“DON’T TOUCH MY CAR!” Karen Calls the Manager and Wins

August 31, 2021 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

The Karen’s are at it again—this time with a winning outcome in their favor. To get the background on the origin of Karen’s and their unusual characteristics, read our Karen blog post here

In a recent court case, Alison Taylor had to go head-to-head with the city of Saginaw, Michigan, over 14 parking tickets. Although 14 seems like a high number, and one that would be difficult to challenge in the courts, Taylor was able to argue that her 4th amendment rights had been violated. 

What is the 4th Amendment?

The US Constitution defines the Fourth Amendment as the protection of people and their houses, papers, and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Unless there is probable cause supported by affirmation or an issued warrant, the Fourth Amendment shall not be violated. If you would like to read more about the Fourth Amendment, you can do so here.

What was the Violation?

As previously mentioned, 14 parking violations can appear to be too high of an amount to try and argue in court. Especially when Taylor decided to sue an entire city. So where did the city of Saginaw mess up? 

The parking enforcement officer used an old-fashioned way to mark her vehicle. Applying chalk to a tire is a method that was previously used to mark if a car had overstayed its specified time in a parking spot. The more modern way of doing this is by installing parking meters or automated pay machines, both techniques that do not violate someone’s Fourth Amendment rights. 

Taylor’s argument insisted that applying the chalk to her tires was a clear violation of her property, and that since it was completed without a warrant, it should be considered an unreasonable search. The appellate judges sided with Taylor, noting that some of the vehicles the city was searching were actually parked legally. 

 The city’s counter argument claimed that its interests to enforce parking outweigh the minimal intrusion created by a mark of chalk. As of now, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the ruling that favored Saginaw’s side, and the case is now being sent back to the U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington. This case sets precedent for states including Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 

Where Does Florida Stand with Chalk Marking?

Florida falls into the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which means it is not included within the four states that now make chalk marking illegal. Electronic systems are widely used to keep track of parking times and costs. However, it is not uncommon for cities to use the chalk marking method during peak times or for handicap spots. 

If the same situation were to happen in Florida, people do not believe it would result with the same outcome as Taylor’s case. In fact, Stetson University College of Law professor Charles Rose claims that there is no way that the Florida courts would make the same decision. Rose stated he would give it, “less than a 2 percent chance.” Further, he argues that marking a tire is not considered a search, and that it would be the same as issuing a mass DUI stop, which often happens and without probable cause. 

Karen’s on the Rise 

Overall, this case can be seen as a strange one. It also highlights the way that the so-called “Karen’s” can use entitled behavior to push their thoughts or motives. In this case, Taylor took her entire city to court over the 14 parking tickets. However, the “Karen” in this instance was well informed, and because she was aware of her Fourth Amendment rights, she came out on top. 

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Even though chalk marking is still considered legal in the state of Florida, being aware of your rights is still imperative. If you believe that any of your rights have been violated, contact a Tallahassee Defense Attorney as soon as possible to develop a strategy. Don Pumphrey and the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm will fight for your rights. Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation and an attorney from our legal team.

For more information on Parking Meters in Florida, click here.

This article was written by Karissa Key

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