In Florida, there are state and federal requirements, and if you get a ticket for an improperly marked spot, you can fight it.

Case 50-2016-CO-007453-AXXX-SB began one fine morning on Jog Road near Boynton Beach, just south of Woolbright Road.

The crime: Violating Palm Beach County ordinance 92-29; AKA, illegally parking in a handicapped space.

The punishment: A $336 ticket. Yes, you heard me, $336.

Now, I would never presume to suggest that my experiences as a defense counsel surpass that of Perry Mason. In the interest of transparency, however, Mr. Mason lost three cases: "The Case of the Terrified Typist"; "The Case of the Witless Witness"; and "The Case of the Deadly Verdict." I, however, am batting a thousand in traffic court: Three for three. My latest victory? “The Case of the Spurious Space.”

For the record, I would never knowingly park in a handicapped space. And it burns me up as much as it probably does you when I see a car with a handicapped plate or permit dangling from their rear-view mirror and then the driver hops out healthy and mobile and bounces into the store, suggesting someone in his family may be handicapped, but it’s not him.

Enough of my whining. The main photo that accompanies this gripping legal thriller says it all.

Florida handicapped parking statutes follow guidelines developed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. They require a handicapped parking sign “at least 60 inches above the surface” which must be “viewable from the drivers’ seat of the vehicle and located right in view of parking spaces.” May I beg the court to observe the lack of a sign?

Statutes also call for each handicapped space to be marked with the "international symbol of accessibility" the “well-known picture of a person using a wheelchair on top of a blue background.” Each space, the law continues, must “be repainted when necessary, to be clearly distinguishable.” May I further point out to the court the barely visible, horribly faded “international symbol of accessibility” and the complete lack of a blue background.

I made these arguments to Presiding Judge Steve Miller in the “Circuit/County Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County Florida.” Judge Miller operates out of the county court’s south branch at 300 W. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach. Clearly impressed by this senior citizen’s vast legal acumen, Judge Miller dismissed the charges.

I toyed briefly with telling the judge that most of the handicapped spaces in the court’s own garage also didn’t meet state and federal standards.

Before I did, however, I flashed back to my senior year in high school and my Spanish teacher, Senor Herñandez, tired once more of the wise ass in the front row, offered this warning: “Don’t push your luck Señor Battin.”

I thanked the judge, gathered my papers and photos and backed out of the courtroom.

So, the question we’re left with is who is in charge of making sure handicapped spaces are constructed to code. Overall, large companies such as Walgreens and Publix do a good job with their handicapped parking. Teri Barbera, public information officer for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, explained the sheriff’s role is strictly enforcement, citing those who park illegally in handicap spaces.

Barbara Kelleher, District 4 media contact for the Florida Department of Transportation, helpfully suggested I try county code enforcement.

Bingo.

Robert Santos-Alborná, code director for Palm Beach County, said it was his department’s responsibility to see that handicapped spaces are marked correctly.

“We receive about 10,000 complaints a year, (For all code enforcement issues, not just handicapped parking.) about 1,000 a month,” Santos-Alborná said.

“We respond to each complaint within three days.”

“We do have a couple of handicapped parking cases now,” he said.

But, for the most part, they’re not that common. “We have HOAs (homeowner associations) changing their parking configuration without a permit.” The same for small commercial properties that try to reconfigure parking areas without a permit.

To file a complaint or obtain answers to questions regarding code enforcement call or email your county’s code enforcement office.

Richard Battin retired in 2014 after almost a half century as a reporter and editor for newspapers in San Jose, San Diego, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Chicago. He lives with his wife Adrienne in Boynton Beach.