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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 12.1. Parking for Persons with Disabilities
12/6/2021

Chapter 12.1. Parking for Persons with Disabilities.

§ 46.2-1240. Definitions.

"Disabled parking sign" means any sign used to identify parking spaces for use by vehicles bearing valid organizational, permanent, or temporary removable windshield placards, disabled parking license plates, or disabled parking license plates issued under § 46.2-739. All disabled parking signs shall be erected and maintained in accordance with signage requirements specified in § 36-99.11.

"Organizational removable windshield placard" means a two-sided, hooked placard which includes on each side: (i) the international symbol of access at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and shown in white on a green background; (ii) the name of the institution or organization; (iii) an identification number; (iv) an expiration date imprinted on the placard and indicated by a month and year hole-punch system or an alternative system designed by the Department; (v) a misuse hotline number designated by the Department; (vi) a warning of the penalties for placard misuse; and (vii) the seal or identifying symbol of the issuing authority.

"Permanent removable windshield placard" means a two-sided, hooked placard which includes on each side: (i) the international symbol of access at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and shown in white on a blue background; (ii) an identification number; (iii) an expiration date imprinted on the placard and indicated by a month and year hole-punch system or an alternative system designed by the Department; (iv) a misuse hotline number designated by the Department; (v) a warning of the penalties for placard misuse; and (vi) the seal or other identifying symbol of the issuing authority. All holders of permanent removable windshield placards shall be required to carry the Disabled Parking Placard Identification Card issued with the placard by the Department and present it to law-enforcement officials upon request.

"Person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk or that creates a concern for his safety while walking" means a person who, as determined by a licensed physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor: (i) cannot walk 200 feet without stopping to rest; (ii) cannot walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or other assistive device; (iii) is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that his forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or when at rest, his arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 millimeters of mercury on room air; (iv) uses portable oxygen; (v) has a cardiac condition to the extent that his functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association; (vi) is severely limited in his ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition; (vii) has some other debilitating condition that, in the view of a licensed physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor, limits or impairs his ability to walk; (viii) has been diagnosed with a mental or developmental amentia or delay that impairs judgment including, but not limited to, an autism spectrum disorder; (ix) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia; (x) is legally blind or deaf; or (xi) has some other condition that, in the view of a licensed physician creates a safety concern while walking because of impaired judgment or other physical, developmental, or mental limitation. For the purposes of this definition, a determination of a disability by a podiatrist or chiropractor shall be limited to those conditions specified in items (i), (ii), (vi) or (vii) of this definition.

Any licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor who signs a certification that states that an applicant is disabled under clause (vii) of this definition shall specify, in a space provided on the certification form, the medical condition that limits or impairs the applicant's ability to walk. Any licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or licensed physician assistant who signs a certification that states that an applicant is disabled under clause (xi) of this definition shall specify, in a space provided on the certification form, the physical, developmental, or mental condition that creates the safety concern.

"Temporary removable windshield placard" means a two-sided, hooked placard which includes on each side: (i) the international symbol of access at least three inches in height, centered on the placard, and shown in white on a red background; (ii) an identification number; (iii) an expiration date imprinted on the placard and indicated by a month and year hole-punch system or an alternative system designed by the Department; (iv) a misuse hotline number; (v) a warning of the penalties for placard misuse; and (vi) the seal or other identifying symbol of the issuing authority.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 1999, c. 188; 2002, c. 108; 2003, c. 992; 2005, c. 276; 2007, c. 715; 2010, c. 47.

§ 46.2-1241. Issuance of disabled parking placards.

A. Upon application of a person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk or that creates a concern for his safety while walking, the Commissioner shall issue a permanent removable windshield placard for use on a passenger car or pickup or panel truck. The Commissioner shall require that each original application be accompanied by a certification signed by a licensed physician, licensed podiatrist, licensed chiropractor, licensed nurse practitioner, or licensed physician assistant on forms prescribed by the Commissioner that the applicant meets the definition of "person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk or that creates a concern for his safety while walking" contained in § 46.2-1240.

1. The Commissioner shall provide for the renewal of such placards every five years. Applications for renewals may require the applicant to certify that his disability is a permanent disability, but renewal applications need not be accompanied by a physician's, podiatrist's, chiropractor's, nurse practitioner's, or physician assistant's certification of the applicant's disability. The Commissioner shall work in consultation with the Medical Advisory Board for the Department to develop a definition of "permanent disability" as used in this subdivision. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this chapter, no physician's, podiatrist's, chiropractor's, nurse practitioner's, or physician assistant's certification of an applicant's disability shall be required for the renewal of any disabled parking placard of an applicant to whom disabled parking license plates have been issued under § 46.2-731.

