Contest a Citation
Late penalties on existing citations will not be waived, this only applies to application of additional penalties. Citations already sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles for registration hold will remain unchanged.
Parking or Transit Violation Citations must be protested within 21 days from the date the ticket is issued or from the date of the first courtesy notice. Protests will not be considered after that period of time has expired. Do not pay your citation if you wish to protest it.
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.
Late penalties will not be assessed unless your protest is denied and you fail to pay in a timely manner. No further action is required until you receive a decision letter via U.S. mail. Please ensure that your vehicle registration is updated to your current mailing address to ensure that you receive all correspondence associated with this citation.
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.
REQUEST TO SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION
If you received a letter from SFMTA requesting more information be submitted for your protest, please submit that information here. These requests are generally sent to individuals who cite a hospital stay or police involvement in their protest.
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 decision letter, you can appear in person, make a request in writing, or online, for an Administrative Hearing with a civil Administrative Hearing Officer (CVC § 40215).
A hearing officer will evaluate your protest based on the testimony and evidence (if any) you provide, along with the laws, rules, and regulations that are in effect for all parties at the time the citation was issued. You will receive a formal decision by mail. A refund will be issued if the citation is dismissed. California Vehicle Code section 40215(5) provides that a properly filled-out citation creates a presumption that the infraction occurred. This presumption can be overcome by the submission of sufficient and credible evidence. A mere assertion that the violation did not occur is insufficient to dismiss a ticket.
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 citations with combined fines over $200
- All compliance citations
*When requesting by mail, low income customers must complete the income verification form and provide one of the approved proofs of income. If requesting a hearing in person, be prepared to provide one of the listed proofs of income verification.
How to Request an Administrative Hearing
You can get an administrative hearing using one of the following:
1. Online: Submit a hearing request through the Citation Hearings request portal. You will be able to pay the deposit, upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest.
Note: You cannot submit a hearing request online if you wish to have the deposit fee waived for one of the four reasons listed above.
2. In-Person Hearings are conducted at 11 South Van Ness Avenue, Monday–Friday, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Hearings are conducted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Wait times are minimal. If your citation is dismissed, a refund for the deposit will be mailed within approximately three weeks. You must pay the clerk with cash or credit card only prior to the hearing.
3. Mail Hearings: Write a letter explaining why you think the citation is not valid. Include the words "Mail Hearing Request" and the citation number at the top of the letter. Mail the letter, with payment if you have not paid online to: SFMTA Administrative Hearings, 11 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA, 94103.
Superior Court Appeals
If you were denied at the Administrative Hearing level, you have thirty (30) days from the date of the hearing decision to:
1. In-Person: Appear in person at Superior Court, 850 Bryant Street, Room 145, Monday–Friday (excluding holidays), between 8:30 am and 2:00 pm, to request a de novo hearing. 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 you check payable to the San Francisco Superior Court. If the Traffic Commissioner rules in your favor, the $25 will be refunded.