Protest a Tow - Tow Hearings

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How To Contest a Vehicle Tow Ordered by SFMTA Enforcement 

You may dispute the validity of the tow by scheduling a hearing within 30 days of the date of the tow. The date selected for a hearing does not need to be within 30 days.  

Hearing Options - Written and Remote 

The citation that is the basis for the tow will be heard as part of the validity of the tow. Do not protest the citation through Administrative Review.

Schedule a Phone or Video Hearing


Submit your Tow Protest in Writing 

Retrieve Your Vehicle Immediately to Avoid Storage Fees

Storage fees accrue daily, and the owner of the vehicle is responsible for all towing and storage fees. 

Grounds For Dismissal of Tow Fees

Tow and storage fees will be dismissed at your hearing if it is found that the tow is invalid.

A Financial Hardship Defense Is Not Grounds for Dismissal

Financial hardships or unfortunate personal circumstances are understandable but will not exempt the vehicle owner from paying the tow, storage, and administrative fees, Hearing officers will only determine whether the tow is legal based upon the underlying circumstances.

Tow and storage fees are reduced for those who are:

  • Unhoused at the time the vehicle was towed
  • Recipients of public benefits such as CalFresh, CalWorks, or Medi-Cal
  • 1st time tow

Information will be provided at the impound yard about how to qualify for an immediate discount.

48 Hour Hearing Exceptions - Unable to Pay to Retrieve

If your vehicle remains impounded and you are unable to manage or pay for its release, you are entitled to a hearing within 2 business days of the tow date and time.  Contact our Tow Hearing Coordinator at 415.646.2020 to schedule a phone, video or in person hearing with a hearing officer.  Daily storage fees will continue to be added until you retrieve your vehicle. 

Limited In-Person Tow Hearings

We have resumed in-person hearings for tows and boots for:

  • Visitors
  • Those who cannot schedule tow or boot hearings by video, phone or mail. 

Hearing Location 

SFMTA Customer Service Center
11 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.

Driveway Tows (CVC 22500E)

A driveway begins at the top of the sloped edges, or the “curb cut.” Some driveways may have red tips—red curb coloring on the curb cuts and space adjacent to it. Parking in the red tip or within the cut curbs may result in your vehicle being cited and/or towed. A driveway is legally blocked if any portion of the vehicle is encroaching beyond the curb cut regardless of how much room there is for a vehicle to enter and exit a driveway. 

To Contest a Tow Ordered by SFPD

Contact the SFPD's STOP unit at: 415.678.3625 or visit SFPD for more information.

Experiencing Homelessness?

Visit Low Income Tow for information on how to receive certain limited waivers on tow fees and storage.


Visit Low Income Tow for information on how to receive certain limited waivers on tow fees and storage.

First Tow?

Visit First Tow for information on how to receive a reduction in the administrative fee.

Recording of Hearings by Hearing Officer

Recordings of hearings, either by phone or by video, may be used by the hearing officer to accurately recall the hearing testimony and other evidence.  These recordings are for temporary use only and are not retained. Claimants will be notified if recording is taking place.

Consent Required from Hearing Officer for Claimant Recording of Hearings

SFMTA parking citation and tow hearings are not public hearings.  If you would like to record your own administrative hearing, please advise the officer or staff person that you intend to record the phone hearing, video or in person hearing session, explain the reason for the recording, and obtain the consent of the hearing officer on the recording at the time of the hearing.