How to deal with parking tickets in San Jose

Resolving parking citations in the great 408 will always be a bummer, but hopefully our guide makes it less confusing.

Two Park SJ meters in downtown.

Meters accept card, coins, or payment through an app.

Photo by SJtoday staff

On the list of things that can ruin a day, walking back to your car to find a yellow envelope tucked under the windshield wiper has to rank pretty high.

So you got a parking ticket in San Jose — now what?

Well, from the date of your citation, a 21-day countdown begins. If the ticket is not resolved within that window, San Jose will consider that ticket delinquent. This means you won’t be eligible for an appeal, and you may have to pay additional penalties. Ouch.

To pay the fee, you can do so by mail, over the phone at (888) 442-4088, or online. Depending on the transgression, the amount can range from $27.50 (parking after your meter runs out) to $397 (parking in a space reserved for people with disabilities).

If you think the ticket was made in error, you can also contest the parking ticket in one of two ways:

  • With a written explanation, you can present your case with supporting documents and any pertinent context to the offense, possibly reducing your fine. You can also submit an appeal online.
  • If that doesn’t work, you can then request an administrative hearing to contest your citation. Note: You’ll need to pay the fine in full before you go this route, but if the result is overturned, your payment will be remitted.

If that doesn’t work, you can make a civil appeal within 30 days of the agency’s final decision, and request a waiver of penalty. You will still need to pay a filing fee, but if you’re not found liable, all fees + costs will be refunded.

Just remember, you’re not alone — in 2022, the city issued 26,000 safety violations.

Pro tip: With ParkSJ’s website, you can check available lots around downtown — which all offer 90 minutes of free parking.