How long does it take to get a photo radar ticket in the mail in arizona

what does arizona law say about photographic radar?

Arizona law allows cities to operate photo enforcement systems. The cities primarily use two companies, Redflex and American Traffic Solutions. these companies contract with individual cities to run photographic radar programs. they make money, and the city makes money. in fact, the city of scottsdale generates nearly $4 million a year by taking photos of unsuspecting drivers.

The problem with photo radar is that most drivers are completely unaware that they have been cited. it’s not until weeks later, when they get a citation, that they realize they’ve allegedly broken the law.

Furthermore, many drivers charged by speed camera programs are driving perfectly responsibly and without danger to themselves or society. Traffic cameras are automated to take photos of drivers under certain conditions, regardless of surrounding circumstances or conditions. the purpose is not to promote driver safety or safer roads. the purpose is to generate income for the city and traffic camera companies.

I received a photo radar ticket in the mail, do I have to respond?

Many people have been told that they can “discard” or “ignore” photo radar citations that have been mailed out.

This article will explain that theory in more detail and provide you with information about your rights under Arizona law.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1592, if a photographic radar ticket is filed with the court against you, it must be served on you within 90 days from the date it was filed with the court. court.

This means that simply mailing him the summons is not enough!

The summons must be served to gain jurisdiction over you and your case.

Summary: You do not need to respond to a photo radar ticket unless you receive the ticket (unless you waive your rights – see below).

Please note that if you receive notice, you will be responsible for the process notice fee. this normally costs around $40-$100 depending on the jurisdiction.

what is the process service in photographic radar cases?

A ticket is formally “served” when a process server physically comes to your home or place of residence and delivers the service to you or someone of suitable age residing on your property.

process servers aren’t supposed to leave service documents under the rug or stuck in the doorframe (although they sometimes do).

They are supposed to physically deliver the document to a person, identify that person, and make notes about the service that was performed.

what if I already contacted the court?

There are several ways to “give up” your right to receive notice of infringement.

If you respond to the ticket, the court may consider your response an acknowledgment that you received the ticket. this usually happens when:

  • you fill out the paperwork they sent you and return it (selecting one of the options)
  • sending a letter or note saying you were not the driver
  • go to court to see the judge
  • write the judge an angry letter
  • go online and request an extension of time

Generally, calling the court and asking questions about tickets is not a waiver of service.

Similarly, viewing the images or videos online at or does not constitute a waiver of service.

This website is run by the third party vendors who install and operate these cameras.

Will they serve me in my city?

Each city has different service policies, and in general they are the following:

scottsdale photography app

scottsdale is by far the most aggressive photo enforcement entity in arizona.

In our experience, they serve almost all citations both in-state and often out-of-state.

They are also the only city in Arizona that provides an alternative service, where they get permission from the judge to send a copy by certified mail and tape or send a copy of the citation to your garage or front door.

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This is acceptable for service, so don’t be surprised if this happens.

table photo app

mesa is very aggressive with serving citations to people who live in arizona and moderately aggressive with people who live out of state.

mesa does not usually wait to serve people or give them a “grace period” to respond.

If you live in the state and receive a table summons, please wait to receive notice.

chandler photo app

chandler doesn’t have a very strong photo compliance program, but it does serve people if they are in the state of arizona.

this program is not as aggressive as scottsdale or mesa.

paradise valley photo app

paradise valley has the least aggressive photo control system in arizona.

They don’t serve people who live out of state, in our experience, and are only moderately aggressive when serving people within arizona.

However, your program seems to be increasing its focus on service in recent months, as we are seeing a higher influx of calls from people who have been served.

phoenix city photo app

the city of phoenix has a photo compliance program, but we don’t see a high enough call volume to make a conclusive statement about their process service policies here.

how long do you have to serve me?

The city has 90 days to serve you from the date the court filed the lawsuit. It is important to note that the 90 days start from the date the complaint was filed in court and not from the date of the violation.

If you think a photo radar camera flashed you but you haven’t received a citation in the mail, please note that the city has up to 60 days from the date of the violation to file the ticket with the court.


Once filed, they have 90 days to serve you the citation.

here is an example of the filing date on a scottsdale citation:

Photo Radar, R&R Law Group

To calculate the service deadline, the best tool to use is alpha tungsten. By visiting this tool, you can enter the date of service and add 90 days to calculate the actual due date. in this case, enter the information as follows:

Photo Radar, R&R Law Group

press enter to calculate the result, which will tell you when your service is due:

Photo Radar, R&R Law Group

If you have not received notice by this deadline, the city cannot legally continue to serve you and your ticket will be dismissed.

what is the “alternative service”?

Alternative photo radar ticket service only occurs with city of scottsdale tickets.

Our office has never seen it happen anywhere else.

This happens when a process server tries to notify you of the violation, but either gives up or is unsuccessful.

When this happens, they tell their company that their attempts have failed and then ask the prosecutor’s office for help.

The prosecutor will then file an “alternative service” request with the court, and the judge will almost always grant permission to use the alternative service.

This is what it looks like on the court file:

Photo Radar, R&R Law GroupYou can check your case status without waiving any of your rights by visiting the Scottsdale City Court website.

if you see a line that says the judge issued an “alternative service order,” it means the judge is allowing the court order to return to your home and post a copy of the summons on your front door or garage .

Copies must also be sent to you by mail and certified mail.

once they have affixed the document to your residence and mailed a copy, the service is effective and you must now address the summons.

they no longer need to assist you personally!

If you ignore your next court date, your case will enter a default status, the court will suspend your license, nearly double your fine, and will no longer allow you to contest your citation.

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They took care of me, now how do you fight against a fine for photographic radar?

