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Can police cruise private parking lots to ticket cars with expired tags or fire lane infractions?

Brian Freskos

Wilmington police officer J.D. Smith (left) stands next to his unmarked Ford Mustang as officer R.S. Harris stands in front of his Dodge Charger. The two new vehicles are part of the Wilmington Police Department’s traffic unit. The officers said the unmarked, sporty cars allow them to do police work they were unable to do with marked police vehicles. StarNews file photo.

Q. Are the police allowed to cruise private commercial parking lots such as Mayfaire to ticket cars with expired license/inspection or fire lane infractions? Could pay for a baseball stadium in about two years!

A. Police cannot ticket cars with expired license or inspection until they begin driving on a city- or state-maintained road. In other words, if a car with expired tags or inspection is parked or even driving in a commercial parking lot such as Mayfaire Shopping Center, the police can’t do anything about it under current law, said Sgt. Mike Donelson, who oversees the Wilmington Police Department’s traffic unit.

That said, police can cite cars if they are illegally parked in a handicap space or a fire lane. A handicap violation costs $250; a fire lane violation costs $50, Donelson said.


What kind of unmarked vehicles are used by Wilmington Police?

Can a police officer randomly stop people on the sidewalk and require them to produce identification


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