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New Rules for Disabled Parking Permits

The DMV is authorized to issue plates and placards to authorized applicants for disabled parking permits. Those authorized include permanent and temporarily disabled Veterans and other individuals who have certification from a licensed medical practitioner. Temporary placards last for the length of the disability while permanent placards expire after two years, but renewal does not require recertification. Organizations that regularly transport persons with disabilities can also apply for plates.

Why the Change to Disabled Parking Law?

An audit completed in April 2017 showed widespread misuse of the programs placards and specialty plates for disabled parking. Many family members of the deceased continued to use the plates and placards after their death. Additionally, the audit showed the system of verification was too lax. Senator Jerry Hill said, "We must make sure the drivers who need this important program have access to the benefits it provides…” The DMV reports there are 2.5 million CA residents who qualify for disability status, so one in eight CA drivers agree with the Senator.

Before the audit, most thought people used disabled parking plates and placards as they are intended. CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 20 authorizes a fine up to $1000 for the misuse or fraudulent application for the same. The CVC also makes it a misdemeanor to use a family member or friend’s authorized placard, and could include up to six months jail time.

Sen. Hill authored CA Senate Bill (SB) 611 Vehicles, the CA Assembly and Senate approved it, and the Governor signed it into law on 4 October 2017.

What Changes Under SB 611?

The DMV must now compare the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Death Master File against its records of issued plates and placards. The change also requires a quarterly audit of new applications for disabled parking plates and placards against existing medical records. This initiative will be done with the help of the CA Medical Board to ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to protect individual information from compromise.

The new law requires individuals applying to include proof of their full name and date of birth, to protect against fraudulent applications. The law prohibits the DMV from releasing more than four replacement plates or placards to any authorized holder within the two-year period before expiration. Lost or stolen disabled parking plates and placards are eligible for replacement without recertification. A qualified applicant that needs more than four must reapply with a new disability certification from a medical professional. Which, according to the new law can be a licensed podiatrist.

Finally, the new legislation requires the DMV to send an application for renewal form to each authorized holder every six years, though there is no requirement for recertification or additional proof of identity with the renewal.

Speak to a Traffic Ticket Attorney Before You Decide

With the statewide crackdown of illegal disabled parking, some people who are authorized to use the spots will get a ticket. Call Bigger & Harman when you receive a traffic ticket, no matter what the reason, and discuss your options. If you are charged with illegally using a disabled parking permit, don’t just think you can pay the fine and walk away. It is a misdemeanor crime with severe consequences, get legal advice before you decide.

Bigger & Harman represent clients in CA traffic courts, mainly in the Central Valley counties of Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, Mono, and Inyo, but they regularly practice in LA, SLO, and Riverside as well. When you need help with a traffic ticket, you want an experienced traffic court lawyer.

Read their Nolo.com write-up. Nolo is the nation’s most extensive online digest of legal professionals. For a confidential and convenient discussion, use their website contact form. You can now even contact them on their Facebook page.

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, to set up an appointment for a consultation. You might also wish to send them an email with a scanned copy of your ticket and the details, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

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Reference

CA Senate Bill (SB) 611, Vehicles