Pursuant to the California Vehicle Code and the California State University Systemwide policy, payment plans for multiple citations or individual citations totaling $200 or more are available. For more information, please visit Sonoma Payment Plan Application.
Parking Dispute Regulations
Citation Adjudication (Appeals)
Parking citation appeals are processed pursuant to CVC §40215. Citation appeals shall always be considered in a fair and equitable manner. False information provided by an appellant is grounds for immediate denial of any appeal.
1st Level Appeal – Initial Review
The 1st level appeal is a review to determine if a citation was written pursuant to the University parking policy and/or state law or to determine if outstanding extenuating circumstances warrant the dismissal of a citation in the interest of justice.
Common reasons for dismissal at the first level may include, but are not limited to:
Appeals must be filed by either the driver of the vehicle at the time of the citation or a registered owner. Third party appeals cannot be accepted without approval from the Parking Manager and a written statement from either the driver or the registered owner authorizing the third party to speak on his/her behalf.
Appellants are required to file the appeal within 21 days of the date of issue or within 14 days of the letter date for the Notice of Delinquent Citation. Failure to file the appeal within the designated time waives the appellant(s) right of appeal.
Designation of Staff
1st level parking appeals will be reviewed by a regular (non-student) staff person(s) designated by the Parking Manager. The reviewer may not be any person who has written a citation during the time period where appeals may be received and will generally not be an employee who regularly enforces parking regulations.
Under no circumstance may a staff member who wrote a citation review a 1st level appeal for a citation he/she wrote. In such a case, the appeal shall be referred to the manager for review. Additionally, it will be the general practice of the department that appeals filed by employees of the Police Department or Risk Management and Safety Services shall be reviewed by the parking manager or Director.
Modes of Appeal
1st Level Appeals should be filed online. Parking Management Bureau and Parking Services shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate a disabled customer by transcribing an appeal, if appropriate and requested.
The designated reviewer for 1st Level Appeals shall consider all appeals in a fair, equitable, and consistent manner. Personal or professional relationships should not be considered in reviews. While all appeals will be considered based on the specific scenario and the information provided by the appellant, reviewers should make an effort to be consistent the in application of appeal results for similar scenarios.
Reviewers are required to verify information provided by the appellant, including, possession or prior purchase of a parking permit (including date and time of purchase, if applicable), valid chalking record for vehicles cited for timed zone violations, citation and appeal history, etc.
California state law requires that the appellant be provided a reason for denial on the response form for any citation that is not dismissed on appeal.
2nd Level Appeal – Administrative Review
The Administrative Hearing Officer will be designated by the Division of Administration & Finance. The Hearing Officer will generally be a manager or other unrepresented employee from the University, but may also be a person not associated with the University who is hired on a contractual basis.
The Hearing Officer may appoint 1 faculty/staff member and 1 student to create a 2nd Level Appeal- Administrative Review Committee. The members of the committee are ineligible for appointment if they have accrued five or more citations that are in delinquent status. The Director of Transportation & Parking Services is required to approve review board membership annually. It is the responsibility of the hearing officer to complete the written statement for the appeal review. The additional committee members can offer input and opinions but final decision is inputted by Hearing Officer.
Per CVC 40215(4)(A), the hearing officer shall not be employed, managed, or controlled by a person whose primary duties are parking enforcement or parking citation, processing, collection, or issuance. It will be the practice of SSU to appoint a hearing officer who is not the Associate Vice President (AVP) nor is employed by the AVP or similar level administrator who has oversight of Parking Services to ensure impartiality and fairness in the hearing.
The Hearing Officer must complete required Hearing Examiner training within 1 year of appointment and must complete training with Parking Services before beginning hearings.
The Administrative Hearing must be requested by the same appellant that filed the 1st level appeal within 21 days of the appeal letter date. As required by the California Vehicle Code, the appeal must be accompanied by payment for the balance of the citation or with a statement of economic hardship. The hardship statement must include detailed information explaining why the appellant is unable to provide payment due to documented economic hardship.
The appellant is required to submit a written statement at the time of the request for hearing that will be used in the event the appellant declines or fails to appear at the scheduled hearing. Appellants who fail to appear at the scheduled hearing are not entitled to a new hearing, although the Hearing Officer may provide such an accommodation at his/her discretion.
Appellants are required to file the appeal within 21 days of the letter date of the 1st level appeal response. Failure to file the appeal within the designated time waives the appellant(s) right of appeal.
Modes of Appeal
Administrative Hearings must be requested using the Request for Administrative Hearing form, which is available online through Parking Management Bureau or on Transportation & Parking Services website.
At the time of the hearing request, appellants may request either a written statement review or an in-person hearing. If requested within a reasonable period of time from the request, an appellant who elects a written statement review may change his/her request to a hearing if the officer is able to make a scheduling accommodation.
Hearings must take place on the campus of Sonoma State University. During the hearing, the appellant is permitted to provide any additional evidence that he/she believes supports their claim that the citation should be dismissed.
