In California, may disabled people park an unlimited time on streets without posted time limitations?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law


In California, may disabled people park an unlimited time on streets without posted time limitations?  A recent California Court of Appeals decision says no.

When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I became an expert on Parking Citation Appeals to the San Bernardino Superior Court pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 40230.  In my time as an attorney, no party was ever more angry than a disabled person, with a valid disabled placard or license plate, cited for parking on the cross-hatches, particularly if the Judge or Commissioner upheld the citation.

This case was heard in the Second Appellate District, Sixth Division in Spicer v. City of Camarillo (May 31, 2011)  2011 WL 2120460.  This is a rare case where the first paragraph  gives you black letter law:

A local ordinance limits parking times on city streets. On those streets where posted signs limit the parking times, the Vehicle Code permits disabled persons displaying a placard to park an unlimited time. On streets where no such signs are posted, may disabled persons park an unlimited time? We conclude they may not because no statute permits such unlimited parking.  Id. at *1

The procedural posture of the case is a somewhat unusual.  Plaintiff sued the City for  “declaratory and injunctive relief and violation of his civil rights pursuant to Civil Code section 52.1”  Id.  The facts were stipulated by both sides, neither party submitted any evidence, and a bench trial was held.

Basically, the plaintiff parked for more than seventy-two hours in a location without a posted time limit, in violation of the Camarillo Municipal Code and the Vehicle Code.  His vehicle was towed and impounded.  The Court of Appeal and the trial court rejected plaintiff’s statutory, constitutional and res judicata arguments.


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