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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20130
Experience:  Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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I borrowed a handicap placard to use at the Sonoma NHRA

Customer Question

I borrowed a handicap placard to use at the Sonoma NHRA raceway so I wouldn't have to walk far since I have a paralyzed diaphragm which is elevated and they found a hernia pressing against my lung. I have filed a disability claim and was unaware that I couldn't borrow the placard. There was a check point before you can enter the handicap parking lot and I was issued a ticket for $1000. After the races I was having a hard time breathing and couldn't make it to the general parking and an ambulance was called and they did an EKG and was administered oxygen. I was then driven to where the car was parked. Is there anything I can do or say to contest the ticket?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information and your question. Although I can understand your dilemma, unless you had been issued the plackard or had someone in the vehicle who was entitled to use it, there is no defense to the citation. You could plead your case to the court to get them to lower the fine (the range in the statute is $250-$1000), but you need to keep in mind that you could have, but weren't charged with a misdemeanor. In other words the officer that ticketed you had a choice, as does the DA to charge you with a criminal charge or to issue a citation/fine which is akin to a parking ticket. So, although again I understand your situation, this could have been much worse and you still wouldn't have a defense based on the elements to the violation.
If you can convince the court of your medical condition and also show financial hardship they may reduce the fine, but they could (not likely but possible) change the charge to the misdemeanor. Also, just so you are aware, your friend that let you borrow the plackard could also be charged.
If you want to learn more about this statute and the possible charges, penalties, and defenses, there is a good artivle at the following link:
Please let me know if you need any clarification.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 21st. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (in the pop up box for this question, which is how we get credit (paid) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.
In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:
Thank you.