Effort targets shoppers abusing disability parking

(Associated Press) — The Illinois Secretary of State's office plans a statewide sting operation to catch those who illegally park in disabled spots at shopping malls.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White plans to announce the tenth-annual effort on Tuesday in Chicago ahead of the Black Friday shopping rush the day after Thanksgiving. Secretary of State police will conduct compliance checks at malls across Illinois during the holiday season.

Fines for parking in a spot reserved for those with disabilities without a placard or special license plate is up to $350. The fine for illegally using a placard or disability license plate is $600 and possible six-month driver's license suspension.

There are more than 630,000 disability placards and nearly 66,000 disability licenses in use in Illinois.

The following violations are Class A misdemeanors for a first offense and may result in a fine of up to $2,500, a one year driver's license suspension and possible confiscation and revocation of the disability parking placard or license plates. Violators may be charged with a Class 4 felony for a second offense which may result in a fine up to $25,000 and possible jail time between one and three years.

      * Using a deceased person's disability license plates or parking placard
      * Altering a parking placard.
      * Possessing a fake, fraudulent, lost or stolen placard.
      * Duplicating or manufacturing a placard.
      * Selling or otherwise distributing a fraudulent placard.
      * Obtaining a placard or plate under false pretenses.

For more information click here for the Illinois Secretary of State web site.