In North Carolina, drivers who qualify can apply for a disabled license plate or windshield placard. Depending on the nature of the applicant's disability, the parking privileges can be permanent or just temporary. Here are the eligibility requirements and the basics of how the application process works and the penalties for misuse of a disabled parking permit.
North Carolina law specifies what qualifies as a disability or handicap for purposes of handicap parking privileges. A person qualifies for these parking privileges if he or she:
Generally, the disabled person must obtain a certification from a physician, an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, or the Division of Services for the Blind that the applicant is handicapped. A determination by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs that the applicant is handicapped will also suffice. For an initial application for a temporary removable windshield placard, the certification can be made by a licensed certified nurse-midwife.
A disabled plate or placard entitles the disabled person or someone transporting the disabled person to park:
Handicapped license plates and placards are available to permanently disabled persons and the parents or guardians of a permanently disabled child. Handicapped placards are also available for persons with temporary disabilities.
Of course, a driver who is not disabled but uses a handicapped plate or placard to transport someone who is disabled can use the parking privileges only when transporting that person.
Out-of-state handicapped placards and plates entitle the person to the same privileges as an in-state placard or plate.
Disabled licensed plates must be renewed annually and permanent disability placards must be renewed every five years. Temporary disability placards are issued for a maximum of six months.
Misuse or unauthorized use of a disabled placard can lead to placard revocation and criminal prosecution. Selling a placard is a class 2 misdemeanor and generally carries up to $1,000 in fines and a maximum of 30 days in jail.
To learn more about or obtain an application for a disability parking permit or placard, go to the Department of Transportation website.