Arizona Photo Enforcement: How to Beat It Mailbag 2 -- Of Process Servers and Out-of-State Residents

New Times' Valley Fever blog strives to give readers the best possible information about how the photo enforcement system works, from the first strobe of the flash to last minute of your Traffic Survival School (which, if you're willing to exercise your rights and get lucky, you won't have to sit through).

Here are a few more mentionable comments and questions from readers on our popular "Arizona Photo Enforcement Ticket: How to Beat It" article from back in December:

(FYI: Earlier questions were examined in January's "How to Beat It Mailbag" post. You should also read our article on an important development in Scottsdale, where city judges are allowing process servers to post citations to the doors of some tough-to-find motorists).

Amy says:

I am also an unlucky Californian who was assaulted by the red flash - which if I had a weak heart would have given me a heart attack...I think the city had better consider possible trauma-related lawsuits against them. I thought there had been an atomic explosion! I thought, what they heck?! So here is my question...has anyone out there from another state been served?

E-Z Messenger, a Phoenix-based process serving company, says it has agreements with servers in other states who nail drivers like Amy. But we haven't heard from drivers outside of Arizona, who were served within the 120-day window -- just a lot of questions about whether it occurs. We encourage out-of-state readers to let us know if they've been served.

To get a better handle on this question, we called Jay Heiler on Thursday. He's a lobbyist and spokesman for Redflex, the photo-enforcement vendor that handles the state's freeway program. Heiler tells us Redflex wants to be transparent on the issue, and he will get back to us. When he does, we'll do a post with his answer and link it to this post for you.

Bev says:
What are the additional court administrative fees that may apply as stated on option C of the notice? What will be added for a process service? Are these the same fee or are they separate? It was my plan to allow service and go to court simply as a protest to the 55 mph speed traps in this program. What will this "tea party" cost me if it goes that far?

The additonal court administrative fees are the same thing as the process serving fees. The "tea party" will cost you about $25 -- but only if the Redcoats catch you.

guy says:
i was driving my girlfriends mother's car doing "58" in a 40 zone. if she declares it's not her and gives up my info, can i avoid a process server?

You can certainly try.

Tricky says:
I got a photo ticket passing through Phoenix, and I went to the web site to check it out -- just out of curiosity, and before I saw any of this info. Hopefully that doesn't constitute some kind of "response" to the ticket, so I'm planning on filing it away. So now I guess I'll just sit back and not answer the door for a few months.

Rich says:
I saw a web site that said not to go to the Photo Enfocement Website and log in to view the violation and photos on line because if you do that, then that is proof that you got the notice. Is that true?

People often ask us whether checking the court Web sites will constitute proper service under Arizona law. Our non-lawyerly response is that there's no way in hell that could be considered service because the court has no idea who is typing on the keyboard.

Carrie says:
I got a ticket in the mail on 01-18-09 and to this day, my name is not on the Arizona Supreme Court public info web site. What does that mean? The ticket was already thrown out?

Not necessarily. Not all of the justice and city courts are listed on that site. Another site to check would be the Maricopa County Superior Court site. Go to, click on "case history," then "justice courts."

Matt says:
What happens if you get pulled over by DPS 60 days after you received a photo-radar ticket and the court received the notice? Will the Police Officer know about it in their ACJIS system, tell you about it or serve you then?

We can't tell you if the officer sees the charge it on a patrol car computer -- but don't give the cops ideas. Someday, cops may be able to print out the citation in their car and serve it to you. Fortunately, that day hasn't come yet.

Brian Mizzle says:
Can anyone say if this article is still valid? It was written back in december of 08 so it's pretty likely that the court has changed its policies or maybe even passed some new laws that allow them to just mail tickets without using a process server.

No major changes have taken place since our 2007 feature article, Gotcha! However, as mentioned, beware of Scottsdale's "alternate service."


Randy says:
In your article you state, "if drivers of vehicles registered to corporations and family trusts ignore speed-camera tickets, they don't even get process-served." My vehicle is registered in the name of my corporation. I was served at my home on a Saturday morning, my wife accepted it. So it looks like they DO serve if registered in the name of a corporation.

We got Randy on the phone. As he tells it, his case is a rare exception to the general rule about corporations and family trusts. However, Randy's full name was on the registration in addition to his corporation's name, so perhaps the process server took more initiative than usual. If anyone else knows about a similar situation, please feel free to share the experience.

breslin says:

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I just paid two of these tickets online with my credit card. Can I dispute payment with my credit card company, or do I just have to let it go?

Let it go, man.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.