This is in addition with the daily San Diego calendar which includes a myriad of events and downtown life. A part of making these events easier is a handicap placard.
At a Chargers game someone gets a fast pass all the way to the front parking spots. What they do not know if that 1/2 way down is San Diego police (SDPD) who wants to verify the placard. The person who has the placard has to be in the car (in most circumstances). You cannot say “I care for my gramps” and think you will not be charged. It is a misdemeanor … and the fine can pay for your Chargers tickets for a year.
A student uses it to get prime spots instead of parking. it will eventually cost you. Worse, is the placard gets seized by San Diego police so it will not be there when it is truthfully needed.
I devoted a whole section of this on my website because it is so prevalent in San Diego. The people who are accused of this is usually good people who made a genuine mistake.
Handicap Placard Violations
You can be proactive and at minimum mitigate the sanction. Take a look at the law. If you do find yourself accused of this charge contact or office immediately for a free consultation.
Be safe…and it may be worth the time and walk to not use the handicap placard.
For any driver that has ever pulled into a handicap spot without a placard or permit and been caught by a law enforcement officer, you know just how seriously California takes these laws. San Diego has a variety of events throughout the year that allow vehicles with placards go to an assigned parking area.
However, people make honest mistakes and forget they have the placard and had no intention of using it to obtain a better parking spot. In an era where families assist elderly persons who may be assigned the placard with more frequency, the use of the placard may be an oversight. Any violations that involve the illegal use, selling, theft, or forgery of handicap placards involve some of the largest penalties that can be incurred in a vehicle. In fact, some of the fines and jail time can meet or exceed that of DUIs or other forms of dangerous conduct. This is why the Law Offices of Mark Deniz believes that every driver should be made aware of the traffic code surrounding handicap spots, handicap placards, and their uses.
Handicap placards and permits are issued by the DMV and are very important legal items. Drivers may receive them for any number of conditions including arthritis, blood pressure issues, respiratory complications, or any problems with mobility. Attorney Mark Deniz has seen hundreds of cases where there have been a variety of issues. The laws concerning use of handicap placards are very strict and something that all drivers should understand. This is especially true for non-handicapped drivers that may be using the vehicle of a handicapped friend or relative.
There is only one instance in which a non-handicapped driver may use a handicapped placard to park in a specially designated spot in San Diego. This can only be done while transporting a disabled person. At no point can these placards be lent, bought, sold, or copied by another party. The only time that the handicapped placard may be used without the handicapped individual in the car is if the driver dropped them off before making their way to a parking spot.
Any illegal or misuse of these placards is considered to be fraud and comes with all of the penalties associated with fraud. Minimum fines begin at $250 but can go all the way up to $1,000 for a single offense. Drivers may also be imprisoned for up to six months in jail.
The Law Offices of Mark Deniz is here to help drivers that have been charged with San Diego handicap placard violations.
Here is some more information on handicap Placards.
A disabled parking placard or license plate issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles will make your life easier if you need one.
If you have limited mobility or one of the following conditions, as diagnosed by your doctor:
- Heart or circulatory disease
- Lung disease
- A diagnosed disease or disorder that significantly limits the use of lower extremities
- Specific, documented visual problems, including low vision, partial-sightedness, or blindness
- The loss, or loss of the use, of one or both lower extremities or both hands
In some cases, including those related to lack of mobility in the hands, arms, or lower extremities, a licensed chiropractor disability can certify a disability.
The blindness of any disabled parking applicant must be certified by a licensed physician or surgeon (eye specialist) or by a licensed optometrist.
Disabled license plates are available only to those with permanent disabilities. You will only need to pay your normal annual vehicle registration fee.
A temporary disabled parking placard is good for 6 months. A permanent disabled parking placard is valid for 2 years and expires on June 30 of odd-numbered years. Either way, the plastic placard is displayed inside the vehicle in which the disabled person is riding or driving.
Both permanent and temporary disabled parking placards require a doctor’s certification unless:
- You have lost a lower extremity or both hands, and you go in person to your local DMV office to obtain your placard.
- You already have California disabled person (DP) or disabled veteran (DV) license plates assigned to you.
How to apply for a placard
- Print a copy of the Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates (Form REG 195).
- Have your doctor sign the disability certification.
- Mail the completed application to the address indicated. For a temporary placard, include payment for the fee.
- Or, make an appointment at your local DMV office to deliver your application in person.
Permanently disabled placards automatically renew. When your placard is ready to expire, the DMV will mail a new placard to the address on file. If you change your address, be sure to send a Notice of Change of Address (Form DMV 14) to the DMV or change your address online (if you are eligible).
Where to park
With your disabled placard (temporary or permanent) or your permanent disabled license plates, you may park :
- In any parking space with the International Symbol of Access. (wheelchair symbol)
- Next to a blue curb authorized for handicap parking.
- Next to a green curb (green curbs indicate limited-time parking) for as long as you like.
- In a metered parking space on the street at no charge.
- In an area that indicates it requires a resident or merchant permit.
- Check public arenas, like sports stadiums, to see if they offer free disabled parking. Many do.
Do not park in the areas marked with white hatch marks (near the disabled parking spots), any red (no stopping), yellow (commercial vehicles only), or white (passenger loading and unloading only) curbs
Remember, you are the only person authorized to use your disabled placard. You must be either the driver or the passenger in a vehicle for the placard to be valid.
If you abuse your parking placard or let someone else do so, the placard is likely to be canceled and revoked. Further, you could also be fined and even receive time in jail.
Replacing a Placard
If your disabled placard is lost or destroyed, you may obtain a substitute placard. You’ll need to:
- Complete an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, and Documents (Form REG 156).
- Surrender the placard if it has been mutilated.
- Enclose a replacement fee if you are replacing a temporary placard (permanent placards are free to replace).
Mail the completed application, along with any fees and the destroyed placard (if applicable), to:
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Note: According to the CA DMV, it may take as long as 4 weeks for your placard to arrive.
Tidbits on San Diego Placards
The DMV tailors some of its services toward drivers with disabilities, including alternative methods for taking the written driver’s license exam, TTY phone numbers, special counters for the disabled, and special assistance at the DMV office.
If your wheelchair lift obstructs your license plate, you may apply for a window decalfrom the DMV that clearly displays your license number in your vehicle’s rear window.
According to a CA DMV representative, it is possible to get both a disabled license plate and a movable placard for those times when the qualified disabled person is being driven by another driver.
To find out more about registering your car with special disabled person license plates, visit the DMV’s page dedicated to explaining California’s disabled license plates and placards program.
Short-Term Placards for Visitors
If you’re visiting California and you require a disabled license placard, you must apply for a Temporary Parking Placard for Nonresidents. The temporary placard is good for up to 90 days or until the date indicated by your physician.
Traveling Out of State
If you have a parking placard or license plate issued by the state of California, and you plan to travel out of state, you will want to obtain a Travel Parking Placard for California Residents. Follow the same steps as above and don’t forget to include the appropriatefee. A traveling placard is good for 30 days.
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