Appeal a Parking Citation/Ticket
Parking citations/tickets are not criminal offenses. They are civil penalties that are the joint liabilities of both the owner and operator of the vehicle. Once a citation is issued, it is up to the driver or owner to respond to the facts presented on the citation. If you disagree with a parking ticket you received and would like to appeal it, you have 21 days from the date the ticket was issued, or 14 days from the mailing of the Delinquent Parking Notice to submit an Initial Review Request. If you fail to request the Administrative Hearing within the prescribed time you will lose the opportunity to further contest the parking ticket.
There are three (3) levels of appeal/review that may be involved in contesting a parking ticket issued in the City of Santa Maria. The three levels are prescribed by the California Vehicle Code with the intention of providing citizens with an opportunity to contest parking tickets that were issued to their vehicles.
Administrative Request must be made within 21 days of receiving the ticket or 14 days from the mailing of the Delinquent Parking Notice to submit an Initial Review Request. You send evidence and an explanation for why you believe you did not violate the cited parking law, we will review, and then determine if there is sufficient proof to determine:
Violation did not occur
Registered owner is not responsible
If there were extenuating circumstances
To submit your Administrative Review online (link is external) answer the following:
Is the information on the citation accurate?
Did the driver comply with the relevant parking regulation?
Were there mitigating circumstances that prevented the driver from complying with the relevant parking regulation and, if so, did the driver take reasonable and timely steps to cure the violation?
If the answers to the second two of these questions are "no," there is little choice but to uphold the citation at this level of appeal/review.
Common reasons that DO NOT support dismissing a citation are:
I was only in violation for a minute;
I did not know that I could not park there;
I think the fine is too high;
I did not see the sign or curb markings;
I cannot afford to pay the fine;
I have never had a ticket before;
I will never do it again.
The owner and driver of the vehicle are both responsible for the parking citation and bear the burden of proof when contesting the citation. Notice of the decision will be mailed to you regardless of the outcome and further instructions given if necessary.
Persons appealing their citations may present anything they wish to support their position that the citation should be dismissed. This may include statements, charts, diagrams, photographs, drawings, maps or receipts just to name a few. It is also important that the citation number, vehicle license plate number and state be included with the request. A clear copy of the citation attached to the appeal is beneficial and may expedite processing. We suggest you retain copies for your records.
To submit your Administrative Review by Mail, send your written request and supporting documentation to:
City of Santa Maria Parking Administration, P.O. Box 10479, Newport Beach, CA 92658-0479
Although no particular forms are necessary, please be as brief and concise as possible. It is important that the citation number, vehicle license plate number and state be included with the request. A clear copy of the citation attached to the appeal is beneficial and may expedite processing. We suggest you retain copies for your records.
No payment is required at this time.
If your appeal is denied at the first stage, you can present your appeal to an Administrative hearing officer. This is the second step of the appeal process. State Law requires that the fees due on the citation be deposited at the time the hearing request is made.
Hearing requests can be made:
Via Mail: Send in your payment slip with note indicating you would like a hearing by mail or in person.
Online: You may request a hearing online at www.CitationProcessingCenter.com. You will need 2 pieces of information to access the citation and appeal the citation.
The City will present a copy of the citation and any additional statements, photos or other documentation provided by the officer in support of the citation.
Should the citation be dismissed, Parking Administration will refund your fee deposit. If the decision of the hearing officer is not to your satisfaction, the decision can be appealed to Superior Court.
What Takes Place At An Administrative Hearing
The Parking Citation Section will provide the Hearing Officer with all relevant information associated with your case. Information provided may contain the following items:
Copy of the ticket you were issued.
All correspondence that the Parking Citation Section has on file that you submitted.
Investigation results that were conducted associated with your ticket.
Computer system notes on phone calls made to the Parking Citation Section relevant to your ticket.
Correspondence and notices that were sent to you by the Parking Citation Section.
The Hearing Officer will review all information, and listen to your explanation as to why you feel the parking ticket should be dismissed. The Hearing Officer will end the hearing once he/she has enough information to render a decision. The results of the hearing will be mailed to you within 15 days from the date of your hearing. The Hearing Officer will render one of the following decisions:
The parking ticket is upheld and/or the late fees are warranted.
The parking ticket is dismissed.
If you are unable to attend the Administrative Hearing on the scheduled date you may reschedule your hearing. Administrative Hearings can only be rescheduled one time. If you are not in attendance on the date of your rescheduled hearing you will lose the opportunity to contest your parking ticket. To reschedule a hearing please call 800-989-2058.
The Administrative hearing officer's decision can be appealed to the Superior Court. When doing so, a $25 Civil Court Filing Fee must be paid. The Court takes a fresh look at the facts surrounding the issuance of the citation, and the materials presented in support of having the citation dismissed. Once a decision has been given by the Court, there is no further appeal. The Court's decision is final. If the citation is upheld, the Court keeps the $25 Civil Court Filing Fee and Parking Administration keeps the citation fees previously deposited to satisfy the citation. However, if the citation is dismissed, Parking Administration refunds the $25 Civil Court Filing Fee and the fees deposited on the citation with proof of payment.
For questions or concerns please call 800-989-2058 (toll free).