Contest a Citation
WHAT TO DO FOR A FIRST-LEVEL PROTEST (ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW)
Submit a protest online. You will be able to upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest.
You can also check the status of your protest online.
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.
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.
Note: Customers must "tag" onto Muni vehicles but do not need to "tag" out. This may be different from other transit agencies.
You can also protest your citation with information about when you applied for the program.
SECOND-LEVEL PROTEST (ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING)
If your first protest of a citation was denied and the citation determined to be valid, you are eligible for a second level Administrative Hearing with a civil administrative hearing officer (CVC § 40215). You must request this hearing within 25 calendar days from the date of the letter denying your initial protest. There are no exceptions.
Request a written Administrative Hearing in the Citation Hearings Request Portal. If you have not yet paid the deposit, you will need to pay the deposit first in the online payments portal, then return to the Request Portal to provide reasons you are protesting, upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest.
The California Vehicle Code [CVC 40215(b)] and Public Utilities Code requires a deposit equal to the amount of the fine in order to request a hearing. This deposit is waived in the following circumstances:
- Low-income customers. Follow the link for income limits.
- International visitors presenting a valid passport and travel documents.
- A single citation with a fine in excess of $200, or two or more citations with combined fines over $200.
- All compliance citations (i.e. missing license plate; missing current license registration tag; license plate cover—not allowed).
Remote and In-Person Hearing Options
Hearings can be conducted by email, telephone, by Internet video conference, or in-person at the SFMTA Customer Service Center (11 South Van Ness).
Request an Administrative Hearing
1. Online: written hearings: Citation Hearings Request Portal. If you have not yet paid the deposit, you will need to pay the deposit, which is equal to the fine, in the online payments portal, Then return to the Request Portal to provide reasons you are protesting, upload photos, receipts or any other evidence to support your protest.
2. By Email (to schedule phone or video hearings, or assistance with the written hearing portal): email@example.com (there is no need to call if you send email). If you have not yet paid the deposit, you will need to pay the deposit, which is equal to the fine, in the online payments portal,
3. By-Phone (if you do not have access to email - Email firstname.lastname@example.org is preferred): 415-646-2016. Leave a message for a response within 2 business days. If you have not yet paid the deposit, you will need to pay the deposit, which is equal to the fine, in the online payments portal,
4. In-Person: You will be promptly provided with an unscheduled hearing at the SFMTA Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness, Monday - Friday (except City holidays) between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. You must appear for an in-person hearing within 25 days after the date of the Administrative Review denial of protest letter. Ask for an Administrative Hearing at the intake window. If you have not yet paid the fine as a deposit, you will be asked to do so before a hearing can be conducted. You can request a low-income hearing deposit waiver in person with an EBT card, Medi-Cal card, or Lifeline Card. Do not bring tax forms or paystubs.
The Hearing Process
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. If your second level protest is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision with a De Novo hearing 30 days from the date of the decision letter with the San Francisco Superior Court.
Superior Court Appeals
If your citation was determined to be valid through an Administrative Hearing and you want to continue to protest it, you have the right to have your protest reviewed through a De Novo hearing by the San Francisco 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.