What Should I Do if I Receive a Photo-ticket in Arizona?
You have four options upon receiving a photo-ticket in the mail. The first option is to accept responsibility and pay the ticket. Be aware that such tickets may carry points which add to your insurance-risk and costs.
The second option is to attend traffic school, if you are eligible (you may attend only once every two years). This avoids points being added to your license, but the school can be costly and time-consuming.
The third option is to respond to the photo-ticket that you received in the mail and fight it in court. Generally, the mailed ticket will have complete instructions on how to proceed with these first three options. What they won't tell you about, is your fourth option.
The fourth option is to ignore the ticket-that's right-ignore it. In Arizona, a civil traffic ticket is a complaint and an accompanying summons must be served on you. When the police write a ticket, the form is actually a "Complaint and Summons." Valid service of a complaint is accomplished by actually handing the ticket to you (police ask you to sign the ticket when you get one in-person to prove that you were aware of service). Service can also be accomplished by leaving the summons and complaint at your residence with a person who is at least 16 years old, and who lives at the residence.
If that happens, do not ignore it. Once it is actually served, you must answer for it in some manner. If you do not answer for it, you may lose the case by default, your license could be suspended, and you may be responsible for collection fees. If you are served, you fight the ticket and lose, you will be responsible for paying for the cost of service of the summons in addition to the fine-generally service costs about $35-$50. The police have only 120 days from the date of the alleged violation within which to serve you.