Fight a Photo Radar Camera Ticket

This site isn't here to tell you how to break the law or teach you how to undermine authorities. Yet, if you want to protect yourself from an unwarranted photo radar citation, here's how:

  • Know where the photo radar camera locations are throughout the valley. A sure-fire way to avoid a ticket, is to not speed in those areas at all.

  • Fight the ticket! Call the court and set up a trial. If you feel it's unjust, unfair, and unwarranted and you know you're innocent, then present your evidence to the judge. There's a lot of things a camera cant catch and a lot of factors a machine cant calculate; your judge will know as such.

  • Remember it must be you and not just your car. If the court cannot provide photographic evidence that it was you driving and breaking the law, then it will be dismissed. Also if you do happen to know who was driving your vehicle at the time, you are not required to disclose that information.

  • It is a requirement that the citation be mailed to you within 15 days of the offense. If after, it's grounds for dismissal as you would have not been given ample time to prepare, request a hearing, etc. before action is taken. It's important that the details of the offense are still clear in your mind, otherwise, it'd be difficult and unfair, making fighting next to impossible.

  • Proof of service is your hail mary pass. It is required that the issuing agency prove that you received the citation. If it arrives in the mail, just ignore it and you can reasonably argue that you never got it. They could choose to hire a process server to "serve" you with the citation, but that's costly and not very likely. Even so, you can dodge the servers quite easily if needed. If your ticket isn't served or signed, the court must dismiss it after four months.

Know the Law

The easiest and most common way to avoid an unjust ticket is to simply know the laws and your rights as a motorist. As any judge will tell you, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Photo Enforcement Zones & Sign Posting

Photo enforcement systems must be clearly marked for motorists according to Arizona law. However, failure to adequately warn motorists can often lead to an acquittal from an unjust ticket. According to the Arizona Revised Statutes for Transportation, section 28-654, a motoristís citation has grounds for dismissal if any of the following was not true:

1. At least two signs shall be placed in a location before a photo enforcement system. One sign shall be in a location that is approximately three hundred feet before the photo enforcement system. Placement of additional signs shall be more than three hundred feet before a photo enforcement system to provide reasonable notice to a person that a photo enforcement system is present and operational.

2. Signs indicating a photo enforcement system shall be removed or covered when the photo enforcement system is no longer present or not operating.

C. Signs erected by a local authority or agency of this state as prescribed in this section shall contain a yellow warning notice and correlate with and as far as possible conform to the system set forth in the most recent edition of the manual on uniform traffic control devices for streets and highways adopted by the director pursuant to section 28-641.

The laws stated above apply to all photo radar enforcement, whether it is a stationary system (highways) or a mobile photo radar vehicle (Side streets). However, there is an exception for mobile photo radar vehicles that are located on streets with a posted speed limit of 40mph or less. Its reads: "[The above laws do not] apply to a mobile photo enforcement vehicle during the time a mobile photo enforcement vehicle is deployed on streets with a posted speed limit of forty miles per hour or less."

In other words, if the posted speed limit is above 40mph, two signs with a yellow warning notice are required. If the posted speed limit is less than 40mph, the law does not require any signs or notices be posted.

To further protect a motorist from illegal or illegitimate traffic obedience signs, section 28-644 of article 3, Chapter 3 (TRAFFIC AND VEHICLE REGULATION) clearly states that one is not responsible for signs that were not sufficiently legible or visible. It reads:

B. Any provision of this chapter that requires signs shall not be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official sign is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. If a particular section of law does not state that signs are required, that section is effective even though no signs are erected or in place.

Speed Limits & Reasonable and Prudent speed

Unless otherwise noted, there is always a pre-determined speed limit, based upon what type of property zone you are currently driving through. This is referred to as a "reasonable and prudent speed" and is clearly laid out in Chapter 3, Article 6 (Reasonable and prudent speed; prima facie evidence; exceptions) as follows:

A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.

B. Except as provided in subsections C and D of this section or except if a special hazard requires a lesser speed, any speed in excess of the following speeds is prima facie evidence that the speed is too great and therefore unreasonable:

1. Fifteen miles per hour approaching a school crossing.

2. Twenty-five miles per hour in a business or residential district.

3. Sixty-five miles per hour in other locations.

C. The speed limits prescribed in this section may be altered as authorized in sections 28-702 and 28-703.

D. The maximum speed provided in this section is reduced to the speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and with regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, including the following conditions:

1. Approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad crossing.

2. Approaching and going around a curve.

3. Approaching a hillcrest.

4. Traveling on a narrow or winding roadway.

5. A special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

E. A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed that is less than the speed that is reasonable and prudent under existing conditions.

Excessive speeds; classification

There are also statutes in place that specify what is automatically considered a violation of reasonable and prudent speed. The law states that a person shall not:

1. Exceed thirty-five miles per hour approaching a school crossing.

2. Exceed the posted speed limit in a business or residential district by more than twenty miles per hour, or if no speed limit is posted, exceed forty-five miles per hour.

3. Exceed eighty-five miles per hour in other locations.

Speed Zone Signs

An easy way to protect yourself from simple misunderstandings is to understand where speed zones begin and end. According to Chapter 3, Article 6 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, a speed zone falls under the default speed limits unless posted otherwise. Section 28-703.01 establishes that a speed zone continues from the posted sign until another sign bearing either the legend "resume speed" or a new maximum speed is set. Section 28-703.01 clearly states the end of a speed zone must be designated by a sign and reads:

The agency or authority establishing a speed zone under section 28-702 or 28-703 is responsible for erecting:

1. At the beginning of each zone a sign designating the maximum allowable speed within the zone.

2. At the end of each zone a sign bearing either the legend "resume speed" or setting forth the new maximum speed limit.

Also, you can also assume the drop in speeds between speed zones will never be more than a 10mph difference (not including school zones), as sentence F of Section 28-703 states:

"A local authority shall not make more than six alterations per mile along a street or highway pursuant to this section, except for reduced limits at intersections. The difference between adjacent limits shall not be more than ten miles per hour except for school crossings."