Guide to Rights for People with a Disability in California

These are laws that apply for Californians with a disability. For additional federal laws, see our Guide to Disability Rights in the U.S.

1. Parking

If I have a disabled placard, am I exempt from parking restrictions?

A disabled placard or hang tag exempts you from some parking restrictions, including:1California Vehicle Code Section 22511.5; also see LADOT “Parking Signs” and DMV website on disabled parking

  • Parking district permit requirements
  • time limits (you can completely ignore these)
  • meters (you don’t have to pay)

You are NOT exempt from:

  • parking rules for red, white, and yellow curbs
  • “No stopping” zones
  • “No parking” zones (where cars can’t ever park)
  • Street sweeping rules

Basically, in addition to parking rights for other drivers, you may park for an unlimited time at:

  • blue curb zone
  • green curb zone
  • meters, for free
  • any residential or merchant permit district
  • any other place that has a time restriction (you can ignore the time restriction)

Is a disabled placard from another state effective in California? 

Yes, it is treated the same.2Veh Code Sec 22511.5

What are the rules for disabled placards?

It is illegal to do any of the following:3California Vehicle Code Sections 1825, 4461, 4463, 21458, 22511.5, 22511.6, 22511.7, 22511.55, 22511.59, and Business and Professions Code Sec. 13660.

  • Lend your placard to another person
  • Use someone else’s placard.
  • Provide false information to obtain a placard or license plates.
  • Alter a placard or placard identification card.

2. Fueling service

Can a disabled person get their gas pumped for them?

Gas stations must refuel a disabled person’s vehicle at self-service rates unless the service facility has only one employee on duty.4DMV website on disabled parking

3. Disability benefits

Can I get money for my disability?

See our Guide to Disability Rights in the U.S.

4. Service animals

For questions such as the following, see our Guide to Disability Rights in the U.S.:

What is a service animal?

Where can I bring my service animal?

Does my landlord need to allow my service animal to live with me?

5. Emotional Support Animal

For questions such as the following, see our Guide to Disability Rights in the U.S.:

What is an emotional support animal or therapy pet?

Where can I bring my emotional support animal?

Exercise Your Rights

How do I get a disabled placard? See DMV website.

What if a facility is violating my rights? Find a disability lawyer.

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash


  • Tristan Blaine

    Tristan Blaine is the founder of Law Soup Media, and has been a licensed attorney since 2013.

    About Tristan


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