Registered owners who were not driving yet received a ticket, albeit illegally, often react by sending in their driver's licenses to the city thinking the case will be dismissed. Not unreasonable, right? By responding, even to say you weren't driving, you are waiving service according to the court. The police might not believe you leaving you having to pay the fine or have a hearing. You don't have to identify the driver in order to get the case dismissed. Remember the ticket isn't legal to begin with if it was issued to someone who wasn't driving. The city will take the info you would give them about who was pictured driving and send that person a ticket. If it's your son or daughter, here comes an insurance increase. If it's a friend, well, you get to explain that you turned him or her in. When you didn't have to. Instead, keep in mind that the city has 60 days from the date of the alleged violation to file a ticket (against the real driver) and 90 days from filing to serve it. So check the dates and keep in mind that you might be opening Pandora's box by responding.
It was a bold move. The Arizona State legislature passed a bill into law that puts requirements on the use of "alternate service" in photo radar cases. Some cities began using the alternative service rule found in the Rules of Civil Procedure in response to the number of photo radar tickets that could not be served. The rule, meant for defendants who "dodge" process servers or for other reasons are nearly impossible to serve, was loosely interpreted by some hearing officers to apply to situations where a process server visits a residence a few times, finds no one home and then applies for alternative service. The procedure became pro forma and defendants who challenged it were unsuccessful.
Cities may have been reacting to the publicity that a defendant did not have to answer a mailed ticket and that it would have to be served. Some defendants got an unwelcome surprise when their cases defaulted and licenses got suspended. In applying for the orders for Alternative Service the process server merely states his or her attempts (knocked on the door, thought I heard someone inside) without having to provide proof that the defendant resided at the address, was at work and perhaps even out of town. The idea of service personally is to ensure that a defendant is aware of a complaint and aware of the duty to respond.
Can it be the cities that use alternative service were banking on defendants' ignorance? Even in lawsuits where alternative service is more likely to be used and only under extreme circumstances, a court will rarely allow mailing to constitute adequate notice. Defendants who appealed were disappointed. There seemed to be no way to ensure that alternative service wasn't used to catch the unwary. So the Arizona State legislature acted.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 28-1602 has been amended to add a subsection C which provides that alternative service must be sent by certified mail with an additional copy by regular mail and a notice must be posted on the front door and a residence's garage door if accessible.
Let's play devil's advocate for a minute: will cities interpret this new law to mean that they merely have to send certified mail (along with the other requirements) without having to prove it was received?
Sixteen states have passed laws or have court decisions making photo radar and/or red light cameras illegal including Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Florida and Georgia currently use red light cameras only. Hawaii, Idaho, Connecticut, Iowa, Ohio, Kansas and Kentucky are a few of the states that have no law on the books either way. Speed cameras are banned in New Jersey and Texas which allow red lights under some circumstances. What do you think? Would you ban both red light cameras and speed cameras?
Sometimes when drivers ignore mailed photo radar tickets the court sends a process server. If the process server doesn't find the driver home they apply for an order. The court can issue an order allowing the ticket to be mailed and to be attached to a door. This "Order for Alternative Service" requires drivers to respond. This is an exception to the notion that a driver can ignore a mailed ticket.
The photo radar program has come to an end in Prescott Valley now that the contract with the town’s provider has expired. You can read the entire article at this link. A shout-out to PhotoRadarScam for the news update and their great website. For lots of information about photo radar, visit us at PhotoRadarLaw.com and then stop in at PhotoRadarScam’s website and learn even more! Drive safe!