Del Norte County Code
10 - Vehicles and Traffic
12 - Parking Enforcement
60 - Administrative Hearing
A. Initiating Administrative Appeal.
1. Timeliness. A contestant dissatisfied with the results of the administrative review may appeal. Any such appeal must be made within twenty one (21) days of mailing the results of the investigation.
2. Requirements for Perfecting Appeals. The contestant's appeal shall be initiated by means of a written form provided by the revenue division, completed by the contestant, and filed by the contestant with the revenue division within the time specified in subsection (A)(1) of this section. In addition, the following requirements must be satisfied within the said time period:
a. The contestant shall deposit with the revenue division the full amount of the parking penalty.
b. The contestant shall complete the portion of the form specifying the contestant's preference for a hearing by mail or in person.
c. The contestant shall complete the portion of the form specifying the reasons for contesting the citation.
d. If different than the record address contained in the parking or revenue division's records, the contestant shall complete the portion of the form specifying the address of the contestant for purposes of mailing notices of hearing and other documents in connection with the appeal.
3. Rejection as Untimely. In the event that the contestant fails to satisfy any one or more of the above requirements within the time specified in subsection (A)(2) of this section, the appeal shall be rejected as untimely.
4. Hardship Waiver. A person who is indigent shall be entitled to a hardship waiver. A person requesting a hardship waiver shall provide such request to the revenue division within twenty one (21) days of mailing the results of the investigation. Proof of indigency must be included. Indigency is defined under Vehicle Code Section 40220 as:
a. The person meets the income criteria set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 68632 of the Government Code.
b. The person receives public benefits from a program listed in subdivision (a) of Section 68632 of the Government Code.
c. The person may demonstrate that the person is indigent by providing either of the following information, as applicable:
i. Proof of income from a pay stub or another form of proof of earnings, such as a bank statement, that shows that the person meets the income criteria set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 68632 of the Government Code, subject to review and approval by the processing agency or its designee. The processing agency or its designee shall not unreasonably withhold its approval.
ii. Proof of receipt of benefits under the programs described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1), including, but not limited to, an electronic benefits transfer card or another card, subject to review and approval by the processing agency. The processing agency or its designee shall not unreasonably withhold its approval.
B. Notice of Hearing. Within twenty-one (21) days from the filing with the revenue division of a contestant's timely appeal, the revenue division shall send via first class mail to the contestant a notice of hearing. The notice shall specify the date, time, and place of hearing in accordance with California Vehicle Code Section 40215(b). An administrative hearing shall be held within ninety (90) calendar days following the receipt of a request for an administrative hearing, excluding time tolled pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 40200 et seq. or this Chapter. Administrative hearings shall be set no sooner than 15 days from the contestant’s request for appeal.
1. Requests Made Prior to Date of Hearing. A contestant may, in writing or otherwise, request that the revenue division reschedule the hearing if the request is made at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing. The revenue division shall grant one continuance not to exceed twenty-one (21) calendar days in accordance with California Vehicle Code Section 40215(b).
D. Hearing Procedures.
1. Procedural Matters.
a. Appearances. The officer issuing the citation shall not be required to appear at the hearing. The contestant shall appear at the hearing, unless a hearing by mail has been designated by the contestant in the appeal request form. If the contestant does not appear at the hearing, the contest shall be decided by the hearing officer based on the citation, the record of the administrative review, and any other relevant material in the record, taking into account the reasons specified by the contestant in the appeal request form. Appearances by minors shall be governed by the provisions of California Vehicle Code Section 40215(c)(2).
b. Hearing Officers. The hearing shall be conducted by an independent and impartial hearing examiner meeting the qualifications specified in California Vehicle Code Section 40215(c)(4), who shall have been appointed pursuant to County Code section 2.26.020.
c. Hearing Record. The hearing officer shall write pertinent information into the record during the in-person hearing. The hearing record and any supporting documentation will remain with the case file at the county revenue division. If the contestant appeals the hearing officer's decision to the superior court, the entire case file will be forwarded to the court. The hearing records for those cases not appealed to the municipal court will be retained by the county for one year.
d. Representation. The contestant may, in his or her discretion, be represented by an attorney in the appeal process, including but not limited to the contest hearing. Any such representation shall be at the sole and exclusive cost of the contestant. No contestant shall be entitled to representation at the expense of the county, or any other public agency, irrespective of indigency status.
