By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Controversial parking tickets written by Sacramento State are frustrating students as costly tickets pile up for what may seem like minor infractions.

It’s a tight squeeze at the Sacramento State parking garage where students say parking is hard to find.  Bio-Med major Tim Johnson received a $43 parking ticket for parking over the line in the parking garage. He says if you find a spot, you have to squeeze in.

“Whenever I’m here, it’s like prime time,” he says, “It’s rather irritating.”

Each spot has a double boundary line.  Johnson recalls the day when a row of cars was parked over the inner line, forcing him to do the same.  But he insists he was within the outer border.

“I’m thinking this is an awfully small parking space,” he said.

When Johnson returned after class, he saw $43 parking tickets on his car and those next to him.

Are the spots too small? We looked at the Sacramento City code, and it states small compact parking spots must be 8-feet wide.


We met up with Johnson at the CSUS parking garage and watched him measure the same parking spot where he received the ticket, which was 77 inches or roughly 19-inches short of the city’s required 8-feet for a compact parking spot.

However, we learned the university doesn’t have to follow city rules, and there are no state standards for width in off-street parking spaces.

CSUS sites its own rules saying vehicles must fit within the parking space lines. The school told us that an officer can write a ticket if a tire is completely over the midpoint of the double lines.

Defense Attorney Carlos Ramos calls this practice a money grab.

“It smells funny, and I don’t like it. This type of ticketing leads to distrust, resentment of people in authority,” he said.

The school won’t discuss Johnson’s case with us but says, “It’s the driver’s responsibility to find a parking space into which his or her vehicle fits. Saying that other cars caused the problem, is not relevant.”

Johnson appealed his $43 ticket, but he lost his challenge.

“You better hope the guy next to you is parked right,” he said.

We learned Sacramento State wrote 130 “Over the boundary” tickets between January 2017 and May of 2018. Of those tickets, 29 were appealed and dismissed.

University Transportation & Parking Services

Sacramento State issued a statement in response to the story:

“State regulations only apply at Sac State to ADA parking spaces. Under those state rules, a vehicle can be cited for just touching the line.

In all other instances at the University, the working standard is a vehicle’s tire must be completely over the line, as previously stated. That is a more lenient reading of our own written standard (cited on the [University Transportation & Parking Services] UTAPS web page to which you supplied a link) that says “Vehicles must fit within the parking space line.”

That means that, under our rules, a citation could be issued if a tire was just touching the line, but we enforce at the “completely over the line” standard. Whether a tire is completely over the line is up to a parking officer’s judgment (which constitutes prima facie evidence, also as previously stated).

The goal is to ensure that cars are not encroaching on adjacent spaces. That is part of our effort to ensure that as many parking spaces as possible are available to the University community.”

“UTAPS considers citations to be prima facie evidence from the citing officer, valid unless proven otherwise.

People who are ticketed for parking violations have three levels of appeal available to them. [The] first level is an administrative appeal, adjudicated by students trained for the position. At this level, the cited person tells why he/she should not have received a citation.

If a person disagrees with the outcome of that appeal, he/she may appeal at the second level, which entails a hearing in front of a hearing officer, who is a UTAPS employee. At the second level of appeal, the person may introduce more evidence and elaborate on his/her position. The hearing officer has more flexibility in making a decision on whether to uphold or rescind the fine. Finally, the third level of appeal is to the county courts, outside UTAPS jurisdiction.

We are not going to discuss this specific complaint since it is between the person in question and the appeals process. We encourage that person to follow through with his or her appeal if he/she is dissatisfied with the citation’s current status.

It is the motorist’s responsibility to find a parking space into which his or her vehicle fits. Saying that other cars caused the problem is not relevant. Officers write citations for vehicles that are in violation.

The dismissal of citations is based on the decision of people adjudicating the appeals based on information presented to them.”