Tickets for parking in handicap spots

This week’s question was the topic of debate for a morning coffee group. The debate was, can a law enforcement officer cite someone who is illegally parked in a handicap parking space on private property such as in front of a restaurant? The belief was that because it was private property, law enforcement could not.

As we look at MCL 257.674, it relates to Prohibited parking. Under section (1), “A vehicle shall not be parked, except if necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the law or the directions of a police officer or traffic-control device, in any of the following places…

Section 1(s) of the above MCL covers the issue of handicap parking and states, “In a parking space clearly identified by an official sign as being reserved for use by disabled persons that is on public property or private property available for public use, unless the individual is a disabled person as described in section 19a or unless the individual is parking the vehicle for the benefit of a disabled person. In order for the vehicle to be parked in the parking space the vehicle shall display 1 of the following:

(i) A certificate of identification or windshield placard issued under section 675 to a disabled person.

(ii) A special registration plate issued … disabled person.

(iii) A similar certificate of identification or windshield placard issued by another state to a disabled person.

(iv) A similar special registration plate issued by another state to a disabled person.

(v) A special registration plate to which a tab for persons with disabilities is attached issued under this act.

So to answer the debated question, yes, law enforcement officers can cite someone for illegally parking in a space specifically reserved for disabled persons on private property available for public use. For the officer to enforce the violation, the reserved space for disabled persons shall be clearly marked by a sign and designated paint markings on the pavement.

Under section (4) of the above MCL, “A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.”

Under MCL 257.675(19)A, it discusses the requirements of the placard. “A windshield placard issued to a disabled person shall bear the first letter and the last 3 digits of the disabled person’s driver’s or chauffeur’s license number or the first letter and the last 4 digits of the number on his or her official state personal identification card issued under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300.” With the placard specifically being issued to an individual, if that person is not operating the vehicle or in the vehicle while it is being parked in the space, it would be considered a violation, and the driver would be cited with a civil infraction.

Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the MSP Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at asktroopersimpson@gmail.com or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police – Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave, Alpena, MI 49707.