ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Stores will be filled with holiday shoppers later this season, and that means more packed parking lots. Handicap spots are many times the only open stalls.

But are Illinois police allowed to enforce handicap parking laws on private property?

Handicap spots have specific signs or markings. They are usually closest to the door to make it easier for people with disabilities to get inside. These spaces are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“There are times where, if I can’t find a handicap spot, we park a little furthers away, you know,” Emmanuel Bahena said. “I haven’t been able to walk in over a year.”

Bahena said that he got hurt at work and it left him disabled, forcing him to be bound to a scooter or wheelchair. He said that it is frustrating because he needs the parking spot, and others are just taking for granted their ability to walk.

“To be honest with you, it’s rough,” Bahena said. “There has been times where I’ve gone to the store and I’ve noticed vehicles parked in the handicap not having the plaque.”

“It’s discourteous and against the law to use those handicap spots if you don’t have that parking privilege, so it makes it that much more difficult for somebody who actually deserves or needs that parking spot,” said Sergeant Bryon Muraski of the Cherry Valley Police Department.

Muraski said that those using the spots need a decal or special license plates. Parking without one or using someone else’s decal can end in a ticket. Cherry Vally Police warn that violating these parking laws starts with a $250 fine and can go all the way up to having one’s driver’s license suspended.

“During the busy holiday season, parking lots are full,” Muraski said. “There is a lot of traffic, a lot of people around. Just try to use some courtesy and patience so we can all can get along and get through the holiday season together.”

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, police have “clear authority to enforce the provisions of the Parking Program for Persons with Disabilities on private property, such as at a mall, grocery, or retail store.”

The Illinois Secretary of State Police has its own force with which it patrols for handicap parking violators.