Unlawful Use of a Special License Plate or a “Disabled Person Placard”
What is punishable under Vehicle Code § 14461?
Vehicle Code § 4461(a) makes it a crime for a person to lend his or her certificate of ownership, registration card, license plate, special plate, validation tab, or permit if the person desiring to borrow it would not be entitled to use it.
Vehicle Code § 14461(b) specifically makes it a crime for a person to lend a disabled person placard to a person who is not entitled to use it. “Disabled person placard” means a placard issued pursuant to Vehicle Code § 22511.55 or 22511.59.
Vehicle Code § 14461(b) also makes it a crime to knowingly permit the use for parking purposes of the placard by one not entitled to it.
Vehicle Code § 14461(c) makes it a crime to use someone else’s disabled person placard that has been cancelled or revoked under Vehicle Code § 22522.6.
However, under VC § 14461(d), it is not a crime to make use of a disabled person placard or special license plate in order to transport a disabled person.
When can a person use another person’s disabled person placard under Vehicle Code § 4461?
A person to whom a disabled person placard has been issued may permit another person to use the placard only while in the presence or reasonable proximity of the disabled person for the purpose of transporting the disabled person.
What are the punishments for a violation of Vehicle Code § 4461?
A violation of Vehicle Code § 14461 may be a parking violation subject to a civil penalty of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six months, or both that fine and imprisonment.
Defenses to Vehicle Code § 4461
- The defendant did not loan the placard to someone else or did not know the person was using it
- The defendant did not know that the placard expired
- The defendant was transporting a disable person entitled to use the placard