People ask us all the time: What can I do about that nasty photo radar ticket I got in the mail?
The answer: Nothing.
Literally. Chuck it in the trash.
It's perfectly ethical -- just look at the ticket's fine print. You see, for photo enforcement citations to be valid, the state Supreme Court rules say it has to be properly served to you. And the U.S. Mail won't cut it. So, the ticket asks you to sign a waiver of your right to proper service and mail it back to the authorities.
We ask you this one simple question: Why waive that legal right?
Make them come to you. And if they don't bother to do that, or if they simply don't come while someone's home, the ticket becomes legally dead in a few months. That's right -- totally dead, as in dismissed. No suspended license, no problems during police traffic stops, no penalties.
We're not even saying you should try to avoid the process server who may try to deliver the ticket. Let fate decide it: If you're home and they knock, c'est la vie.
The only penalty for doing that is roughly $25 on top of your $180 or $250 fine. You won't get better odds in Vegas.
The ethical questions pop up when you talk about proactively dodging the server. Of course, some of you may wonder about the ethics of photo enforcement itself, so maybe it's all a wash.
Still, even though the process servers may be hired by a foreign firm that's out to make a profit, (the Arizona Department of Public Safety uses the Australian photo enforcement vendor, Redflex), they are bona fide court officials under the law. Telling your kids to be quiet and turn off the lights while a guy is banging on your door yelling "Officer of the court!" -- that's just lame.
One other thing to remember: The process server might not be from Redflex, and what he's trying to give you might be something you actually want.
We studied up on photo enforcement for you last year and published a feature article, "Gotcha!", that will answer many of the questions you may have about your right to process service, the Supreme Court's sweet 120-day rule, and other methods people use to beat the tickets. For instance, you might find it interesting to know that if drivers of vehicles registered to corporations and family trusts ignore speed camera tickets, they don't even get process-served. The ticket just goes away.
There are some good books out there on the subject, and some folks want you to pay big bucks for this information, like Angel Enterprises. But the above-mentioned article tells you all you need to know, and it'll cost you nothing but a mouse click. -- Ray Stern
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism