If you received a disabled parking permit from the state of California or are in the process of receiving one, there are several rules and regulations that you should be aware of. Following these rules and regulations will help you use your permit effectively and avoid potential problems.

Where you can park

In order to park in handicapped parking spaces in California, you must have your state-issued placard on display or have a state-issued disabled license plate. Spaces will generally have the universal wheelchair symbol marking the spot in one of several ways.

Disabled parking spots may have a sign with the wheelchair symbol. Disabled spaces may also have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground within the parking space.

Blue curbs are also an indicator of disabled parking spaces along the side of the streets. If none of these spaces are available, the state of California allows those with disabled parking permits to park in metered spaces free of charge.

You can also park in designated spaces along the road if a handicap space is not available. You can also park along green curbs and limited-time parking spaces beyond the time limitations.

Where you cannot park

There are, however, limitations to where you can park within the state of California. Places that you cannot park include:

  • Along a yellow curb
  • Along a red curb
  • Along a white curb
  • In the crosshatch section next to disabled spaces

You cannot park along a yellow curb, these spaces are reserved for commercial vehicles only. You cannot park along a white curb, which are designated areas for the loading and unloading of mail and passengers.

You also cannot park along a red curb, since it is illegal to park or stop next to those. Also, the crosshatched section next to disabled parking spaces are areas where you cannot park your vehicle with a disabled parking permit from the state of California.

Misuse of Disabled Parking Permit

If you have been issued a disabled parking permit by the state of California, there are several ways to misuse it. Several of these things are not only illegal but can result in the suspension or termination of the permit.

You cannot lend your disabled parking permit issued to you by the state of California to another motorist. Knowingly allowing another motorist to use your disabled parking permit is illegal in the state of California.

You also cannot use your disabled parking permit on a vehicle on which the plates have been canceled or revoked. And you must display your disabled parking permit at tall times when parked in a disabled parking space.

Make sure, however, to remove the placard when your vehicle is in motion because it can obstruct your view of the road. Law enforcement can consider a placard that has not been removed as an obstruction of your view that contributes to responsibility for violations.

Displaying an invalid placard

The display of a placard that is invalid or expired is considered by the state of California to be the misuse of a disabled parking permit. If you have someone else’s placard displayed or your placard is expired then you are in violation of the law.


It is not considered the misuse of a disabled parking permit in the state of California if you are transporting a disabled person. If you are not the person who the disabled parking permit was issued to but are with the rightful owner of the placard then you are not in violation of the law.

This means that if you are a disabled person who is in possession of a disabled parking permit but for some reason are unable to drive, you can have someone else transport you and use your placard. The driver in this instance is not in violation of California state law.

Penalties for misuse

California vehicle code 4461 pertains to the misuse of a disabled parking placard. Violation of this code can be viewed as either a civil or criminal misdemeanor defense.

A civil infraction also referred to as a non-criminal offense, will usually result in a fine anywhere between $250 and $1000. A misdemeanor level infraction of this code, however, can result in up to 6 months in jail and may also result in a fine similar to the one listed above.

In order to guilty of violating this code, you must have knowingly acted out an infraction. If you were unaware that your placard had been canceled or you are transporting a disabled person at the time of the infraction, then you are said to be California law to have a legitimate defense.

Your main defenses for violating these laws are basically lack of knowledge and no actual misuse. This pertains to an honest mistake on your part or a mistake made by law enforcement in issuing the infraction.

Types of placards

You also want to be aware of the type of the disabled parking permit that you were issued by the State of California and that you are using it accordingly. A permanent placard can be used universally throughout the state according to the laws but it does need to be renewed every two years.

Temporary placards expire after 6 months and cannot be displayed after expiration. The same holds for travel placards for residents which are good for 30 days and non-resident travel placards which are good for 90 days.


If you are issued a disabled parking permit by the state of California, it is important that you use it properly and legally. There are many parking spots that this permit gives you access to but you must also understand its limitations.

There are several areas that you cannot park in with a disabled parking permit in the state of California. Most of these spaces are reserved for specific vehicles that are serving purposes such as delivery and transport.

Violations of California code 4461 can result in a fine or a misdemeanor, showing the importance of using your permit in a proper manner.