Understanding the Timing
Under Arizona law, the following time-lines apply. 1) The ticket must be filed in court within 60 days of the alleged violation; 2) The ticket (now a complaint) must be served within 90 days of being filed in court. Theoretically, then, after a maximum of 150 days from the alleged violation has passed without proper service, the ticket can no longer result in a fine. There are two somewhat different systems and procedures when it comes to photo enforcement in Arizona.
Procedures used by DPS
The first set of procedures is used exclusively by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and its contractor (Redflex) for those photo radar (speed) generated on the highways. In that system, the alleged violator is sent a first Notice within about 10 days after the violation, and given an opportunity to waive service. Within about another 20 days, if service has not been waived, a second notice is sent. If service is still not waived by about the 50th day after the violation, only at that point will the ticket be filed in court, creating a case. A final notice is sent, and if ignored again, a process server may get involved.
Procedures used by all other agencies
The second set of procedures is used by all other agencies using photo radar or photo enforcment. There, the ticket is filed in court, creating a case, within 60 days of the alleged violation (in most cases, much faster). Then, the alleged violator is sent a Notice and given an opportunity to waive service. Within about another 20 days, if service has not been waived, a second notice may be sent. If ignored again, a process server may get involved.
Challenging for lack of personal jurisdiction
Timing is critical. Filing a written challenge attacking the personal jurisdiction of the court over the defendant must be done AFTER the case is filed in court, but BEFORE service (preferably, before it is even sent out for service). For the DPS cases, this should happen just about 60 days after the violation -- often one can see that the case has been filed online. For the non-DPS cases, this should happen just as soon as possible, after one first knows that there is an allegation -- just as soon as the very first notice is received.
How to challenge for lack of personal jurisdiction
The points in the challenge (best done and argued by an attorney) are: 1) Caption: "Motion to Dismiss - Lack of Personal Jurisdiction"; 2) Argument that without proper service the court obtains no personal jurisdiction; 3) Citation: "Until service is complete, no personal jurisdiction is obtained, and any judgment entered is void." Endischee v. Endischee, 141 Ariz. 77, 79, 685 P.2d 142, 144 (App. 1984); Kadota v. Hosogai, 125 Ariz. 131, 134, 608 P.2d 68, 71 (App. 1980); 4) Argument that service must be either personal, or by waiver, signed under penalty of perjury; 5) Citation to Tonner v. Paradise Valley Magistrate's Court, 171 Ariz. 449, 451, 831 P.2d 448, 450 (App. Div. 1, 1992); 6) Argument that there has been no service or waiver of service 7) Citation: "The incomplete service left the trial court without jurisdiction, i.e., without authority to enter the judgment." Postal Instant Press, Inc. v. Corral Restaurants, Inc., 187 Ariz. 487, 488, 930 P.2d 1001, 1002
This guide is a general statement of law, did not and could not consider all details of any particular situation, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship. If you found this guide helpful, please click the "thumbs-up" button below.