Decoding Parking Citations: A Guide to the Different Terms Used

It can be confusing!

Parking citations, those slips of paper that appear on the violators windshield, come in various forms and are accompanied by a range of terminology.

Understanding these terms can be crucial, not only for parkers who wish to avoid fines but also for parking management companies looking to add enforcement to their lots, we’ll decode the different terms used for parking citations and shed light on what they mean.


The most common term used for a parking ticket is simply “citation.” A citation is a formal notice issued by a parking enforcement officer or authority to inform a vehicle owner that they have violated parking regulations. It typically includes details such as the date, time, location, and nature of the violation. EnforcePlus allows you to edit the term citation to best match your state or locale’s usual terminology.



The fine is the amount of money you are required to pay as a penalty for the parking violation. Fines vary depending on the severity of the violation, the location, and local regulations. Failure to pay the fine within the specified timeframe can lead to penalties. EnforcePlus allows you to configure specific rules for escalating or reducing fines based on when the user pays. Using reverse discounts encourages users to pay quickly. 


Penalties are additional charges that may be imposed if you do not pay your parking fine on time. These penalties can accumulate and significantly increase the total amount you owe. Penalties are often referred to as “late fees” or “penalty fees.”


In some jurisdictions, parking violations are categorized as “infractions.” An infraction is a minor offense that is typically punishable by fines rather than jail time. Parking infractions are non-criminal offenses and are considered civil matters.

Violation code

Parking citations often include a violation code or number that corresponds to the specific parking regulation that was violated. These codes help both the issuing authority and the vehicle owner understand the nature of the offense. Our software allows you to add violation codes to each violation you create.

Citation or violation number

The citation number is a unique identifier assigned to each parking ticket. It is used for tracking and reference purposes when communicating with the parking authority or contesting the citation. The violation number is a way for you and your staff to easily lookup the violation in question when responding to a dispute.


Booting refers to the immobilization of a vehicle by attaching a boot to one of its wheels. This action is usually taken when a vehicle owner has accumulated multiple unpaid parking citations. To have the boot removed, the owner must pay all outstanding fines and any booting fees. Our parking enforcement app allows you to configure alerts and messaging to present to a parking enforcement officer if they scan the plate of a frequent violator, automatically giving them instructions on next steps.


When a vehicle is towed, it is physically removed from the parking location to an impound lot. Towing is typically a last resort for repeat offenders or in cases of severe violations. To retrieve a towed vehicle, the owner must pay towing fees, storage fees, and any outstanding fines.

Dispute or Appeal

If you believe a parking citation was issued in error or you have a valid reason for contesting it, you have the right to dispute or appeal the citation. This process allows you to present evidence or arguments to contest the fine. Be sure to follow the specific procedures outlined by your local parking authority for disputing citations. EnforcePlus includes a dispute portal for automatic uploading of support evidence.


In the context of parking and traffic violations, a “scofflaw” refers to a person who habitually and deliberately ignores parking regulations or traffic laws, often by parking illegally or not paying parking fines and penalties. Scofflaws are individuals who flout the rules and disregard the consequences, frequently resulting in multiple parking tickets, fines, and potential legal actions against them.

Scofflaws can create issues for local authorities, parking enforcement agencies, and other drivers because their behavior can lead to congestion, reduced available parking spaces, and a loss of revenue from unpaid fines. To address the challenges posed by scofflaws, cities and municipalities often implement measures to track and penalize repeat offenders.

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