What Are the Rules for Using Handicap Parking Spaces in California?

To legally be parked in a disability-reserved parking space, a placard or a license plate that identifies a driver as disabled must be displayed on the vehicle, states the California Department of Motor Vehicles. A medical certification that someone is disabled is required in most cases.

A driver who has lost an extremity or both hands is eligible for a disabled placard or license plates in California, states the California DMV. Other eligible drivers have limited mobility due to disease or require mobility assistance devices.

Medical professionals are required to certify on the application for a placard or license plates that the driver is physically or medically disabled, according to the California DMV. A driver who files an application in a California DMV office is not required to have medical certification. Drivers who already have placards, or disabled-person or disabled-veteran license plates, also do not need medical certification.

California applicants for disabled license plates are required to provide vehicle registration cards or documents to register their vehicles, pay the registration fee and turn in their existing license plates, notes the California DMV.

California's permanent disabled placards are valid for two years or until June 30 of odd-numbered years, according to the California DMV. A temporary placard is valid for six months or less if the medical professional states that the disability is for a shorter period. Non-residents are eligible for temporary placards for up to 90 days if they are permanently disabled or have disabled-veteran license plates on their vehicle.