Tire Chalking By Parking Enforcement Deemed Unconstitutional
Here's the thing, we Bangorians don't have to worry about this issue anymore. You may remember, last summer, the city upgraded its parking enforcement technology with a vehicle similar to a Google street view vehicle, that takes photos of your plate, and integrates it with a GPS location to track how long your car's been parked in the same spot.
But before that, folks from city parking enforcement, had to literally walk around and put chalk marks on your tires to keep track of potential violations. Well, a woman in Michigan began to feel like she was being unfairly targeted, and brought a law suit against the city of Saginaw, and more specifically citing one particular prolific parking enforcement officer, that chalked her tire for every single one of them.
The woman claimed she got over 15 tickets inside of a couple years, and finally had enough. Her lawsuit went all the way to a federal appeals court, where according to a story at NPR.org, they ruled the method to be a violation of her constitutional rights. Her lawyer successfully made this case:
Trespassing upon a privately-owned vehicle, parked on a public street, to place a chalk mark to begin gathering information to ultimately impose a government sanction, is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.
The 4th Amendment is there to protect you against unlawful search and seizure. So basically, for a parking enforcement officer to legally put a chalk mark on your tire, they'd need a warrant. And what judge, in their right mind, is going to issue a warrant to put a chalk mark on someone's tire?!
Again, here in Bangor, this is a thing of the past anyhow. Same with Portland, where they have all sorts of bizarro digital parking that kinda sucks.... but that's a whole other story. There are still plenty of other towns where this was still been happening. But really, it's just nice to see the law on the side of the little guy once in a while. Thus proving that, from time to time, you really can beat City Hall.