SAN DIEGO — A court has ruled San Diego’s longstanding practice of chalking tires as a method to enforce time limits in parking spaces doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

The ruling, upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, came in a split 2-1 decision announced city attorney Mara W. Elliott in a press release on Oct. 27.

Attorneys in the lawsuit were seeking damages from the city of at least $11 millions in relation to violations in the past four years, arguing the temporary dusting of chalk on a tire constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment, noted the press release.

The court panel, however, said assuming this represents a negligible intrusion on personal liberty and falls within the amendment’s administrative search exception.

“San Diego has chalked tires as an effective, cost-efficient and accurate means of parking enforcement for nearly 100 years,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “The court was correct in determining that chalking a tire does not represent an illegal search and in rejecting the plaintiffs’ unsupported, revisionist account of Fourth Amendment doctrine.”

Judge Daniel A. Bress noted that courts have found it constitutional for people to be stopped at drunk driving checkpoints, while hunting or in airport terminals.

“It would be passing strange if tire chalking, of all things, were somehow a Fourth Amendment red line that cannot be crossed,” Bress wrote.

The judge also said that photographing cars or using license plates readers instead of chalking tired “would ironically invite greater intrusions into personal privacy.”