City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

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Latest post 09-07-2011 5:36 PM by Taxagent. 5 replies.
  • 09-07-2011 4:03 PM

    • OldSchool
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 09-07-2011
    • TX
    • Posts 1

    City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    I was in Midland, TX over the weekend and just filled up my vehicle and started to the front of the parking lot as my wife came out of the store.  I pulled into a "Disable access aisle" (basically the stripped area next to a handicap spot).  Just to clarify, there was a car in the hadicap spot and I pulled up next to it, not in the actual spot.  Since my wife was walking out the store and had to load the items, I ran into the store to go to the restroom (since we had several hours of driving ahead of us).  I come out of the store and my wife is still unloading the stuff and there is an elderly gentleman writing down something.  My looks at me and says "we are getting a ticket" about that time the gentleman hands me the citation an leaves.  I completely understand if I was blocking someone or if I was occupying a handicap spot, but we were with the vehicle the whole time. 

    • Can the city give a ticket like this in a Walmart parking lot? 
    • Isn't the parking lot private property?
    • Do i have a valid case to defend?
  • 09-07-2011 4:16 PM In reply to

    Re: City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    OldSchool:
  • Can the city give a ticket like this in a Walmart parking lot? 
  • Yes.

    OldSchool:
  • Isn't the parking lot private property?
  • Yes. But so what. It's still a citable offense.

    OldSchool:
  • Do i have a valid case to defend?
  • No.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 09-07-2011 4:33 PM In reply to

    • LG81
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-03-2010
    • Posts 4,338

    Re: City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    OldSchool:
    I completely understand if I was blocking someone or if I was occupying a handicap spot, but we were with the vehicle the whole time. 

    The striped area is part of the "handicap spot", so you were illegally parked.  It does not matter that someone was with or in the vehicle.

    OldSchool:
  • Isn't the parking lot private property?
  • While the parking lot is private property, that is irrelevant to any defense.  Disabled parking spaces are governed by law -- it doesn't matter if you are on government property or private property.

     

  • 09-07-2011 5:08 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,395

    Re: City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    OldSchool:
    Can the city give a ticket like this in a Walmart parking lot?

    Yes.  Many cities use "civilians" to police handicap parking areas of retail stores, mall parking lots, theaters, etc.  I was sitting in a handicapped spot, with my handicapped father, but had neglected to display the mirror hanger.  The elderly "enforcement officer" explained that he could issue a ticket that was enforceable.   He was a bit full of himself, but I agreed 100% with the program.  I was also approached in a mall parking garage while waiting for my wife parked in the striped area next to a handicap spot.  It was explained that the walkway area was considered part of the handicapped area.

    OldSchool:
    Isn't the parking lot private property?

    Yep, but it doesn't matter.

    OldSchool:
    Do i have a valid case to defend?
     

    You can take it up with the judge, but I suspect you'll loose.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 09-07-2011 5:25 PM In reply to

    Re: City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    I don't see a way you are going to win this one.

    You were parked in an area that was not a designated parking spot.

    You ran in to go to the bathroom on top of that.  

    I see this all the time here at the supermarket here.  Everyone thinks they are running in for just a few things, and can park in the firezone here.  You really are not supposed to do that.  It causes a hazard because they are blocking the firelane.

    I know you know the stripped area next to the handicap spot was your indication that's not a place you can leave your car and go in and go to the restroom.  Noone is going to be expecting you to be parked there because it was clearly marked as not a parking spot.

    I'm really sorry, but I just don't see what you can do to defend that.

    Around here, I see police pushing people out of the firezone while they wait for someone to run in for "just a second" all the time.

    Unfortunately, you didn't get a warning, they gave you the ticket.

     

  • 09-07-2011 5:36 PM In reply to

    Re: City Citation in Walmart parking lot?

    OldSchool:

    I completely understand if I was blocking someone or if I was occupying a handicap spot, but we were with the vehicle the whole time. 

    • Can the city give a ticket like this in a Walmart parking lot? 
    • Isn't the parking lot private property?

    Yes, the parking lot is private property. However, in many cases traffic and parking laws do apply on private property. Why folks just assume that traffic laws apply only to public roads is beyond me, because there is nothing in the federal or state constitution that limits the government to penalizing traffic offenses to just those acts done on the public roads.

    Texas Transportation Code (TC) section 681.011 makes an offense to park or stand a vehicle in any area properly designated for handicapped marking that is marked either by (1) a political subdivision of the state or (2) "a person who owns or controls private property used for parking as to which a political subdivision has provided for the application of this section." Put in more plain English, the prohibition against parking in disabled parking areas applies to those parking areas established by the government (i.e. on public roads) and it will also apply to private property to the extent that a city or county has provided for that by ordinance. So, look up your city and county ordinances. If one of them provides for applying TC § 681.011 to private parking lots, the ticket is good. The law bars not just parking, but standing in the disabled spot, so the fact that someone was with the car the entire time is no defense. Moreover, the law also bars standing "a vehicle so that the vehicle blocks an architectural improvement designed to aid persons with disabilities, including an access aisle or curb ramp." Thus, that marked striped access area cannot be blocked.

    OldSchool:
    Do i have a valid case to defend?

    Only if the local ordinances don't have a provision applying TC § 681.011 to private parking spaces.

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