2. The Commissioner shall charge a reasonable fee for each placard, but no fee shall be charged any person exempted from fees in § 46.2-739.

3. The placards shall be of a design approved by the Commissioner pursuant to the specifications and definitions contained in § 46.2-1240.

B. Upon the application of a person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk and whose disability is temporary, the Commissioner shall issue a temporary removable windshield placard. The application for a temporary removable windshield placard shall be accompanied by a certification signed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor on forms prescribed by the Commissioner that the applicant meets the definition of "person with a condition that limits or impairs his ability to walk" contained in § 46.2-1240 and shall also include the period of time that the physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor determines the applicant will have the disability, not to exceed six months.

1. A licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor may certify up to 15 days in advance of an applicant's medical procedure that an applicant will meet the definition of "person with a condition that limits or impairs his ability to walk" and that the disability will be temporary. Any licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor who certifies an applicant's disability in advance of a medical procedure shall provide the period of time for which the physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, podiatrist, or chiropractor has determined that the applicant will have the disability, not to exceed six months. The Commissioner will mail the temporary placard to the applicant.

2. The temporary removable windshield placard shall be valid for the period of time for which the physician, podiatrist, or chiropractor has determined that the applicant will have the disability, not to exceed six months from the date of issuance.

3. The Commissioner shall provide for a reasonable fee to be charged for the placard. The placards shall be of a design approved by the Commissioner pursuant to the specifications and definitions contained in § 46.2-1240.

C. On application, the Commissioner shall issue to hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and other institutions and organizations meeting criteria determined by the Commissioner organizational removable windshield placards, as provided for in the foregoing provisions of this section, for use by volunteers when transporting disabled persons in passenger vehicles and pickup or panel trucks owned by such volunteers. The provisions of this section relating to other windshield placards issued under this section shall also apply, mutatis mutandis, to windshield placards issued to these institutions and organizations, except that windshield placards issued to institutions and agencies, in addition to their expiration date, shall bear the name of the institution or organization whose volunteers will be using the windshield placards rather than the name, age, and sex of the person to whom issued.

1. The Commissioner shall provide for the renewal of such placards every five years.

2. The placards shall be of a design approved by the Commissioner pursuant to the specifications and definitions contained in § 46.2-1240.

D. No person shall use or display an organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard or temporary removable windshield placard beyond its expiration date.

E. Organizational removable windshield placards, permanent removable windshield placards and temporary removable windshield placards shall be displayed in such a manner that they may be viewed from the front and rear of the vehicle and be hanging from the rearview mirror of a vehicle utilizing a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk. When there is no rearview mirror, the placard shall be displayed on the vehicle's dashboard. No placard shall be displayed from the rearview mirror while a vehicle is in motion.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 2001, c. 136; 2002, c. 133; 2003, c. 992; 2005, c. 276; 2007, c. 715; 2013, c. 137.

§ 46.2-1242. Parking in spaces reserved for persons with disabilities; local ordinances; penalty.

A. 1. No vehicles other than those displaying disabled parking license plates, organizational removable windshield placards, permanent removable windshield placards, or temporary removable windshield placards issued under § 46.2-1241, or DV disabled parking license plates issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, shall be parked in any parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities.

2. No person without a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk shall park a vehicle with disabled parking license plates, organizational removable windshield placards, permanent removable windshield placards, temporary removable windshield placards, or DV disabled parking license plates issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739 in a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk except when transporting a disabled person in the vehicle.

3. No vehicle shall be parked in any striped access aisle adjacent to a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities.

4. A summons or parking ticket for the offense may be issued by law-enforcement officers, uniformed law-enforcement department employees, or volunteers acting pursuant to § 46.2-1244 without the necessity of a warrant's being obtained by the owner of any private parking area.

5. Parking a vehicle in a space reserved for persons with disabilities or in a striped access aisle in violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500.

B. The governing body of any county, city, or town may, by ordinance, provide that it shall be unlawful for a vehicle not displaying disabled parking license plates, an organizational removable windshield placard, a permanent removable windshield placard, or a temporary removable windshield placard issued under § 46.2-1241, or DV disabled parking license plates issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, to be parked in a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk or for a person who is not limited or impaired in his ability to walk to park a vehicle in a parking space so designated except when transporting a person with such a disability in the vehicle. If there is a placard within a vehicle utilizing a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities, but that placard is not displayed as required pursuant to subsection E of § 46.2-1241, such ordinance may provide for a fine less than that imposed under this section. The governing body of any county, city, or town may, by ordinance, provide that no vehicle shall be parked in any striped access aisle adjacent to a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities.

