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Facts about a Booted Vehicle and Towing Enforcement

Car with a boot on the wheel | Towing enforcement booted vehicle |


Booting is the temporary immobilization of vehicles.  The fine for a booted vehicle in San Francisco is $505. Owners of a booted vehicle have up to 72 hours from the time of booting to settle the penalties to prevent the towing of their vehicle. This period, however, excludes the weekends and public holidays. After the vehicle has been booted or towed, the owners cannot substitute payments of citations and penalties with community service. The boot is removed within two hours  of  the penalties being paid.

Causes of a booted vehicle

The booting program does not return the illegally parked vehicles if they’ve been towed. It is up to the owner to retrieve them. In order to enforce policies, the program is used together with towing. According to the vehicle code in San Francisco, any vehicle having five or more cases of delinquent citations for parking can be immediately towed or booted. Other circumstances under which the transport agency could apply a boot include immobilization of vehicles termed as notorious offenders, immobilization of unregistered illegally parked cars to ascertain their owners. In case a vehicle is booted and towed but remains unclaimed for a period of 28 days, it will be liable for public auctioning.

Payment information for a vehicle with a boot

The transport agency provids various platforms for paying the penalties. These include cash, online payments and check payments, visa, money order and MasterCard.  Payments can also be made at the customer care desk SFMTA in person, during business hours. If the vehicle is already booted, the owner will have to pay the penalties plus the towing charges for the vehicle to be released. If payment is received between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, the vehicle will be released within 2 hours. Also, if payment is received between 5pm and 11pm, Monday through Friday, the vehicle will be released when available. All other times when the payment is received, the vehicle will be released the next business day. Once payment is received an enforcement officer from the transport agency will then remove the boot. If a payment is received after hours, the vehicle can only be released the next day.

Where to contest a citation

If you contest a citation, the ruling is usually in favor of the city. But if you feel that your booted vehicle was inaccurate, the city of San Francisco allows the individual to have a hearing. The main purpose of this hearing is to determine if the vehicle has additional citations on record that can authorize booting. This is usually exclusive of the citations that are still undergoing review. If you think that your booted vehicle was not a legal action, you can visit the SFMTA Customer Service Center for an in-person hearing; additionally, the center is located at 11 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103. Their business hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Needless to say, it is best not get a boot clamped onto your vehicle. It can be a cause for a very stressful day.

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