Contest a Citation
WHAT TO DO
Submit or check status of a protest online. You will be able to upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest.
You may also submit your protest by mail. Complete the Protest Form and mail to:
SFMTA Customer Service Center
ATTN: Citation Review
11 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103
Once your protest is received, your citation is placed on hold. Reviews may take up to 90 days. No further action is required until you receive a decision letter via U.S. mail.
Note: If the parking citations were issued to the vehicle while it was stolen, you must provide a complete police report with your protest, not just the police report number. You can submit your request for a police report on the SFPD website.
SECOND-LEVEL PROTEST (ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING)
If you are not satisfied with the initial decision, you have a right to an administrative hearing. Within 25 calendar days from the date of the letter denying your initial protest, you can make a hearing request in writing, or online (by emailing email@example.com)or by contacting the Hearing Section at 415-646-2016, for an Administrative Hearing with a civil administrative hearing officer (CVC § 40215).
Hearings are conducted by telephone, by email, by a simple written protest, or by video conference on request. The Hearing Section also provides in-person citation and tow hearings, which ordinarily must now be scheduled in advance. However, where the need for an administrative hearing for a parking citation or a tow is immediate (and cannot reasonably be scheduled in advance or be handled via video or over the phone), a hearing officer will be available by request for an in-person hearing at the Customer Service Center.
Once a hearing is scheduled for you, a hearing officer will evaluate your protest based on the testimony and evidence (if any) that you provide, based upon the laws and parking regulations that were in effect at the time the citation was issued. Following the hearing you will receive a formal decision primarily by email, or by regular mail on request, and usually within two to three weeks. If you had paid for the citation before the hearing, a refund will be issued to you if the citation is dismissed. As noted below, if your second level protest is denied, you are allowed to appeal the decision within 30 days from the date of the decision letter.
The California Vehicle Code and Public Utilities Code requires a deposit equal to the amount of the fine in order to request a hearing. This deposit may be waived in the circumstances listed below. If seeking a waiver, you can only submit the request by mail or in person (online submissions cannot be accepted).
- Low-income customers*
- International visitors presenting a valid passport and travel documents
- A single citation with a fine in excess of $200, or two or mote citations with combined fines over $200
- All compliance citations (i.e. missing license plate; missing current license registration tag; license plate cover—not allowed)
How to Request an Administrative Hearing
1. Online: Citation Hearings Request Portal. You will be able to pay the deposit, upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest. Requests for hearings that also include deposit waivers are only accepted by mail.
2. By-Mail: Requests should Include "Mail Hearing Request" and the citation number at the top of the letter. Pay citation deposit online or include a check or money order with the written request. and mail to SFMTA Administrative Hearings, 11 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA, 94103.
3. By-Phone: Call 415-646-2016 to schedule a hearing.
4. In-Person: Available at the CSC when scheduled in advance by calling 415-646-2016 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Superior Court Appeals
If you were denied at the Administrative Hearing second level, you have the right to have your protest reviewed by the Superior Court within thirty (30) days of the decision date.
1. In-Person: Appear in person at Superior Court, 850 Bryant Street, Room 145, Monday–Friday (excluding holidays), between 8:30 am and 12:30 pm. Bring all documents regarding the citation with you. Upon your appearance, a court date will be assigned. A filing fee of $25 will be charged by the Superior Court. If the judge rules in your favor, the citation fine and court filing fees will be refunded by mail.
2. Mail: Mail a copy of your Administrative Hearing Decision letter and a $25 filing fee for each separate citation number along with any documents or testimony you would like to present. Please make your check payable to the San Francisco Superior Court. If the Traffic Commissioner rules in your favor, the $25 will be refunded.
Transit Citation Dismissal
Your transit citation can be dismissed if you qualify and apply for SFMTA's discount fare programs: Lifeline, Clipper START, of Free Muni Program. Please make note of your citation number when applying for the Lifeline and Free Muni program. For Clipper START you must protest your citation and include your Clipper card number.
You can also protest your citation with information about when you applied for the program.