Parking Citations & Vehicle Impounds

Vehicle Impounds

Vehicles that have been impounded by the Orange County Sheriff Department subsequent to arrest or citation for violations such as; Driving on a Suspended License or Driving Without a Valid License are held by the department for a period of 30 days per California Vehicle Code 14602.6(a). Impounded vehicles will not be released prior to 30 days unless permitted by the California Vehicle Code. Registered Owners may request an Impound Hearing prior to the 30 day hold expiration by calling Police Services at (949) 443-6369. Impound Hearings are held by appointment only.

Parking Ordinances

For the safety of visitors and residents alike, City and State parking ordinances are strictly enforced within the City of San Juan Capistrano.

Where May I Park?

You may park at any unpainted curb side that is not posted with a no stopping or no parking sign. Vehicles over three tons may park on streets only authorized by local ordinance. Limited Term is available in the Downtown area. Certain residential zones may restrict parking to certain days/hours expect by permit. Contact the City of San Juan Capistrano, public works for parking permit information (949) 443-6369.

Where May I Not Park?

Street Sweeping Zones: Parking in street sweeping zones is enforced throughout the City during posted weekdays with some City holidays excepted. Areas are posted for various hours with time zones ranging from 4:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Posted signs indicate both the time and day each side of the street is swept. Check posted signs for specific days and times.

  • Alleys: For the safety of the public, parking in alleys is not permitted in the City. They must be available for emergency vehicles, i.e., fire trucks, ambulances, etc.
  • Fire Lanes: Only City emergency vehicles may park in fire lanes.
  • Painted Curbs: Please observe the following parking regulations regarding painted curbs:
    • Red - No stopping, standing or parking at any time.
    • Blue - Handicapped parking only (must display disabled license plate or a valid placard).
    • Yellow - May park long enough to load or unload freight or passengers (not to exceed 20 minutes).
    • White - Three-minute passenger loading and unloading only.
    • Green - May park for a limited time only. Time is usually painted on curb.
  • Crosswalks: No parking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
  • Sidewalk Ramp: Do not park within three feet (3) of a sidewalk ramp for the disabled.
  • Driveways: Do not park so as to block a public or private driveway.
  • Parkways and sidewalks: Do not stop or park on any portion of the sidewalk or parkway.
  • Intersection: Do not stop, park, or leave your vehicle within an intersection.
  • Fire Hydrants: Do not park within fifteen feet (15) of a fire hydrant or the driveway entrance to any fire station.
  • Railroad Tracks: Do not park on or within seven and one-half feet (7.5) of any railroad tracks.
  • Bridge or Tunnel: Do not park except where permitted by signs.
  • Private Property: Do not park on private property posted "no parking".
  • Residential Area: Do not park commercial vehicles (over three tons) in residential areas. Do not park in residential Preferential Parking Permit areas without City issued Preferential Parking Permit.

What Happens If My Vehicle Was Towed?

If your vehicle has been towed and is being held for delinquent parking citations, Before making a payment, you will need to speak to Police Services at (949) 443-6369 between the hours of 6:00 AM. to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except holidays. You should have your vehicle license number ready. Please be aware that you must pay all parking citations on the towed vehicle as well as all parking citations in your name owed on any other vehicle. Citations must be paid by credit card.

What Happens If I Violate A Parking Law?

If you park illegally and receive a citation, read carefully and follow all instructions on the citation. Failure to submit payment within the required time may result in a penalty being added to the original fine and a hold being placed against your vehicle registration, or the vehicle may be towed.

Once a citation has been placed against the registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the payment can be made when renewing registration or through the Citation Processing Center.

California Vehicle Code Section 22651 (i) gives authorization for the towing or booting of a vehicle when citations are issued and remain unpaid. Should your vehicle be towed for outstanding citations, you may contact the Police Services at (949) 443-6373 for information pertaining to the towing and amount due. The vehicle must have current registration and all towing and storage fees must be paid prior to the release of the vehicle.

How Do I Pay A Parking Citation?

You may pay on-line with a Visa or MasterCard.

For your convenience, you may pay by mail. Send the check or money order in the envelope provided. Make payable to the Citation Processing Center. Please write Parking Citation Number on the check or money order. Two party checks and foreign currency will not be accepted. DO NOT MAIL CASH. Checks returned by the bank unpaid for any reason will cause your citation to become delinquent and additional returned check fee will be charged.

You may also pay by telephone using a Visa or MasterCard by calling at (800) 989-2058.

Late Payment Information

A payment received after the due date will cause a late penalty to be added. Postmarks WILL NOT be honored. Failure to clear a citation by payment may result in a hold on your vehicle registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles and will incur a penalty in addition to the above amount. Furthermore, the vehicle may be towed or the registered owner may be subject to a civil judgment.

How Do I Contest A Citation?

Common reasons that do not support dismissing citation:

  • I do not have money to pay.
  • I never received a citation before.
  • I didn't know I couldn't park there.

If you wish to contest a parking citation, you must request a review within 21 days of the issuance date. Contact the Citation Processing Center at (800) 989-2058 or click here for more information

Additional Information:

San Juan Capistrano Municipal Code

Oversized Vehicles: No person shall park and leave standing upon any public street or highway within the City of San Juan Capistrano any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles in excess of twenty-five (25) feet in length, or having a width in excess of ninety (90) inches as measured at the widest portion of the body, not including mirrors or other extensions, or a weight in excess of ten thousand pounds. Certain provisions apply for loading and unloading purposes.

Recreational Vehicles: Recreational Vehicles (RV),may be issued an RV Temporary Parking Permit allowing up to forty-eight (48) hours of parking. An RV Temporary Parking Permit may be obtained free of charge by contacting San Juan Capistrano Police Services.

Vehicle "For Sale" Signs: The San Juan Capistrano Municipal Code (SJCMC) prohibits the parking of any vehicle on any public street when there is a "For Sale" sign on the vehicle.

72-hour limit: No vehicle shall be left standing on a street longer than 72 hours.

Vehicle With Occupants: No person shall leave a standing, locked vehicle in which there is any person who cannot readily escape.

Street Repair of Vehicles: It is unlawful for any person to repair, grease, construct or reconstruct a vehicle on the street.

Current Registration: Vehicle must have current registration tags displayed on license plate, indicating month and year of expiration.

Curb Parking: Vehicles parked upon a roadway adjacent to a curb shall be stopped or parked with the right-hand wheel of the vehicle parallel with and within eighteen inches of the right-hand curb. Therefore, a vehicle is illegally parked and subject to citation if it is stopped or parked upon a roadway in a direction opposite to the normal flow of traffic. Motorcycles shall be parked with at least one wheel or fender touching the right-hand curb. A vehicle must face in the direction of normal traffic flow.

Front Lawn: It is unlawful to park on a front lawn. Open parking is permitted only on paved areas.

Parking In A Space For Disabled Persons: It is unlawful for any person to park or leave standing any vehicle in a stall or space designated for disabled persons unless the vehicle displays a special disabled identification license plate or a valid disabled placard. Disabled person spaces are designated by a sign and space or stall markings consisting of a profile view of a wheelchair with occupant in white on a blue background. It is unlawful for any person to park or leave standing any vehicle in the area adjacent to a space or stall designated for the disabled that is marked by crosshatched lines.