Park illegally during Tax Free Weekend, face a hefty fine

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Travis County constable for precinct 5 is giving a fair warning to shoppers out during Tax Free Weekend who may think about cutting corners when it comes to parking.

Deputies and volunteers will step up patrols and cite drivers who park in disabled parking spots when they shouldn’t Aug. 11 through 13. Anyone who parks in a disabled spot illegally will face a fine of at least $500.

“Tax Free Weekend, like Black Friday, can bring out a certain mentality in people who, unfortunately, think it’s OK to break the law by using a parking placard that belongs to someone else or to park in a disabled parking spot when they clearly do not require one,” said Carlos B. Lopez, Travis County Constable, Precinct 5. “Deputies will be focused on seizing placards that are being illegally used or expired.”

Constable Lopez says last year, his deputies gave citations to around 100 drivers who violated disabled parking laws. Deputies and volunteers often crack down on shoppers who take advantage of disabled parking spots to avoid parking further away and walking during busy shopping days such as Black Friday and the days that fall in Tax Free Weekend.

In addition to people using a placard or car with a disabled tag that isn’t one’s own, or parking in a disabled spot without any kind of a permit, Constable Lopez says he’s seeing more and more placards with altered dates and even fake placards being used in Travis County.

“We’ve had people that are very creative,” he said. “They’ll even do the symbol on a piece of paper, on a blue paper, and just put it up there.”

This weekend, deputies will be stopping shoppers and asking to see their placards up close. They’ll run them to make sure they’re not expired and that the user’s driver’s license number matches that on the placard.

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