The Cost of Parking on California’s Streets

The Cost of Parking on California’s Streets

You might not be aware that California is home to some of the strictest and most heavily enforced traffic parking laws in the United States. There are two reasons for this. The first is because California has a mind-boggling amount of traffic and each driver is looking for a place to park, the limited number of parking options forces state lawmakers to come up with strict parking rules. The second reason is that parking tickets is a lucrative and easy form of income that the state needs.

How Much Can a Parking Ticket Cost You?

Most people think that they don’t have to worry about parking tickets. They figure that the ticket is $5 or $10 and that the state won’t notice if the ticket doesn’t get paid. This is a costly assumption. Depending on which parking law was violated, the fine connected to the ticket can add up to $1,000, and the state has a reputation for swearing out bench warrants on drivers who fail to pay even minor parking tickets.

San Francisco has different fines for different types of parking violations, including:

  • $55.00 for parking on the side of the street that’s scheduled for street cleaning
  • $65.00 for a going over your time at a downtown parking meter
  • $90.00 for parking in a marked red zone
  • $50.00 for angledparking
  • $90.00 for parking in a space reserved for motorcycles
  • $85.00 for parking in a tow-away zone
  • $55.00 for parking in a temporary construction zone
  • $105.00 for block charging bay parking
  • $100.00 for parking in the entrance/exit of a facility
  • $100.00 for speeding while in a parking facility

It’s important to note that these fees can change with a single vote.

The steepest parking tickets are ones that are issued for parking illegally in a bus loading zone or in a space reserved for a disabled driver/passenger.

Protesting the Parking Ticket

Just like with all traffic violations, you are allowed to go to court and protest the traffic ticket you were issued, but you should know that proving your innocence isn’t always easy. The best ways to get the ticket over ruled is by bringing photographic evidence that the restrictions on parking there wasn’t clearly marked, or proving that you weren’t the one driving the vehicle on the day the parking ticket was issued. In some cases, the court will forgive the parking ticket if you can prove that the only reason you were parked illegally was because of a valid emergency.

Most California court systems are currently set up so that parking tickets can be paid online. Failure to pay your outstanding parking tickets can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.