California Vehicle Code §4461(a) makes it unlawful to use a handicapped placard fraudulently. There are generally several different acts that would be punishable under this code section.
The first is if a person who has been authorized to use a handicapped placard lends it to another who is not authorized for its use. Additionally, a handicapped person shall not knowingly allow the use of the handicapped placard by another that is not authorized for its use.
The relevant code section has outlined the potential range of consequences if a person is convicted for allowing the use of an unauthorized handicapped placard. They could be penalized under a civil penalty of anywhere between $250 to $1000 and may also be charged as a misdemeanor with a fine between $250 and $1000 and/or imprisonment in County Jail anywhere up to six months.
Furthermore, it is also unlawful and punishable under this code section to display a handicapped placard that has not been issued to the person using or, or if it has already been cancelled or revoked. If a person is found guilty of this subdivision, they will face a potential range of consequences under §4461(b). They may be sentenced to a civil penalty of a fine between $250 and $1000 or penalized as a misdemeanor with a fine of $250 to $1,000 and up to six months in County jail, or both.
Under the same section it is unlawful for a person to park in a specially designated handicapped space using a placard that they are not authorized to use. Someone who is found guilty and consequently convicted will face a civil penalty of a fine between $250 to $1,000 or be criminally sentenced as a misdemeanor with a fine of $250 to $1,000 or up to six months of county jail, or both.
Although it does not seem like a serious charge, the Courts take it seriously. It could potentially result in jail time if the person is not defended properly. When people have prior criminal histories, or have been found guilty and convicted of previous crimes under the same statute, the Judge will not be considerate when imposing a sentence.
Additionally, the charge itself is a misdemeanor. It will remain on your criminal record until proper steps can be taken to have it expunged. This means that whenever you are asked by an employer, college, or other institution if you have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, you have to list it along with an explanation.
When you are faced with a misdemeanor charge, it is best to provide a powerful defense to weaken the Prosecutor’s case. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can prepare a powerful argument on your behalf to ensure that your cases is reduced to an infraction so that nothing goes on your criminal record, or gets your case dismissed altogether.