1. Any local governing body, by such ordinance, may assess and retain a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for its violation.

2. The ordinance may further provide that a summons or parking ticket for the offense may be issued by law-enforcement officers, volunteers serving in units established pursuant to § 46.2-1244, and other uniformed personnel employed by the locality to enforce parking regulations without the necessity of a warrant's being obtained by the owner of the private parking area.

C. In any prosecution charging a violation of this section or an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section, proof that the vehicle described in the complaint, summons, parking ticket, citation, or warrant was parked in violation of this section or the ordinance, together with proof that the defendant was at the time the registered owner of the vehicle, as required by Chapter 6 (§ 46.2-600 et seq.), shall constitute prima facie evidence that the registered owner of the vehicle was the person who committed the violation.

D. No violation of this section or an ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be dismissed for a property owner's failure to comply strictly with the requirements for disabled parking signs set forth in § 36-99.11, provided the space is clearly distinguishable as a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 2008, c. 715; 2019, c. 557.

§ 46.2-1243. Enforcement by private security guards in certain localities.

The local governing bodies of Franklin County, Henry County, and the Cities of Danville and Martinsville may by ordinance provide that, in privately owned parking areas open to the public, a summons for violation of an ordinance promulgated under § 46.2-1242 may be issued by (i) private security guards licensed under the provisions of Article 4 (§ 9.1-138 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1 and deputized to issue a summons for the offense by the chief law-enforcement officer of the county or city in which the private parking area is located or (ii) any owner of the private parking area of a nursing home, as defined in § 32.1-123, or agent or employee thereof, provided that such owner has registered in writing on his own behalf or on behalf of his agent or employee with the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality his intention to issue summonses pursuant to this section.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 2002, c. 390.

§ 46.2-1244. Volunteer disabled parking enforcement units.

A. The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance provide that its law-enforcement agency establish and supervise volunteers to enforce violations of § 46.2-1242.

B. Excluding § 46.2-1242, volunteers acting pursuant to this section shall not have the power or duty to enforce any other traffic or criminal laws of the state or any county, city, or town.

C. No volunteer acting pursuant to this section shall carry a firearm or other weapon during the course of his volunteer enforcement duties.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1245. Four hours' free parking in time-restricted or metered spaces; local option.

A. The disabled person, vehicle owner, or volunteer for an institution or organization to which disabled parking license plates, organizational removable windshield placards, permanent windshield placards, or temporary removable windshield placards are issued or any person to whom disabled parking license plates have been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739 shall be allowed to park the vehicle on which such license plates or placards are displayed for up to four hours in metered or unmetered parking zones restricted as to length of parking time permitted and shall be exempted from paying parking meter fees of any county, city, or town.

B. This section shall not apply to any local ordinance which creates zones where stopping, standing, or parking is prohibited, or which creates parking zones for special types of vehicles, nor shall it apply to any local ordinance which prohibits parking during heavy traffic periods, during specified rush hours, or where parking would clearly present a traffic hazard.

C. The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance provide that this section shall not apply within the boundaries or within any designated portion of such county, city, or town. Any county, city, or town adopting an ordinance pursuant to this subsection shall indicate by signs or other reasonable notice that the provisions of this section do not apply in such county, city, or town or designated portion thereof.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 2012, cc. 17, 286.

§ 46.2-1246. Towing of unauthorized vehicles.

A. The owner or duly authorized agent of the owner of a parking space properly designated and clearly marked as reserved for use by persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk may have any vehicle not displaying disabled parking license plates, organizational removable windshield placards, permanent removable windshield placards, temporary removable windshield placards, or DV disabled parking license plates removed from the parking space and stored.

B. The owner of a vehicle which has been removed and stored may regain possession of his vehicle on payment to the person or persons who removed and stored the vehicle all reasonable costs incidental to the removal and storage. The owner of the vehicle, on notice to the owner or duly authorized agent of the owner of the parking space, may also petition the general district court having jurisdiction over the location where the parking occurred for an immediate determination as to whether the removal of the vehicle was lawful. If the court finds that the removal was unlawful, the court shall direct the owner of the parking space to pay the costs incidental to the removal and storage of the vehicle and return the vehicle to its owner.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1247. Counterfeiting disabled parking license plates or placards; penalty.

A. Any person who creates a counterfeit or unauthorized replica of a disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1248. Use of counterfeit disabled parking license plates or placards; penalty.

