Our client, age 31, needed to do some Christmas shopping with her mom, age 67. Our client’s brother was disabled and had a handicapped parking placard that our client took with her. Her mom’s lupus and other issues were acting up and her left hip was very painful.
Del Amo Mall in Torrance
The two decided to go to Marshalls at the Del Amo Mall. It was mid-December and the parking lot was packed. Our client was driving and, using the handicapped parking placard from her brother, pulled into a handicapped parking stall.
In a Nutshell: Client charged in Torrance Superior Court with violating Vehicle Code § 4461, illegal use of a disabled person’s parking placard, when she used her brother’s disabled person parking without him being with her. Case resolved for judicial diversion (no longer available after 1/1/18) and no conviction.
Despite having her elderly mom, our client was immediately confronted by two plain clothes Torrance Police officers about the placard. The police took down the numbers on the placard and ran it in their computer. It came back for our client’s brother, who was not with the car.
The police immediately issued a ticket to our client for violation of Vehicle Code § 4461, parking placard fraud, a misdemeanor.
Our client, a college graduate with no criminal history, was shocked to be facing a misdemeanor. She was unemployed and a single mom (a widower). She knew with a misdemeanor on her record, her chances of becoming employed would plummet. She then read on the Internet about the penalties for parking placard fraud and learned of the enormous fines and being on probation for such a conviction.
She called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. She described what had happened and her concerns, especially because she was ironically hoping to work in a medical facility, which such a conviction certainly would be frowned upon.
Greg then met with the client and her family at our office in Torrance.
Greg explained that since the client had no prior criminal history and the offense was not excluded from AB 2124, codified at Penal Code §§ 1001.94 to 1001.98, she would be eligible for judicial diversion to “earn a dismissal” after a year or less, depending upon the judge’s approach. This made the client feel a bit better, as she needed to avoid a conviction.
Greg asked the client to take an online “thinking errors” class from Tom Wilson Counseling and to give him proof of her college degree and her current classes she was taking for medical billing and later, to become a registered nurse.
Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf in the Torrance Courthouse for the arraignment. The Torrance City Prosecutor and Greg discussed the case. Greg explained how the client’s elderly mother needed the closer parking and how our client had no prior record at all. The City Prosecutor’s offer on the case was two years of summary probation and a $250 fine, plus penalties and assessments (total of about $1,200) and 40 hours of community service.
The judge then called the matter and Greg requested judicial diversion for the client. The judge asked about the facts of the case and client individually. Greg explained the facts and a little bit about the client personally.
The judge allowed judicial diversion and ordered the client to perform 20 hours of community service and to return to court in six months for a dismissal.
The client was overjoyed to know she had the opportunity to earn a dismissal and that it only required her to perform twenty hours of community service. She was happy that her career plans were not derailed.
For more information about parking placard fraud and diversion issues, please click on the following articles:
- Illegal Use of Disability Placards Can Lead to Far More Serious Charges
- AB 2124 – The New Pilot Program for Diversion of First-Time, Low Level Offenders in Los Angeles County Only
- What Is Diversion, Delayed Entry of Plea and Deferred Entry of Judgment?