Parking Enforcement

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Please note that the City of Lancaster contracts for processing of parking citations, including payments and Administrative Hearings.

Request for service
Paying an issued citation
Contesting an issued citation

Request for service
If you would like to ask Parking Enforcement to investigate illegally parked or abandoned vehicles within City limits, you may call (661) 723-5992 or email  Please keep in mind that Parking Enforcement staff work certain hours, and not all requests can be immediately honored.  In addition, depending on the nature of the violation either a citation or a "red tag" (notice to move vehicle) may be issued.  Also keep in mind that Parking Enforcement cannot tow vehicles, nor in most cases can they issue citations or red tags for vehicles on private property that is not open to the public (such as residential driveways, apartment complex parking lots, etc. - exceptions to this rule include handicapped parking violations and vehicles parked in a fire lane/designated fire zone).

For urgent requests, requests that may involve towing the car (such as for abandoned vehicles posing a safety hazard or that you suspect may have been stolen), requests outside of City of Lancaster limits, or for requests during the evening, on weekends, or on City holidays, you may contact the Lancaster Sheriff's Station at (661) 948-8466 instead.  A Community Service Officer or a Deputy will be assigned to investigate and take appropriate action.

Paying an issued citation
NOTE: These instructions are for parking citations issued by the City of Lancaster ("City of Lancaster" will appear at the top of the citation).  For parking citations issued outside of City limits, please refer to the instructions on the back of your citation or contact the issuing agency listed on the citation.

If you have received a parking citation, it is important that you pay it in a timely manner to avoid penalties that may affect your vehicle registration and/or your state tax refunds.

There are four ways to pay your citation:
• You may pay in-person at the Finance counter inside City Hall during business hours (Mon-Thurs 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Fri 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays).  Payment methods accepted are cash, check, money order, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express).
• You may mail your payment to the City's processing center at City of Lancaster, PO Box 3540, Tustin, CA 92781-3540.  Payments must be postmarked within 21 days of the citation issue date or they will not be accepted as paid-in-full.  Include the citation with your payment.  Payment methods accepted are check or money order - DO NOT send cash.
• You may pay online anytime at  Payment methods accepted are Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.
• You may make a payment over the phone anytime by calling the City's processing center at (888) 372-2040.  Payment methods accepted are Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.

You will need to have the citation with you when paying in-person, online, or over the phone, as information from the citation is required to process the payment.  Citations cannot be paid at the courthouse or at DMV (unless a DMV hold has been placed - see below).

If you choose to pay online or by phone, please allow at least 3-5 business days from the date of issuance for the citation to be processed before paying electronically printed citations.  For handwritten citations, please allow up to seven business days when paying online, by phone, or in-person.

Whichever method you choose, your citation must be paid within 21 calendar days of issuance.  Failure to pay your citation within 21 calendar days will result in additional penalties, and may result in a DMV hold being placed on your vehicle.  A DMV hold will prevent you from registering your vehicle or filing a planned non-operational status permit (PNO) until all fees, including deliquency penalties, have been paid.  You may also have your state tax refunds intercepted until the unpaid citation and all deliquency penalties have been satisfied.

If a DMV hold has been placed on your vehicle, you will be required to pay your citation and penalty fees to DMV, or provide satisfactory proof that you have already paid these fees to the City, before you can register your vehicle or file a PNO.  If these fees are not paid before your registration is due, you will be assessed additional penalties for late registration.

Vehicles that have five or more unpaid parking citations that are at least 21 days old may be impounded per California Vehicle Code section 22651(i), and additional fees will be assessed.  If you do not pay all the fees within a certain period of time (generally 60 days), including all citations, any deliquency fees, and fees relating to the impound and storage of your vehicle, the storage facility may conduct a lien sale of your vehicle to satisfy your obligations.

While in some cases a reminder notice may be mailed to you prior to the end of the 21 day payment/contest period, this is not guaranteed.  Failure to receive a reminder notice does not relieve you of any legal obligation to pay your citation within the 21 day period.

