Most In Connecticut Say Chalking Tires Is Okay
Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the news about "chalking." Some people claim it should be against the law and that it's unconstitutional, so we asked people in Connecticut what they thought.
I'm sure you've seen police or traffic enforcement officers use chalk to leave a little mark on a car's tire in order to help them track how long the vehicle stays in a given parking spot. Well, this practice may soon be banned forever thanks to a Michigan woman who took her case all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
According to foxnews.com, Alison Taylor of Saginaw, Michigan had been loaded down with dozens of $15 parking tickets, most of which were issued after her car tire was chalked. Fed up, she decided to fight it based on the grounds of trespassing, that it was an illegal search, and a violation of her constitutional rights.
The case was dismissed in favor of the city by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, but was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, where it was reversed because the municipality was trying to raise revenue, not to protect the public against a safety risk.
I also found out, according to lohud.com, that the court cited a 2012 Supreme Court decision that declared that police use of a GPS device on a drug dealer's car would require a warrant. Both acts, though one is much lower tech, are intended to track a vehicle and trespasses upon a constitutionally protected area to obtain information.
In other words, if you chalk a car's tire when the car is parked legally, it's the same as initiating a search on someone who hasn't committed a crime.
So based on the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling, is this the end of the "chalking' process once and for all? Well not necessarily -- it's still kind of a grey area.
Since the ruling went down based on the case in Michigan and since it was decided in a federal court, the case reverts back to the local court. It may very well be reconsidered in the states under that courts jurisdiction, which are Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. So even though it's ruled unconstitutional, you would have to appeal the ticket, and that could take a substantial amount of time and money before your case is heard.
Here's some more feedback we got from our Facebook post asking the same question, if "chalking" tires is unconstitutional:
Cathy Spak Amodeo: Well- if you parked past the allotted time you pay the fee- there are other ways to record who was parked where at what time but they are more labor intensive and as a result, costly. I have no problem with chalking.
Fallon Castaneda: I recently read an article stating that it was found to be unconstitutional. It violates the fourth amendment If that’s the case, then no, it’s should not be allowed anywhere.
Lynn Negron: Amendment IV has nothing to do with chalking!
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Robert Reynolds: Yes it should be
Some local towns are now investigating more high tech alternatives to tire-chalking, like outfitting parking-enforcement vehicles with a system that combines a plate reader, camera and GPS.