When you receive a photo radar ticket in the mail, you have four options:
Pay the ticket.
This is probably the worst option of the 4 available options.
Ignore the ticket.
The State (the “State” is who issues the ticket, regardless of whether your ticket is from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, etc.) sends a photo radar ticket in the mail in an effort to save the expense of having the recipient personally served with the ticket, known as service of process. Service of process involves a person licensed with the court delivering the ticket to the driver or a person who lives with the driver. Service of process is a necessary step before the court can take action against the driver, and before the driver is required to respond to the ticket. If the driver sends back any written communication to the court (like the coupons that came with the ticket), the driver will waive the service requirement. Courts may also consider a telephone call a waiver of service, even though that is not legally correct. In summary, a driver can ignore the mailed ticket until it is served (or service is waived). If the ticket you received is labeled a “complaint,” the court has 90 days from the date the complaint was issued to serve it. If the ticket is not served in that time, and the driver does not waive service, the ticket will be dismissed.
Take Defensive Driving School.
You may opt to take defensive driving school, aka defensive driving diversion, if you are eligible (no commercial drivers license, have not taken the class for an Arizona ticket within the last 12 months). This is a 4 hour class that can be taken online, and upon completion the ticket will be dismissed and no fine will be assessed. The class costs around $200, and the court receives a substantial portion of that fee. This class can also be taken anytime after you receive the photo radar ticket in the mail, even after the ticket is served, if it is served. You can go to azdrive.com for a list of class providers.
Hire an attorney to fight the ticket.
You can hire an attorney before or after service of process, but an attorney is often able to achieve better results if they get involved in the case before service of process occurs and before the driver inadvertently waives any defense arguments. All to often drivers call our office after they have taken some action that has harmed their case, and that could have been avoided had they spoken to us first.