I have a summons to appear in court over misuse of an accessible parking permit. I really don’t know what to do…
My very young kid is physically disabled -- they're the accessible permit holder. My kid is too young to be left alone, so virtually all of my driving is done with my kid in the car and for that reason the parking permit stays out on my dashboard. One night, I ran an errand without my kid, which never happens, and I parked in an accessible spot at a grocery store without even thinking about it. I only realized my mistake after I got out of the car, but because the store was about to close and there were many other open parking spots all around me, I just left the car parked. BIG mistake! When I went back to my car there was an officer waiting. They asked if I’m the permit holder. I said no. They told me to load groceries into my car while they took my license and permit back to their car. I assumed they'd look everything up and see that I've never gotten a ticket before and they'd give me a warning. Instead, the officer comes back with a $450 ticket, a court summons, and seizes the permit. I was an idiot and should have moved my car after I noticed my mistake, but what do I do now about the court summons? I can’t believe I have to go to court and it might be a $5k fine! What will happen during the court appearance? Please help!
If the spot was marked according to the regulations, there's not much you can do.
Obviously, the permit was not issued to you. The only other defense would be that as the driver, the vehicle is being used to pick up or transport the holder of the permit. Since the permit holder was not there, you don't really have anything in terms of a defense.
You received a summons date because there is no set fine. It's not your trial.
Usually you'll receive some sort of offer on your summons date depending on the charge. I don't know what kind of offer, if any, will be made available for this particular offense.
Keep in mind you cannot get another permit until this issue is settled.
As bend mentioned, check if the spot was marked according to the regulations. In many municipalities, the sign must be permanently fixed into the ground or affixed to a structure. It cannot be on a movable stand or just a painted symbol on the ground.
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