Chalking Tires for Parking Tickets Unconstitutional

Court Finds Chalking Tires for Parking Tickets is Unconstitutional

On April 22nd, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the physical marking of tires with chalk to enforce parking rules is unconstitutional. It was argued that the chalk left on a vehicle’s tire — done to note how long it has been parked in a certain location — amounted to searching without a warrant. This is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In the case of a Michigan woman who was issued 15 parking tickets in three years, U.S. Circuit Judge Bernice Bouie Donald wrote, “The city commences its search on cars that are parked legally, without probable cause or even so much as individualized suspicion of wrongdoing — the touchstone of reasonable standard.”

It was further determined by the court that the chalking of cars to raise revenue does not count as a public safety concern that may allow a search without a warrant. Currently, the court’s decision affects Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Appeals Court Asked to Reconsider Case

On Monday, May 6th, the city of Saginaw, Michigan asked a federal appeals court to reconsider this ruling. The city argued the case was of “exceptional importance”, because “cities across the United States have ceased parking enforcement.”

While the ruling may have deterred parking enforcement in some communities and cities, others are now considering more modern ways to deal with overtime parking, such as taking photos.

For more information on questionable parking tickets in Des Moines, contact attorney James Nelsen.