A. Any person who displays a counterfeit or unauthorized replica of a disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard and parks in a disabled parking space or attempts to use the parking privileges afforded by § 46.2-1245, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1249. Alteration of disabled parking license plates or placards; penalty.

A. Any person who alters a disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1250. Unauthorized use of disabled parking license plates or placards; penalty.

A. Any person who parks in a space reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk or attempts to use the parking privileges afforded by § 46.2-1245 and displays a disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard which has been issued to another person, and is not transporting a person with a disability which limits or impairs his ability to walk, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1251. Fraudulently obtaining a disabled parking license plate or placard; penalty.

A. Any person who makes a false statement of material fact to obtain or assist an individual in obtaining a disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1252. Selling or exchanging a disabled parking license plate or placard; penalty.

A. Any person who sells or exchanges for consideration any valid, altered, or counterfeit disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, organizational removable windshield placard, permanent removable windshield placard, or temporary removable windshield placard shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1253. Providing a disabled parking license plate or placard; penalty.

A. Any person who knowingly provides to another person, without sale or exchange of consideration, any valid, altered, or counterfeit disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate which has been issued under subsection B of § 46.2-739, permanent removable windshield placard, temporary removable windshield placard, or organizational removable windshield placard, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. The local governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance incorporate this provision by reference.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1254. Photo identification.

Any law-enforcement officer or private security guard acting pursuant to § 46.2-1243 may request to examine the driver's license, state identification card, or other form of photo identification of any person using disabled parking privileges afforded by this chapter.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1255. Confiscation of disabled parking placards.

A. Any law-enforcement officer or private security guard acting pursuant to § 46.2-1243 who issues a summons to or arrests an individual for any violation of §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1249 and §§ 46.2-1251 through 46.2-1253 may confiscate the defendant's permanent, temporary, or organizational removable windshield placard and shall notify, by mail or facsimile, the Department of Motor Vehicles of such confiscation and the number of the placard involved.

B. After receiving notice specified in subsection A of this section, the Department may prohibit the issuance of any form of disabled parking license plate or placard to the defendant until the defendant's charge under §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1249 and §§ 46.2-1251 through 46.2-1253 reaches final disposition, including appeals.

C. Upon the defendant's acquittal for any violation of §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1249 and §§ 46.2-1251 through 46.2-1253, the law-enforcement officer or private security guard shall return the confiscated placard to the defendant and the court shall notify the Department of such acquittal by electronic or other means. Upon the defendant's conviction for any violation of §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1249 and §§ 46.2-1251 through 46.2-1253, the law-enforcement officer or private security guard shall send the confiscated placard to the Department and the court shall notify the Department pursuant to § 46.2-1256.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1256. Notice of convictions; revocation of disabled parking placards and license plates.

A. Upon the entry of a conviction under §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1253, or under any ordinance which incorporates any of those sections by reference, the court shall send notice of the conviction and the number of the license plate or placard involved to the Commissioner. Such notice may be transmitted by electronic means.

B. Upon receiving notice pursuant to subsection A of this section, the Commissioner may revoke any disabled parking license plate, DV disabled parking license plate, organizational, permanent, or temporary placard of an individual or organization found guilty under §§ 46.2-1247 through 46.2-1253 if he finds, after a hearing if requested by the person to whom the license plate or placard is issued, that such person (i) is not a person with a disability that limits or impairs his ability to walk and is not otherwise eligible to be issued a license plate or a placard pursuant to §§ 46.2-731, 46.2-739, or § 46.2-1241, or (ii) is authorized to have such license plate or placard but has allowed the abuse or misuse of the privilege granted thereby so that revocation appears appropriate to remedy the abuse or misuse.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1257. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2010, c. 47, cl. 3.

§ 46.2-1258. Reciprocity.

Disabled parking license plates, permanent removable windshield placards, temporary removable windshield placards, and DV disabled parking license plates issued by other states and countries for the purpose of identifying vehicles permitted to use parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities that limit or impair their ability to walk shall be accorded all rights and privileges accorded vehicles displaying such devices issued in Virginia.

1997, cc. 783, 904.

§ 46.2-1259. Placard issuance; additional requirements.

In developing and issuing organizational, permanent, and temporary removable windshield placards pursuant to the requirements of § 46.2-1240, the Commissioner shall, in consultation with representatives of law-enforcement and disability services boards, develop and issue placards that are (i) resistant to tampering, alteration, and counterfeiting, (ii) clear and legible, and (iii) protective of the privacy rights of the placard user to the extent the requirements of § 46.2-1240 allow.

1997, cc. 783, 904; 2010, c. 47.