The state of Florida allows an individual to obtain a disabled person parking permit for a long-term or short-term mobility impairment. They can also get a disabled person parking permit if they are certified as legally blind by an optometrist. An individual can get a Florida disabled person parking permit if they have a Florida driver’s license or a state identification card. There are two types of disabled person parking permits, permanent and temporary.
Permanent Disabled Person Parking Permits
Persons with a long-term mobility impairments or who are certified as legally blind qualify for a permanent disabled person parking permit. Examples of long-term mobility impairment include the need to permanently use a wheelchair and the inability to walk without the use of a brace, cane or crutch. If an assistive device significantly restores the person’s ability to walk so that they are not severely limited when they use it, the person is not eligible for the disabled parking permit.
A permanent permit is valid for four years. It must be renewed by the birthdate of the permit holder. A person who qualifies for a disabled parking permit may be issued an international wheelchair user symbol license plate instead of a disabled parking permit. There is no fee for this parking permit. A permanent disabled person parking permit is blue.
Temporary Disabled Person Parking Permits
A person with a short-term mobility impairment can get a temporary disabled person parking permit for up to six months. The fee for this type of parking permit is $15. If the person continues to need a temporary permit, the state may issue another. If the permit holder applies for the additional permit within 12 months from the issuance of the first permit, the state does not require payment of an additional fee. A temporary disabled person parking permit is red.
Validation Stickers for Permits
A disabled parking permit must have a yellow validation sticker that shows the month and year of expiration. A validation sticker comes with each disabled parking permit. The permit with the current sticker should be hung from the rear-view mirror, and the permit number must be visible from the front and rear of the vehicle when it is parked. The permit should not be hung from the rear-view mirror when the vehicle is in motion.
Professionals Who Issue Permits
Those who are qualified to issue a disabled person parking permit include licensed physicians, podiatrists, optometrists, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants and similarly licensed physicians from another state. The application of an out-of-state physician must be accompanied by documentation of the physician’s license in the other state and a form signed by the out-of-state physician verifying their knowledge of Florida’s eligibility guidelines.
A visitor from another state with a temporary or permanent disabled parking permit can use their parking placard in Florida. If the visitor is from a foreign country that does not display one of the international symbols of accessibility on its disabled placard, they should get a Florida temporary disabled person parking permit.
When a Permit Is Lost
When a permit holder loses a permit or it is stolen, they should submit an application for disabled person parking permit (application form HSMV 83039) to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), together with a certificate disability issued within the last 12 months and a replacement fee of $1. If the person submits a police report documenting that the permit was stolen, there is no replacement fee. A veteran may provide a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Form Letter 27-333 issued within the last 12 months in lieu of a certificate of disability.
Penalties for Unauthorized Use Under Florida Law
A person who fraudulently obtains or unlawfully displays a disabled parking permit that belongs to another person is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor, according to Florida Statutes Section 320.0848. A law enforcement officer may confiscate the offender’s disabled parking permit. Penalties for a second-degree misdemeanor include up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine and up to six months' probation. If a person has two permits confiscated, the FLHSMV will refer the information to the central abuse hotline of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF may choose to investigate the potential abuse, neglect or exploitation of the permit owner.
FLHSMV will hold a confiscated permit as evidence until the court makes a judicial decision about the violation. If FLHSMV makes a finding of guilt, or the defendant enters a plea of no contest, the charging agency will destroy the confiscated permit. The permit holder may not apply for a new disabled parking permit for four years.
Review of Disabled Parking Permits
At least once every six months, FLHSMV will randomly review disabled parking permit holders to ensure that the criteria for ownership and possession of the permits remain valid. At least once a year, FLHSMV will verify that the owner of each disabled parking permit has not died. If the permit holder has died, FLHSMV will invalidate the disabled parking permit.
Florida Rules for Disabled Parking Permits
Only a person with a disabled person parking permit may park in a parking spot that is blue and marked with a white wheelchair symbol. If a person who does not have a permit parks in such a spot, they can be cited for a noncriminal traffic infraction. The owner of a leased vehicle is not responsible for such a violation if the vehicle is registered in the name of the lessee. The fine for parking in an accessible parking space provided for people with disabilities is $100, or the fine amount designated by county ordinance, plus court costs for illegally parking in a disabled parking space.
The fine will be waived if the person provides proof to the law enforcement agency, parking enforcement specialist or agency that issued the citation that the person committing the violation has a valid parking permit or disabled person license plate. When provided with proof of the disabled person license plate or permit, the law enforcement officer, parking enforcement, specialist or agency is required to sign an affidavit of compliance. The permit holder must then provide the affidavit of compliance and a pay a dismissal fee of up to $7.50 to the clerk of the circuit court. The clerk will then dismiss the citation.
Generally, individuals with disabled person parking permits or license plates are allowed to park for free. There may be a time limit on the number of hours or days that a permit or plate holder can remain in a spot if that spot is also time-limited for members of the general public. An individual may not park in an access aisle even if they have a disabled parking permit or plate. The fine for parking in an access aisle is $250.
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Disabled Person Parking Permits
- 2020 Florida Statutes: Section 316.1955 Enforcement of parking Requirements for Persons Who Have Disabilities
- 2020 Florida Statutes: Section 320.0848 Persons Who Have Disabilities; Issuance of Disabled Parking Permits
- Marion County Tax Collector: Parking Permits for Disabled Persons
- 2020 Florida Statutes: Section 775.082 Penalties, Applicability of Sentencing Structure
- 2020 Florida Statutes: Section 318.18 Amount of Penalties
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.