May It Please the Court® A Weblog of Legal News & Observations
Quote of the Day - The early bird gets a parking spot and the next guy gets a ticket ... that's how it works for us unfortunately. - Gary Cunningham

Private Parking Lot Owners Cannot Issue Citations With Fines

Our somewhat new attorney general, Kamala Harris, has give us this Christmas present:  a private parking lot owner can't issue a ticket with a monetary fine.  Even if the private parking lot owner towed your car (something they are allowed to do if the appropriate signs are posted), that owner cannot require you to pay a fine in order to get your car out of hock with the towing company.  If you would like to read the opinion, it should be uploaded here on the Attorney General's website (at the time of this article, Opinion 07-804, filed December 22, 2011, hadn't been uploaded).

Apparently, issuing tickets on private property has become the latest revenue-generating idea.  If police can issue tickets to raise revenue for towns and cities, then .... whoops!  DId I just use my outside voice?  That, along with my other favorite:  "Why aren't the cops out catching real criminals?"  That one always seems to me to miss the point of the ticket. 

But back to our regularly scheduled program:  the parking lot ticket.  If you think about it, the ruling makes a lot of sense.  The California Legislature has already authorized private parking lot owners to tow cars, so if they have that drastic remedy, there is no reason to also "pile on" with more fines. 

And for a bonus round, the Attorney General has also given us this gem:  a parking lot owner can't "boot" a car in the parking lot becuase it constitutes vehicle tampering.  Like the opinion before this one, it is only available on a private search engine, but the citation is:  87 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 114.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 23, 2011


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