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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Cited for Parking in a Handicapped Spot, While Handicapped Passenger Was In the Car

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: New Jersey... I parked in a handicapped space to enter a local store. Hanging from my rearview mirror is a handicap placard and my passenger is handicap w/ crutches and leg brace. As I am exiting my vehicle to enter the store, an officer pulls up to harrass someone that was illegally parked in the space next to me. I continued to enter the store once I realized he was not trying to get my attention. As I am waiting on my order, I look out the store window and see the officer has blocked by vehicle with his patrol car and he is opening/entering my vehicle without permission. I continue to wait for my order and am not worried, b/c in my mind I am not illegally parked. When I return to my vehicle, the officer ask for my license, registration, and insurance. I asked why and he stated that he is going to issue me a summons. I asked for what, he stated that I am illegally parked. I told him that I wasn't, my passenger is handicapped and his placard is hanging from my rearview mirror, which he clearly saw when he violated my 4th Amendment by entering my vehicle without my permission (my passenger did not give permission to enter). His response was that I am abusing the use of the handicapped placard b/c my passenger stayed in the car when I parked. (I read the handicap brochure for the state of NJ online http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/Vehicles/DDS-guide.pdf and did not find anywhere that stated the handicap individual had to exit the vehicle if parked in a handicap space) As I am speaking with the officer, my passenger exited the vehicle to use the restroom in the store. Keep in mind, all of this happened within 5-7mins. The officer went to his patrol car to do his job as I waited outside of my vehicle, when he returned he handed my credential to me and proceeded to put the summons on my windshield. I stopped him and asked why he was putting it there, why not just give it to me, so he did. I told him that I wasn't abusing a handicap space and i feel the ticket is unlawful, he told me to tell it to the judge. I responded that I will, along with all the witnessess who were there. He responded "good and my patrol car has a camera as well". At this point I decided to video the situation with my camera phone of my passenger exiting the store and the patrol car behind my vehicle as well as the handicap placard hanging from my rearview mirror. Once the officer pulled off, I went back into the store and the store associates wrote and signed a witness statement, stating that they noticed the placard in my window, they seen my passenger exit my vehicle/enter the store, and the police officer entering my vehicle without my permission. I would like to know if my 4th amendment was violated when the officer entered my vehicle without my permission and if so, how would it benefit me to exercise my 4th amendment right (ie, can i sue, can i get him fired)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Cited for Parking in a Handicapped Spot, While Handicapped Passenger Was In the C

    I would like to know if my 4th amendment was violated when the officer entered my vehicle without my permission and if so, how would it benefit me to exercise my 4th amendment right
    It could get the ticket dismissed. May even get the cop reprimanded, though the department won't tell you what - if anything - they do.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Cited for Parking in a Handicapped Spot, While Handicapped Passenger Was In the C

    Presumably the purpose of the officer's entry was to inspect the hang tag, which is not unreasonable when the officer is investigating the validity of the hang tag. What did your passenger say to the officer before the officer entered the car? What did he say in response to the officer's entry?

    It does not appear from what you've told us that, had the person actually gone into the store with you, you would have received a ticket. The issue appears to be that you parked in a handicapped spot to run an exclusively personal errand, you're not the person who is handicapped, and the handicapped person has no intention of leaving the vehicle during your errand. So I'm curious - is that what your passenger told the officer was happening? (No, the passenger's subsequent bathroom break would not erase a prior parking violation.) One way or another you suffered no damages as a result of the entry, so I'm not seeing a point to suing.

    It would be interesting to hear what the judge makes of the charge. I haven't encountered this situation before.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Cited for Parking in a Handicapped Spot, While Handicapped Passenger Was In the C

    What section of NJ law were you cited under?

    Does it allow for a seizure of a tag used improperly?

    As was pointed out, it is possible the entry was made for inspection purposes and possible seizure.

    Simply opening a car door is probably a search in and of itself (?), but how far did he go into the vehicle?

    This "may" be permitted. The search of an automobile is not as constitutionally strict as the search of a home!!

    WHY did he say he was searching?

    The "intent of the legislature" in the passage of handicap space laws is so the HANDICAP person does not have to walk that far. The fact you were in a car gives you no special privileges. You were not handicap.

    I did not read the brochure, it is too small, find the law, copy and paste it.

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