The state of California provides a number of services to individuals with disabilities, including handicapped parking spaces. Individuals with need are issued disabled placards or license plates that give them the right to park in these spaces.
California residents who fraudulently use these spaces may be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 4461: Unlawful Use of a Disability Placard. This charge may apply if an individual:
- Lets Someone Else Utilize Their Disability Placard
- Uses Another Person’s Disability Placard
- Parks in a Handicapped Space Without a Placard
Find out more about VC 4461 charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can review the potential outcomes of a VC 4461 conviction and focus on options for legal defenses for the unlawful use of a disability placard.
Defining the Unlawful Use of a Disability Placard
Giving Someone Else a Disability Placard
Some individuals who legitimately possess a disability placard may decide to loan it to a friend or family member. This is illegal in the state of California. Even knowingly allowing another person to use a disability placard can lead to a VC 4461 conviction.
Exhibiting an Invalid Disability Placard
Drivers are never permitted to use a disability placard that they were not legally assigned. The only exception to this rule arises if a driver is transporting a disabled person, in which case they can use the placard. Drivers can also face criminal charges for using a placard after it is revoked.
Parking Illegally in a Handicapped Space
California drivers park illegally in handicapped spaces if they park while displaying an invalid disability placard or if they have invalid disability plates on their vehicle. Again, drivers are permitted to use a handicapped space if they are driving a person with a disability.
Go Over Examples of VC 4461 Violations in California
Woman A has a disability placard. She gives the placard to her daughter, Woman B, so her daughter can get great parking at the mall. Woman B is caught unlawfully using a handicapped space when she arrives. Both Woman A and Woman B could face VC 4461 charges.
Woman C is driving her disabled mother to a doctor’s appointment. She uses her mother’s disability placard to park in a handicapped space. She should not face criminal charges because she is lawfully transporting an individual with a disability.
Focus on Penalties for a VC 4461 Conviction
The unlawful use of a disability placard may be treated as a minor infraction or as a misdemeanor in the state of California. Infractions are punishable offenses that are not considered criminal acts. You may think of speeding tickets as another example of a traffic offense that is often treated as an infraction in California.
Drivers who face a VC 4461 infraction may be fined up to $1,000. Infractions do not lead to incarceration. Misdemeanor charges are far more serious. Drivers who are charged with a VC 4461 misdemeanor may end up:
- Fined Up to $1,000
- Jailed for Up to Six Months
Drivers may sometimes be sentenced to probation instead of jail time in unlawful use of a disability placard cases.
Defenses for Unlawful Use of a Disability Placard Accusations
You can get legal help on your side if you are accused of unlawfully using a disability placard. A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can dig into the detail surrounding your case. Depending on your situation, a legal professional could argue that:
You Were Using a Disability Placard Lawfully
Individuals in California are legally allowed to transport people with disabilities. If you are providing a ride to a disabled individual, you may use their disability placard to park in a handicapped space. This applies even if you drop a disabled individual off at the door to a building and then go to park your car.
You Didn’t Know Someone Was Misusing Your Disability Placard
Individuals who willingly give their disability placard to other people can face criminal charges. However, you should not be charged under VC 4461 if someone took your disability placard without your knowledge or permission.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About VC 4461 Charges
California Vehicle Code Section 4461: Unlawful Use of a Disability Placard charges can lead to fines and jail time. You can work to resolve these charges in your favor by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Speak with our criminal defense lawyers now for a FREE initial case evaluation.
You can reach us by calling (310) 997-4688 or completing our online contact form.