What are the penalties for using an expired disabled parking permit? This question gets asked a lot, especially by permanent permit holders in states that do not send an expiration reminder to their disabled drivers.
It is not uncommon for a person’s disabled parking permit to expire without them realizing it – or for them to realize their permit’s impending expiration date too late to arrange a replacement in time.
The law can be a little vague in this area. Many states allow grace periods and are quite lenient with their disabled permit holders, while others tend to be strict. It is not unheard of for people using expired permits to receive a hefty fine.
Understandably, disabled drivers tend to have plenty of questions in this area. Does my disabled parking permit expire? Can I use my expired handicap placard? Do I need to renew my disabled parking permit? In this article, we will answer all of these questions.
Do I Need To Renew My Disabled Parking Permit?
All disabled parking permits need to be renewed. When and how you will need to renew your permit will depend on the type of permit you have and the state that issued it.
What Types Of Disabled Parking Permits Are Available?
Several types of disabled parking permits are available. Each state has its own disabled parking program. This means each state has its own version of the disabled parking rules and regulations, and its own variations of disabled permits.
The most common types of disabled parking permit, which you will find versions of in most states, are:
- Permanent disabled parking placard – for people whose disability is considered to be permanent. These usually last three to five years.
- Long-term disabled parking placard – for people whose disability is considered to be long-term. These usually last three to five years.
- Short-term/temporary disabled parking placard – for people whose disability is considered to be temporary. These usually last three to 12 months.
- Organizational disabled parking placard – for organizations that transport disabled people. These are usually valid for three to five years.
- Permanent disabled parking license plate – for people whose disability is considered to be permanent. These usually need to be renewed when the vehicle registration needs to be renewed.
- Disabled Veterans disabled parking license plate – for people whose disability is somewhat military service-related. These usually need to be renewed when the vehicle registration needs to be renewed.
When Does A Disabled Parking Permit Expire?
A disabled parking permit expires when it reaches a certain period of time since its issuance. This can range from three months for a temporary placard to five years for permanent and long-term placards in some states.
Many types of disabled permits have an expiry date printed on them, but many others do not. In some states, the permit holder is expected to keep a note of when their permit will expire and arrange a replacement before that date. In some states, the permit holder will be sent a reminder that their permit is about to expire by email or post.
What Are The Penalties For Using An Expired Handicap Placard?
The penalty for using an expired disabled parking permit varies state by state. In some states, displaying an invalid disabled permit can be charged as a civil infraction or as a misdemeanor.
A civil infraction can only be punished by a fine. Fines range between $50 and $1000. Misdemeanors can be punished by a prison sentence – sentences of six months are technically possible for displaying an invalid placard.
However, when it comes to using an expired placard, a prison sentence is extremely unlikely. A fine of between $50 and $1000 is a much more likely punishment. If you arrange a replacement placard, the original was only slightly out of date, and you’re not a recurring offender, there is a reasonable chance you could escape being fined.
To find out the exact penalties in your home state, you will need to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Is There An Expired Disabled Parking Permit Grace Period?
Can I use my expired handicap placard? Technically, yes, but only in some states. Some states have a grace period during which a person will be allowed to use their expired disabled parking permit while they wait for a replacement.
Can You Use Somebody Else’s Disabled Permit While Yours Is Expired?
It is not possible to use another person’s disabled parking permit at any time. Using another person’s permit is a serious offense.
Even if your permit is expired and you need to travel for an emergency, you are better off bringing your own expired permit and being honest with enforcement officers if you need to explain.
How Do You Renew Your Disabled Parking Permit?
If your disabled parking permit has expired or is due to expire soon, you should arrange a replacement. In most states, this is done by filling in an application form and submitting it to your local DMV office or local tax collector’s office.
Short-term and temporary placard holders will need to have another consultation with a medical professional. This is to confirm that they still require the permit. Permanent and long-term permit holders will usually not need to have a new medical consultation.
Replacement disabled parking permit applications are usually processed and sent out between seven and 14 working days from application.