Court of Appeals Finds Chalking Tires For Parking Tickets Unconstitutional

The United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that chalking tires as a means of parking enforcement is unconstitutional.

As Judge Bernice B. Donald explained in the court’s opinion, parking enforcement officers in some cities use chalk to mark tires of vehicles to track how long they have been parked in the same spot. If they return and find the vehicle has been parked in the same location for too long, they issue a ticket to the owner.

While this is a relatively common occurrence, Alison Taylor sued the city of Saginaw, Michigan and its parking enforcement officer Tabitha Hoskins for violating her Fourth Amendment rights preventing the government from conducting an unreasonable search. The city and Hoskins successfully fought this argument in district court as it determined chalking tires was a search, but it was reasonable because “there is a lesser expectation of privacy in automobiles” and the “search was subject to the community caretaker exception to the warrant requirement.”

Also Read: Texas Police Troll Bad Parking Job With A Lesson In Staying Between The Lines

Taylor appealed the decision and the case moved up to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals agreed that chalking tires was indeed a search, but it also found the search was unreasonable. As Donald explained, Saginaw failed to demonstrate how chalking tires “bears a relation to public safety.”

Donald went on to say that Saginaw “does not demonstrate, in law or logic, that the need to deter drivers from exceeding the time permitted for parking – before they have even done so – is sufficient to justify a warrantless search under the community caretaker rationale.” As a result, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s order to dismiss the case.

According to the Associated Press, the decision impacts Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The publication also said Taylor’s lawyer will now attempt to turn her case into a class-action lawsuit in an effort to recover the approximately $200,000 (£154,640 / €178,212) in parking fines that Saginaw has been collecting illegally every year.

  • Paulbe

    While its always good to see bureaucracy given a good kicking behind the dumpsters, it will make parking an even greater hell in these locations.

    • Nick099

      True, but it is nice to see that a person’s property is still protected from government abuse.

      If parking is to be controlled, they are going to have to find another, legal way.

  • Mr_Fanta_Pants

    Americans. Smh.

    • Nick099

      The 4th Amendment under our Constitution is the envy of the world.
      But don’t stop there, check out the other nine.


      • Mr Mister

        You’re a testament to the American education system.

        There are 27 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

        • Benjamin B.

          I think he meant the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments added to appease the Democratic Republicans who were worried the Constitution gave too much power to DC and the Federalists /Nationalists

        • Nick099

          Oh how snarky!

          The Bill of Rights Mr. Wizard…..the Bill of Rights.

          Read up on it.

  • brn

    Seems as though the shark has been jumped.

  • Paul

    As Jackie Gleason would say ” How sweet it is”

  • Dre Andre

    Very easy fix for the Government. Parking Enforcement Officer can simply mark lines with the chalk on the road close to both sides of a tire where is touches the road. Can’t dispute the marking of the road, since it’s public property. Again, easy fix around a person 4th Amendment Rights.

  • Knotmyrealname

    Ugh…. these people make me sick. Firstly $200,000 in fines per year? Alarm bells ringing already. You’re dealing with a fruit-loop/DB.
    Next, these sorts of actions will only then direct local governments to acquire the fines in other ways. Most likely, it’ll be some kind of car mounted camera that will trawl the streets and hand out the fines electronically and instantly. So, no more chalk marks, but an inbox full of fines.
    Congratulations. You just made the world a whole lot more sh!tty for everyone else.

  • tracee

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  • Nick099


    Yeah…I’d rather be in France where a judge can hold a person without charge for weeks.


    Or maybe in the UK where I can be arrested for calling someone a F##k tard…like yourself.

    Perhaps in the Netherlands where I can be arrested for drawing cartoons that may offend someone.

    None of these things can happen in the US…those pesky Bill of Rights…there is 10 of them.

    No other nation has them all.

    Then there is something called “The Exclusionary Rule.”


    • Julien Lachemoi

      Look, it’s fine for you to be happy with Americans laws but that does not mean anybody is envious.

      Because Americans laws are regurlaly mocked about all the nonsense you see daily in news about them.
      I know answering to someone that insults people and see them as inferior is a waste of time but your nonsense was too big to let it pass.
      Have a nice day.

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