Since You Asked: disabled parking

I have noticed that on the disabled parking signs there are a variety of fines noted. Depending on which sign you see, the fine could be anywhere from $300 to $450 or $470. Otherwise the signs are identical. Why do you suppose there is such a variation?

— Terry W., no city listed

First let us state that we think anyone selfish enough to plant his fat tires in a space reserved for a disabled citizen deserves a more significant punishment than a monetary fine. Perhaps the bluebird of parking justice will deposit a hefty splotch on his windshield — or better yet, on him as he exits his illegally parked vehicle.

But back to your question, Terry.

There are a few reasons why fine amounts might vary from city to city, says David House, spokesman for Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services.

First, there's a variation on whether this is the driver's first or second offense, House says. Anyone illegally parked in a disabled parking spot can expect to pay a hefty fine. But that fine may more than double if they do it more than once, he adds.

The Class A traffic violation carries a minimum fine of $190 and a maximum fine of $720 for the first offense. There also is a minimum fine of $450 for each subsequent offense, House says.

There also could be additional city fines overlaying the state requirements, House says. Each municipality can add to the minimum fine amount in order to cover the costs of patrolling, ticketing, court proceedings, etc., he says.

"There are a matrix of fines which could vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction," House says.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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