Serious Consequences for Parking in a Handicap Space without a Permit in Florida
The Americans with Disabilities Act regulates businesses into having a certain number of handicap parking spaces available. To legally use these spaces, drivers with proven disabilities must qualify for handicap permits or license plates that are readily displayed. Some people don’t think twice about parking in a handicap space without a permit, but illegally using these spaces can actually have devastating ramifications.
Who Can Use a Handicap Parking Spot?
In short, the only person who can use a handicap parking permit is the person who has qualified for a permanent or temporary disabled person parking permit. You can apply for this permit online or by visiting your local DMV. Learn more about the process of getting a handicap parking permit here.
Florida also has “reciprocal recognition” agreements that allow your Florida handicap parking permit to be applicable in other states. So, if you have a handicap parking permit, you don’t need to worry about renewing it in each state you travel to.
Otherwise, no one else can use a handicap parking spot. It does not matter if you are running an errand for your disabled family member – it is illegal to use someone else’s handicap permit while they are not present or using the vehicle.
Consequences for Parking in a Handicap Spot Without a Permit
Under Florida Statute 11, parking in a handicap spot without any parking permit is punishable with a fine of up to $250. Using or obtaining someone else’s handicap parking permit can be charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, the same as simple assault or petit theft. This crime can be punished with fines up to $500 or up to 6 months in jail.
While it may initially seem harmless, prosecutors take these violations seriously, since the presence of an unauthorized driver in a designated spot might prevent a legitimately disabled person from important tasks. Being charged with a second-degree misdemeanor over a handicap parking spot will appear on your permanent record and can have devastating effects on your future. You may risk losing any professional license, including your right to practice law, medical license, CPA, among others. Similarly, your candidacy for medical school or law school and future job opportunities may be threatened.
Read the full Florida Statute outlining handicapped parking spot laws here.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today if You Parked in a Handicap Spot Without Authorization
Even seemingly basic traffic and parking violations can ultimately have devastating legal consequences. An experienced traffic defense attorney could explain more about the rules and regulations in Florida and represent you if you are charged with violating handicap parking laws. Contact Umansky Law Firm today.