New disabled parking law effective July 1

New disabled parking law effective July 1 People without physical disabilities caught parking in areas reserved for the physically disabled will face at least a $100 fine under a new statute that took effect July 1.

Under South Dakota law, it's a Class 2 misdemeanor for a driver to park his vehicle in a parking space reserved for a disabled person if the driver doesn't have a disabled license plate or certificate. The maximum penalty for a Class 2 misdemeanor is 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. Prior to the passage of the new law, there was no minimum fine a court could assess for the offense; after July 1 the fine for such violations must be at least $100.

In order for an individual to be charged with unauthorized parking in a disabled parking space, the space must be marked in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines as of Jan. 1. The law also specifies that signage at each designated disabled parking space state the penalties for illegal use of the space. That provision applies only to new signs or a sign that replaces an existing sign after July 1.

For more information on disabled parking license plates or certificates and their use, contact the South Dakota Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles at (605) 773-3541.

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