Ask the Motor Cop | Ok to be a scofflaw on private property? 


Question: Can you get a ticket on private property? 

— Jewel  

Answer: Hi Jewel, great question and thank you. However, that leaves some questions on my part for you. Are you referring to private property open to the public, and/or private property itself? Let’s see if I can help you. 

Police authority is limited to public roads and highways that are funded by taxpayer money. So, a private parking lot or a driveway into a shopping mall is not within typical police jurisdiction.  

To my knowledge, there are some exceptions for criminal offenses, like: 

• Driving under the influence. 

• Reckless driving. 

• Speed contest.  

• Handicap parking violations. 

• Improper parking. 

• No evidence of current registration. 

• Hit and run. 

• No valid driver’s license.  

Ironically, last week’s article gave a perfect example of a pedestrian receiving a citation for a vehicle code violation on private property. Note: The vehicle code defines a pedestrian as “a person who is afoot.”  

California vehicle code 23111: “No pedestrian shall throw or discharge from or upon any road or highway or adjoining area, public or private, any cigarette.” This section of the vehicle code goes further into detail.  

Again, the airport police cite for this frequently. 

Jewel, I hope this helps you understand the answer to your question. It can be tricky, and I thank you for writing in. 

Drive carefully. 

Jerry Schlund, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department motor officer with over 24 years riding. He was a certified radar instructor — both laser and doppler — and was instrumental in California vehicle code amendments. He was a traffic school instructor for 25 years. Have a question for the motor cop? Send your questions to [email protected]      

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