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S.T.O.P. Program

S.T.O.P. Program
San Francisco Traffic Offender Program (STOP)

stop icon The STOP Unit targets unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles for special enforcement. Operating under the provisions of the California Safe Streets Act of 1994 and the Vehicle code, ten motorcycles officers conduct daily enforcement and organize monthly traffic safety operations in conjunction with district stations. During 2004, STOP towed 2,771 vehicles and issued over 6,000 citations. Owners/operators are

required to register their automobiles and/or obtain a California driver's license and insurance before they can regain custody of their vehicle.

If Your Car Was Towed by SFPD for S.T.O.P.
If your car was towed because the driver was unlicensed or had a suspended license, a 30 day hold has been placed on you vehicle.

If you are the registered owner of the vehicle but not the driver at the time of the tow, and have a valid California driver's license, it may be possible to obtain your vehicle immediately by going to a tow hearing. (AB360) at :

The Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St., Rm 154

The hours for tow hearings are as follows:
Mon thru Fri 9:00AM to 3:00 PM
Additionally the office is open on Wed from 4:00 to 7:00 PM

Don't change the registration into another persons name after the tow or the vehicle will remain impounded for the entire 30 days.

At the time of release an administrative tow fee of $194.00 must be paid prior to the issuance of a tow release. This fee must be paid in cash only and does not apply toward the towing and storage fees charged by the City Tow. This fee applies to all vehicles towed incidental to an arrest. City Tow's number is 415-621-8605.

If Your Car Was Towed by SFPD

In addition to unlicensed driver tows, the STOP counter now hears appeals from owners of cars towed by the Police Department for parking violations. The hours and procedure for Police parking tow appeals are the same.

Owners of towed vehicles must appeal the Police Parking Tow within 30 days of the tow or else forfeit their right to a hearing. In cases where the hearing officers determine that the vehicle was improperly towed by the Police Department, the City Controller will take approximately 30 days to issue a refund check.

If Your Car Was Towed by DPT

For vehicles towed by the Department of Parking and Traffic, appeals must be made to that agency within 10 days as they continue to conduct their own post-storage hearings.

Department of Parking and Traffic Tow Hear
11 South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94103

Police Tow Hearings

If your vehicle has been towed by the San Francisco Police Department for any reason, including:

Driving on a suspended license
Driving with no California License or an expired California License
Driving with registration expired over six months

You are permitted a Tow Hearing to determine the Validity of that tow. Tow hearings are conducted on a "drop-in" basis:

Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 3:00 Pm. Wednesday evenings we conduct hearings from 4:00 Pm until 7:00 Pm as well.

The Tow Hearing Officer will make a determination whether the towing of your vehicle was lawfully conducted per the California Vehicle Code. If the tow was improper, you will be granted a waiver or refund of tow fees. If the tow was proper and permitted by law, there will be no waiver or refund of fees. Financial hardship is not a valid reason for appeal. The only issue heard is the legality of the tow.

If you are dissatisfied with the Hearing Officer's determination of your case, you may make a written "supervisors appeal of tow fees:. You are required to remit a $194.00 cash "city admin-fee" before your appeal can be considered by the supervisor. Upon payment of the Admin-fee, the supervisor of the traffic offender program will review your written narrative and examine all evidence presented by you. After diligent investigation, you will be notified of the results of your appeal, and whether your appeal was upheld or denied. There are no appeals beyond this point. (you may, however, file a claim with the City Attorney against the City of San Francisco.)

Last updated: 9/14/2009 11:33:51 AM