GRAFTON, Mass. - Question: I recently received a ticket for parking my vehicle in a handicap zone. I was just going into the store for a minute and there were no regular spaces available close by. It was cold and the parking lot was icy, so I figured I could just quickly run into the store without getting a ticket. Don’t I have to be parked in a handicap space for a certain length of time before getting a ticket?
Answer: The answer to your question is no. To park in a space designated for handicap parking, the vehicle must have a handicap plate or placard displayed with the proper permit. It does not matter how long the vehicle is parked in the space. If the vehicle does not have the plate or placard, it will receive a ticket if the violation is observed by a police officer.
The registered owner of the vehicle is subsequently responsible for the violation.
The owner of the vehicle that receives the ticket is subject to a $100 fine under both Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 2, and the Town of Grafton By-Laws Article 12 Section 21. Normally, the violator will only receive a parking ticket under the Town By-Laws.
Also, any person who wrongfully displays a handicap plate on, or a placard in, a motor vehicle parked in a designated handicap parking space shall be subject to a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense. According to the General Laws, the registrar shall suspend the operator's license or right to operate of any person found to have wrongfully used or displayed a handicap plate or placard for up to 30 days for a first offense.
Please remember to keep your parked vehicles off the roads during snowstorms. Vehicles parked on the road hamper plowing operations and make it difficult for highway crews to properly clear the road of snow and ice. Vehicles left on the road during these times may be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense.
Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Grafton Police Department, 28 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519. You may also email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.
Normand A. Crepeau, Jr.
Chief of Police