If you believe the ticket was properly served and you still want to contest it, the case will need to move on to a hearing. civil traffic hearing

A civil traffic hearing generally involves several parties:

  • the people who want to condemn him; the police photo radar officer or traffic attendant and, in some jurisdictions, the prosecutor
  • the defense and your attorney, if you choose to hire one to help you
  • the judge who it is supposed to make an unbiased decision based on the evidence presented

In a civil traffic hearing, the government goes first and presents the evidence against you.

When they are finished, it is the defendant’s turn to ask them questions about what they have presented. This is not the time to present testimony.

After this examination or cross-examination has been completed, it is now the defense’s turn to present their evidence and testimony.

The judge has the opportunity to ask follow-up questions.

The judge will finally issue a ruling.

government evidence

When the case goes to a hearing, the government usually presents some evidence:

  1. the original ticket
  2. a photograph of the driver and his corresponding photograph from the department of motor vehicles
  3. a document of calibrations or certifications that correspond to the machine
  4. a video of the violation
  5. a scatterplot of traffic speeds
  6. a histogram of traffic patterns

The “officer” will also read a script about the nature and conditions of the area, identifying points of interest such as schools, crosswalks, businesses, parks, and other areas.

They use all this to argue that their driving was not appropriate given all this evidence.

argue against the evidence

The best method for challenging this evidence is often to argue that your evidence doesn’t show what they say it shows.

(Any constitutionality, due process, confrontation clause or right to confront your accusers routinely fails).

Instead, it’s better to use your own evidence against them.

For example, let’s review the following examples of scatter plots that are often presented by the government.

These graphs are used to illustrate the flow of traffic and the speed of each vehicle over a period of time.

In this box, the offending vehicle is definitely out of the general flow of traffic because it is well above the trigger speed and no other vehicles are traveling near that speed.

Photo Radar, R&R Law Group

Contrast that graph, with this graph which is much more reasonable:

Photo Radar, R&R Law Group

In this graphic, the offender’s vehicle activates the camera, but was actually traveling much closer in line with other traffic in the area.

In this situation, this individual’s speed can be considered much more reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, even though a citation was issued.

Unfortunately, you or your attorney do not have access to this information until the day of the hearing. this is the law in arizona.

not the driver

There are other ways to fight photographic radar tickets, including proving you weren’t actually the driver.

If you have proof that you were not in Arizona at the time of the violation or that someone else was driving, you may be able to persuade the court to dismiss the ticket.

however, this evidence must be substantial. simply submitting the form on the ticket you receive stating that you were not the driver is usually not enough.

This will almost always result in a response letter saying you cannot be excluded from being the driver.

bad calibration

In some cases, there are defective or poorly calibrated machines, as in this example:

Photo Radar, R&R Law GroupIn this case, the “RTIME” in the photo was 592.8 seconds, or almost 10 full minutes! That means the light was red for 10 minutes straight before this driver decided to go through the intersection.

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Despite this clear error and problem with the intersection, this driver still received a citation, although it was later dismissed.

what are the penalties for photographic radar?

Photo camera violations are civil traffic offenses and are generally not criminal.

there are fines and points associated with civil traffic violations:

  • speeding is 3 points and the fine increases with speed
  • red light violations are 2 point violations and generally a fine of approximately $250

Convictions for red light violations also require completion of driver survival school, which is very different from defensive driving school.

Road Survival School is an eight hour course that must be completed in person and does not drop points. this class normally costs around $150.

an accumulation of too many photographic radar or other violations can lead to a points license suspension.

the arizona department of motor vehicles starts penalizing drivers when they reach 8 points.

Insurance rates typically increase as well, depending on the insurance provider, the driving record, and the nature of the violation.

However, if insurance rates go up $50/month over a 36-month period, that equals $1,800!

whether insurance rates are important to consider when determining whether or not to fight a photographic radar violation.

Do I need a lawyer for my photographic radar ticket?

You may not need to hire an attorney if you have received a traffic camera ticket by mail if:

  • you are eligible for defensive driving school (this is cheaper than hiring a lawyer)
  • you are not in danger of having your license suspended
  • you are not concerned about the insurance rate going up
  • you are not a commercial driver or cdl holder
  • you were not the driver of the vehicle at all (sometimes you can handle this yourself )
  • has not been notified or alternatively notified

It may be a good idea to hire a lawyer if:

  • is facing a license suspension
  • has multiple citations
  • has a cdl license

how much does a lawyer cost for photographic radar tickets?

We have provided the information on this page to help you determine whether or not it is worth hiring an attorney. in many cases, it doesn’t make sense from a cost perspective. however, there are certain situations where adequate defense is a must.

For most violations, our office charges no less than $750 per citation. this cost varies according to the jurisdiction and the particular situation. for multiple violations, the fee may be reduced based on what is reasonably necessary for adequate representation.

This cost is more than paying the citation. however, it is important to consider the additional costs that may be imposed on you in terms of insurance fees and the possibility of license suspension.

what are my chances of winning this ticket?

This is a great and very common question.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for us to respond until we start working on your case.

The evidence we need to review is not available to us until the day of the hearing.

however, in general:

  • for speeding violations: the lower the speed, the higher the chances
  • for red light tickets: the lower the “rtime” in the photo, the higher the possibilities

Each jurisdiction has unique details in how they enforce photographic radar violations.

If you are considering hiring an attorney, it is best to have a more detailed consultation on the details of your case by submitting your summons below.

I’ve read this page and still want to talk to a lawyer!

Because a high volume of these tickets are issued each month, we ask that you help us review your case by completing the form below. this will help speed up the process and provide you with a more accurate quote should you decide you need additional help. Thanks for understanding!

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