Parking Citations

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Appealing a Parking Citation Pay for a Parking Citation  Failure to Pay Sold Vehicles Correctable Violations 

Parking Citations

Parking violation notices (parking citations) for minor parking infractions are issued within the City of San Marcos by San Marcos Parking Enforcement Officers, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Senior Volunteers on behalf of the City of San Marcos, as well as by the City’s , Code Compliance Officers, and Park Rangers. Minor parking violations are not considered criminal infractions; they are treated as civil offenses. Accordingly, the criminal court system does not hear parking matters. The City of San Marcos processes parking citations issued by the City.

Appealing a parking citation

There are three levels of review/appeal for a parking citation. Each step in the process must be taken in order and initiated within strict timeframes. No step can be skipped in favor of jumping to another step.
  1. Step One – Administrative Review
    To contest a parking citation, write a letter or complete the Request for Administrative Review form and return it with a copy of the citation and any other applicable proof to: San Marcos Parking Administration, 1 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069-2918. The citation is reviewed by City of San Marcos Parking Administration staff for validity and to screen out the citation where the motorist is clearly not liable for the ticket. For violations that can be corrected see Correctable Violations below.

    The appeal must be submitted within 21 calendar days of the issue date of your citation. There is no fee to contest your citation at this level. You will be notified of the results of the initial review in writing within 30 calendar days. Make sure you include a return address. The results cannot be mailed without a complete and correct address (include suite number, apartment, zip code, etc). If the citation is dismissed, you may consider the matter resolved. If the citation is upheld, you may either pay the fine or move on to the next step by requesting an administrative hearing.

  2. Step Two – Administrative Hearing
    The administrative hearing is a neutral hearing before a professional mediator. You can provide a written declaration to the hearing officer, or you may attend the hearing in person. In either case, you must first pay the penalty before the hearing is scheduled and within 21 calendar days of receiving the results of the administrative review (Step One). If you are found not liable for the citation, the penalty will be refunded to you.

    To request a hearing, fill out the Request for Administrative Hearing form and mail it with a check or money order to: City of San Marcos, Attention: Parking Administration, 1 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069. Include any written material you wish to present. This material must be received by our office within 21 calendar days after you have received the results of the administrative review (Step One). An administrative hearing will be held within 90 calendar days following the receipt of a request for an administrative hearing. You will be notified by mail of the date of the hearing. If the citation is upheld at the administrative hearing, you may move on to the third and final step, Superior Court.

  3. Step Three – Superior Court Traffic Division
    If you are still not satisfied with the ruling at the administrative hearing, you may appeal the decision to the Superior Court. You, as the appellant, are responsible for paying the $25.00 filing fee to the Superior Court which will be returned to you, along with the penalty, should you be found not liable. Click here for more information on how to file an appeal with the Superior Court.

Pay for a parking citation 

Citation payment information is also available on the back of every printed parking citation.

  • *Pay On-line: You will need the Parking Citation Number.
    *Note: if your citation number starts with the letters “SM” you will have to pay by mail or in person.

  • Pay by Mail
    Mail to the address on the back of the citation or to
    San Marcos Parking Administration
    1 Civic Center Drive, Ste. 100
    San Marcos, CA 92069-2918

    Mail check or money order only, payable to City of San Marcos. DO NOT SEND CASH. Include your citation with your payment or write the license plate number on your check or money order. There will be a $25 service charge for retuned checks.

  • Pay in Person
    City Hall, 1st Floor Cashier Window
    1 Civic Center Drive
    San Marcos, CA 92069
    7:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday (closed alternate Fridays)

    Accepted forms of payment: cash, check, money order, Visa, Mastercard, Discover 

    Avoid late charges
    Do not wait until the due date to mail your payment. Payments are applied using the official postmark date provided by the Post Office. There is no grace period and there are no exceptions.

Failure to pay

If a parking citation is not paid within the specified time frame, the citation will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles preventing you from registering the vehicle until all outstanding citations are paid. NOTE: If your citation is delinquent, you may owe additional penalties and interest that are not included in the amount due. For more information, or to find out if you have an outstanding parking citation, call Parking Administration at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3143. You will need to provide the parking citation number (begins with the letters SM) or the license plate number of the vehicle.

Sold Vehicles
If your vehicle was sold prior to when the citation was issued, you should:

  1. Write a letter or fill out the Request for Administrative Review
  2. Provide the name and address of the person whom the vehicle was sold to
  3. Provide a copy of the bill of sale and/or the DMV notice of transfer and release of liability
  4. Provide a copy of the parking citation

Correctable Violations

If you were issued a citation for one of the following violations, you must provide valid proof of correction with the timeframe specified on the citation or notice.
  • 5200A CVC missing or improperly displayed license plates
  • 5204A CVC missing, expired or improperly displayed registration tabs

Please take your citation and the vehicle to one of the agencies below to have it validated (signed-off) by an officer of the agency:

There is a correction fee due of $10.00 along with the signed-off citation. Mail the correction fee and the signed-off citation to the address on the back of the citation or to:

San Marcos Parking Administration, Ste. 100
1 Civic Center Drive
San Marcos, CA 92069-2918.

Do not send cash. Make check or money order payable to San Marcos Parking Administration. NOTE: Any fees paid at the Department of Motor Vehicles, California Highway Patrol, or Police Station for getting the citation signed off does not include the City of San Marcos $10.00 correction fee.

  • 22507.8 CVC failure to display disabled persons parking placard

The requirements for disabled parking zones as specified in the Vehicle Code are very stringent. The placard must be displayed on the rearview mirror. There are no exceptions for parking in a disabled space without a valid placard. Parking in crosshatched areas adjacent to disabled zones is strictly prohibited even if you have a disabled persons parking placard or disabled person license plates.

If you were issued a citation for failure to display your disabled persons parking placard you must show proof that you had been issued a valid placard at the time the citation was written.

List of documents required to clear a parking citation for failure to display your disabled persons parking placard.

 Housing & Neighborhood Services  Division Director
 1 Civic Center Drive
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 744-1050, ext. 3143
Karl Schwarm 
(760) 744-1050, ext. 3108

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