The spaces for individuals with special needs are always in prime locations. They’re located at the front of the parking lot, close to the main entrance. More often than not, at least half of these designated parking spaces are empty while the rest of the lot is full, forcing you to park at the back and spend a considerable amount of time hiking to the store.
It’s easy to understand the temptation of using one of these spaces, especially when you’re only going inside for a few minutes. What harm could it be?
If you give into the urge, you will be breaking the law.
Handicapped parking fraud is taken very seriously in California.
California’s stance on handicapped parking fraud is addressed in Vehicle Code § 4461.
Most people who are charged and ultimately convicted of handicapped parking fraud in California will face a fine that ranges from $250 to $1,000. They could also potentially be ordered to spend up to six months in jail. On top of that you’ll have to deal with the stigma of having a criminal record.
If you’re a professional, such as a nurse, doctor, contractor, attorney, etc, the situation could quickly go from bad to worse. When you’re involved in a profession that requires professional licensing, the judge as the right to add an additional $1,500 civil penalty to whatever other fines are connected to the sentence.
It’s worth noting that it’s not just parking in a handicapped space that could get you in trouble for handicapped parking fraud. Additional ways you can face this charge include the following:
✨ Lending someone your valid handicapped parking permit
✨ Using a handicapped parking permit that wasn’t issued by the California DMV or that has expired
✨ Driving someone’s car that does have the placard and parking in a handicapped space even if the person who was issued the placard wasn’t in the car