2. Conduct of the Hearing.
a. Initial Procedures-Hearing Officer Duties. At the
commencement of the hearing, the hearing officer shall:
i. Make a pre-hearing statement, briefly explaining the nature of the civil proceedings, the manner of conducting the hearing and the limits on the introduction of evidence, the process of rendering a decision, the effects of the decision in terms of collection remedies available to the revenue division, the right of the contestant to appeal to the municipal court for a de novo hearing, and any other matters in the hearing officer's discretion;
ii. Read the citation into the record;
iii. Administer an oath to the contestant and any prospective witnesses;
iv. Record the name and address of the contestant; and
v. Write the registered owner's name and address; and the contestant's relationship to the registered owner, if applicable.
b. Proof Requirements-Validity of Citation.
i. Burden of Proof. The issuing agency bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the citation meets statutory requirements for validity.
ii. Prima Facie Case. If the citation, or a copy thereof, contains all of the items specified in California Vehicle Code Section 40202, and if the revenue division or issuing agency has included in the record the information received from the DMV identifying the registered owner of the vehicle, the citation and such information shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein, and of the parking violation. The issuing agency shall not be required to produce any other information in order to establish the parking violation.
iii. Rebuttal. The contestant may introduce credible relevant rebuttal evidence relating to the validity of the citation.
c. Proof Requirements-Contestant's Defenses.
i. Burden of Proof-Defenses. The contestant bears the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that although the citation is facially valid, a viable defense exists which would preclude the contestant's liability for the parking penalty, or that a viable defense exists which would limit the contestant's liability for late payment penalties.
ii. Defenses-Late Payment Penalties. Nonreceipt of the notice of violation itself, if based on sufficient credible evidence, may constitute a defense to late payment penalties based on nonpayment of the notice of violation. However, nonreceipt of the notice of violation is not a defense to late response to the notice of delinquent parking violation. The defense of nonreceipt of the notice of violation is not available to the registered owner if it is established that the person operating the vehicle at the time of the citation was not the registered owner. Proof of timely payment of the citation is a defense to late payment penalties.
iii. Defenses-Merits of Citation. Defenses relating to the merits of the citation must be established by the contestant by credible evidence. Such defenses may include, but are not limited to signage matters (missing, obscured or defaced signs), where the contestant demonstrates that it was impossible for him or her to become aware of the applicable parking restrictions; malfunctioning parking meters; recent loss of parking permit or placard, accompanied by clear proof of the exercise of due diligence in efforts to replace the permit or placard; mechanical breakdown of the vehicle, where the vehicle was not illegally parked prior to the breakdown, where the violation in fact results from the breakdown and reasonable steps were taken to remove the vehicle prior to the occurrence of the violation. Personal reasons, inconvenience, lack of funds, forgetfulness, failure to observe signs, lack of available parking elsewhere, lack of knowledge of the applicable restrictions, and similar or related matters are not under any circumstances a defense to liability for the parking penalties. No defense which was not included in the statement of reasons contained in the contestant's appeal hearing request will be considered.
i. Rules of Evidence. The hearing officer shall only consider evidence that is relevant to whether the violation occurred and whether the appellant has caused or maintained the violation of the Code occurred on the date specified in the administrative citation, whether the violation continues to exist, and/or whether the amount of the fine is correctly applied under this Chapter. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The hearing officer may exclude evidence the probative value of which is outweighed the probability that its admission will necessitate undue time. Evidence relevant to the issues raised by the contestant's statement of reasons, and to the validity of the citation itself under California Vehicle Code Section 40202, will be received.
ii. Form of Evidence. Other than the citation and the DMV information, the hearing officer shall receive into the record the issuing agency and revenue division's record from the administrative review, together with relevant testimony, documentation and other material which is submitted by a party. The hearing officer may, but is not required to, admit evidence in the form of declarations of witnesses, submitted by the contestant. Such declarations shall not be admitted unless presented in the form required for declarations under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2015.5, and shall contain the statements required by California Code of Civil Procedure 437c(d). Oral evidence shall be taken under oath or affirmation.
e. Witnesses. The contestant may present witnesses in support of the contestant's contentions. The hearing officer, after conducting the initial procedures of the hearing, may exclude witnesses until their turn to testify occurs. The hearing officer may limit the number of witnesses in the interest of preventing cumulative or repetitive testimony. The parties shall be given the opportunity to testify and present witnesses and evidence concerning the parking citation, and to cross-examine witnesses and dispute evidence. The hearing officer may conduct such cross-examination of the contestant or any witness.
f. Continuances. The hearing officer may continue any hearing for any reason.
a. Basis for Decision. The hearing officer shall make a decision on liability for the parking penalties based on the testimony and other evidence in the record.
b. Disposition. The hearing officer shall enter the disposition on the hearing record, and enter the total amount of the parking penalties. The decision, including the rationale therefore, shall be placed in written form.
c. Delivery of Decision to Contestant. The hearing officer may personally deliver or send the written decision to the contestant via first class mail.
d. Finality. The decision shall be the final decision of the revenue division. The decision shall set forth the time limits for the contestant to file for judicial review in the Del Norte County Superior Court, and a notice that if no such review is sought within the applicable time limitation, the decision shall be final for all purposes