Santa Monica police officers confiscated 12 handicap parking placards, five residential parking permits and issued 21 citations for parking violations during a sting last week, police announced Tuesday.

The officers focused on the neighborhood surrounding Santa Monica College after receiving tips from residents about college students misusing preferential parking permits.

Officers were able to determine that 12 drivers used handicap placards illegally and issued misdemeanor citations. Under state law those who are caught displaying a placard that does not belong to them are subject to a fine not less than $250 or more than $1,000 and possibly face six months in jail. The court can also impose a civil penalty as high as $1,500 for each conviction.

“Some disabled placards belonged to other family members,” said Santa Monica police Sgt. Jay Trisler.

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