If you would like to speak with someone about your citation before paying or contesting it, please call (661) 723-5992 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments are available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at City Hall.

Contesting an issued citation
California Vehicle Code Section 40215 allows for the ability to contest a parking citation, provided the citation was issued in error. It includes three progressive steps to contest a citation (each level must be completed prior to moving to the next step). The first level is the Initial Review, the second level is the Administrative Hearing, and the final level is the Appeal to the Superior Court.

*Important:  If any of these steps are not completed within the designated time period, you may be forfeiting your right to contest your citation.

Initial review: A request for an initial review must be received in writing within 21 calendar days of the date your citation was issued; requests not made in writing or within the 21 day period will not be accepted.  You may request a review (known as a "contest") online at for most citations, or you may obtain a Contest Form from the Finance counter inside City Hall during business hours.  When contesting a citation at this level, you do not need to pay the citation until the Initial Review has been completed and you have been found liable for the citation.

If you choose to fill out a hard-copy Contest Form, you may submit it in-person at City Hall or mail it to City of Lancaster, PO Box 3540, Tustin, CA 92781-3540. Contest Forms that are mailed must be postmarked within the 21 day period or they will not be accepted.

You must indicate the reason(s) you feel your citation was issued in error.  Include copies of any documentation to support your claim (do not include originals as documents will not be returned), a copy of the citation or reminder notice, your full name, and your current and complete mailing address.  Make sure to include everything that supports your claim - you will not have an opportunity to provide additional information once your contest has been submitted.

Commonly contested citations include those for failure to display handicapped placards or license plates, or for expired registration.  For handicapped parking violations, submit a copy of the placard and the placard registration card (that shows when/to whom it was issued) with your Contest Form to have the fine reduced.  For registration violations, provide proof of current registration with your Contest Form (if your registration was expired, it will need to be brought current with DMV before the citation can be reduced; if your registration tabs were stolen, provide proof of current registration and a copy of your police report; if you had a valid temporary operating permit displayed in your vehicle, provide a copy of that permit).

Once your Initial Review has been completed, the results will be mailed to you at the address provided with your contest.  If you are found not liable during the Initial Review process, any amount paid will be refunded.

Administrative Hearing: The amount of the citation must be paid in order to contest your citation at this level. In order to request an Administrative Hearing you MUST have completed the Initial Review process and been found liable for the citation.

A request for an Administrative Hearing must be made in writing and must be postmarked within 21 calendar days of the mailing of your Initial Review result.  If you have not yet paid your citation, you may mail your payment with your hearing request, or you may pay using one of the methods above.  (Please click here for information on how to request a fee waiver if you are unable to pay your citation before continuing with the appeals process.)

When submitting a hearing request, include a copy of your citation or Initial Review result letter, your full name, and your current and complete mailing address.  Also indicate whether your prefer your Administrative Hearing to be in-person (you will be required to appear before the hearing officer) or in-writing (written documentation to support your claim will be considered by the hearing officer in lieu of personal appearance).

Mail your hearing request to City of Lancaster, PO Box 3540, Tustin, CA 92781-3540.  Hearing requests cannot be made in-person or online.  Once your hearing request has been accepted, you will be contacted with an appointment for your hearing.

If the hearing officer at the Administrative Hearing determines that you are not liable for the citation, any amount paid will be refunded.

Civil Appeal: California Vehicle Code Section 40230(a) allows for the ability to file a Civil Appeal for a parking citation if you are dissatisfied with the results of your Administrative Hearing. You may not request a Civil Appeal unless you have received a Result of Administrative Hearing and have been found liable for the citation.

Civil Appeals must be filed at the Antelope Valley Superior Court within 30 calendar days of the mailing of your Administrative Hearing results.  You will be required to pay a filing fee to the court.  If your citation remains unpaid due to a previous request for a waiver of the penalty, you must pay your citation in full to the City prior to filing a Civil Appeal.

If during the Civil Appeal process the judge finds that you are not liable for the citation, any amount paid will be refunded (including the filing fee).
*Important: File your appeal with the Superior Court, not the Small Claims Court.

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