Legal Question in Traffic Law in Virginia

Handicap parking space

I was at a store this weekend making a quick purchase and items were to be pick up at the front of the store. I parked in the handicap space while my father went into the store to pay for the items we were picking up. The parking lot was under construction, therefore; I pulled into the handicap space with my the engine on waiting and ready to move out as soon as my father come out of the store. In the meantime, I saw a police office giving tickets to other vehicle about 15 yards from where i was parked. So I moved out of the handicap space, just about to pull up in front of the store to pick up my father and the items we purchased. The police office saw me back out of the handicap space completely, he rushed over and demanded that i need to pull back into the handicap space so that he can write me a ticket. To avoid any confrontation I respected the office and move back into the space. Was this situation handled appropriately, according to the law?

Asked on 10/04/04, 9:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathon Moseley Office of Jonathon Moseley
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Re: Handicap parking space

No. You need to show up at the court date and tell the judge that the police officer TOLD you to drive into the handicap space. I assume that while writing you a ticket the police officer told you to turn off the engine for the first time, which only makes it worse for the police officer.

I doubt that a police officer would give a "parking" ticket while your engine is running.

YES, you may have been wrong to be "standing" in the handicapped space. But this practice of ordering citizens to do something illegal in order to write them a ticket has to stop. I've seen this before.

For all the police officer knows you could have been turning into that spot simply to turn around. Don't admit that you were "standing" in the space, but simply that you turned in very briefly. Emphasize that you never got out of the car (which is the definition of parking) as well as never stopped the motor running.

Emphasize that the ONLY time you stopped the engine was when the police officer ordered you to park in the handicapped space just so he could write you a ticket.

If you want legal help, I can give it at $95 per hour. However, I assume this is not a lot of money. But I would still take the time to alert the judge to the fact that police officers are ordering people to violate the law just so they can write a ticket.

I think the judge may not have complete sympathy for you standing in the handicapped space, but will probably feel it is more important to send a stern warning to the police to stop ordering people to violate the law just so they can "catch" people violating the law.

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10/05/04, 9:36 am

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