The officer may make a decision at the time of the hearing or may defer a decision and notify the appellant after the hearing. Regardless of when the decision is rendered, the officer must send the appellant a letter confirming the results of the hearing.
If an appellant does not appear or elects a written statement review, the officer will send a letter outlining his/her findings as soon as a decision has been reached.
If an appeal is denied, payment will be processed. If payment was not submitted with the appeal due to economic hardship, payment is due within 10 days unless the Hearing Officer provides an extension of payment, at his/her discretion. Extensions for payment are not to exceed 90 days without the expressed consent of the Parking Services Director.
If the appeal is approved, the payment will be returned to the appellant or destroyed by the Hearing Officer.
The Hearing Officer shall consider all appeals in a fair and equitable manner. Personal or professional relationships should not be considered in appeals. Officers have a much greater amount of discretion in Administrative Hearings, but must ensure they are applying the regulations fairly and consistently.
Hearing Officers are required to verify information provided by the appellant, including, possession or prior purchase of a parking permit (including date and time of purchase, if applicable), valid chalking record for vehicles cited for timed zone violations, citation and appeal history, etc.
California state law requires that the appellant be provided a reason for denial on the response letter for any citation that is not dismissed on appeal.
3rd Level Appeal – Judicial Review
If an appellant is not satisfied with the findings of the Administrative Hearing, he/she may appeal the citation to the Sonoma County Superior Court, Civil Division. Judicial appeals must be filed within 30 days of the Administrative Hearing result. If the appellant is successful in his/her appeal, the court will issue a ruling outlining the obligation of the University to provide repayment to the appellant.
Sonoma County Superior Court
All procedures, filing requirements and hearing procedures are determined by the Sonoma County Superior Court and are subject to change without notice to or knowledge of Parking Services. Appellants are required to contact the Superior Court for current procedures for filing Judicial Review.
Service/Notice of Appeal
An appellant seeking Judicial Appeal is required to serve the University with notice of the hearing. Such documents should generally not be accepted by Seawolf or Parking Services staff; rather the appellant shall be referred to the University Office of Risk Management to receive service of the notice
Parking Ticket Disputes
The right to dispute a parking ticket is outlined in California Vehicle Code section 40215. The appeal process is designed to address tickets that were issued in error or when the dismissal of a ticket is in the interest of justice. A ticket appeal must be filled out in all cases. We cannot “take tickets back” or void them in the field, even if the ticket was issued in error.
Please review the ten reasons that tickets will not be dismissed. If you are appealing for one of these reasons, carefully review the parking regulations to avoid future tickets.
Parking fines must be paid or a dispute must be filed within 21 days of the issuance of a ticket or 14 days of the mailing of a notice of delinquent parking violation. Failure to pay or dispute a ticket within 21 days will lead to an increase in the fine and your vehicle registration will be held by the DMV.
First Level Dispute
Disputes may be filed online only. The appeal must be submitted within 21 calendar days from the date of the ticket or 14 days after the mailing of a notice of delinquent parking violation to receive consideration.
The hearing officer will consider only the information contained in your dispute. Be thorough and detailed regarding the circumstances of your violation and why you feel the citation should be dismissed. If you have a parking decal or other permit, or if your citation involves the use of a California Disabled Placard, please include the number or a copy of these items. Failure to supply necessary documentation or the exclusion of relevant facts may lead to the denial of your appeal.
Transportation & Parking Services will only consider disputes filed by the driver of the vehicle or the registered owner. Disputes are considered in the order they are received. You will notified by e-mail or mail of the result. It will typically take four to six weeks, however, during peak times (the beginning of a semester, for example), appeals may take longer. Do not pay your fine until you have received the result of your hearing.
Second Level Dispute (Administrative Hearing)
If you are not satisfied with the results of the first level dispute, you may pursue the matter with an Administrative Hearing. This hearing is conducted by a hearing official who is not directly affiliated with Transportation & Parking Services. The Second Level Dispute form can be printed, filled out and mailed to the Parking Management Bureau (address available on form) with a check or money order.
You must file a Request for Administrative Hearing form within 21 days of the mailing of the results of your first level appeal. YOU MUST INCLUDE A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER FOR PAYMENT OF THE CITATION WITH YOUR REQUEST. Requests received without payment will not be considered unless the appellant provides satisfactory proof of inability to pay.
You will receive notice by mail of your in-person hearing date, if requested. If you requested a hearing in writing, you will be notified by mail of the result. If the appeal is denied, your check will be cashed.
Third Level Dispute (Judicial Hearing)
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Administrative Hearing, you may further appeal your case to the Sonoma County Superior Court Civil Division. You must file within 30 days of your Administrative Hearing (per 40230 CVC). The court will charge a fee to file the case. You are responsible for all court fees until the case is heard. If you are successful in your dispute, SSU must refund your court filing fees and the cost of the parking ticket.
If you do not file your claim with the court within the required 30 day period, the outcome of your Administrative Hearing is final. Additionally, any decision by the court is final.