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Are parking tickets forgiven if you have a current handicapped sticker or plate?

Kellen Moore

Short answer: It depends.

N.C. law states that any vehicle driven by or transporting a handicapped person can park “for unlimited periods in parking zones restricted as to length of time parking is permitted.” They can’t park in locations or times in which parking is prohibited for everyone, and the automobile must have a handicapped license plate or hanging tag issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles to qualify.

A handicapped person, according to the state’s definition, can have any number of physical conditions, including the inability to walk without crutches, cane or wheelchair, breathing problems, arthritis or vision problems.

The statute does not directly address the cost that handicapped drivers should pay when parking for those unlimited lengths of time. So in practice, local authorities have taken different stances.

Wilmington does not charge vehicles with handicapped plates or tags for unlimited parking time at metered spaces, said Betty Gurganus, parking manager with the City of Wilmington. Simply put, they shouldn’t be getting tickets if parked in those spaces. But those who park in decks or lots are expected to pay like anyone else.

Tim Owens, town manager of Carolina Beach, said the town has “a multitude” of handicapped parking spaces that can be used free of charge for unlimited time periods. So it’s unlikely that a ticket would be forgiven for a handicapped driver parked in any other space, he said.

But since parking appeals are on a case-by-case basis, handicapped drivers might be able to get the ticket waived in certain circumstances, such as if all handicapped spaces were full, Owens said.

Wrightsville Beach has similar rules. Parking at on-street handicapped spots is free for those with tags, but that doesn’t apply to off-street parking such as decks or lots, said an official with Lanier Parking Solutions, an Atlanta business that oversees parking in Wrightsville Beach.

Any drivers who think they’ve gotten a ticket in error can appeal.

For information about ticket appeals in Wilmington, visit http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/parkingfaq/tabid/180/default.aspx or call 910-762-5678.

For information about ticket appeals in Carolina Beach, visit http://carolinabeach.org/site_new/pages/parking.html or call 910-458-4614.

For information about ticket appeals in Wrightsville Beach, visit www.townofwrightsvillebeach.com/Parking/ParkingQA/tabid/77/Default.aspx or call 910-256-5453.

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3 Responses to “ Are parking tickets forgiven if you have a current handicapped sticker or plate?”

  1. On July 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm kathyfairfax wrote:

    Why does Wilmington airport charge for handicap parking when in South Carolina they can park for free?

  2. On October 13, 2014 at 3:45 am richard taylor wrote:

    What hours do you have to pay to park at wrights ville beach. Do handicap drivers have to pay to park.

  3. On April 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm bob kermon wrote:

    In the past Wilmington, Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach had clear handicap parking rules/guidelines/ordinances posted. This year Wilmington and Carolina Beach still have clear handicap parking information on their websites. However I can not find handicap parking rules or guide lines posted on the Wrightsville Beach website. Do you have the handicap parking ordinances for Wrightsville Beach

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