In Arizona a Notice of Violation is usually issued after the camera flashes. This is prior to an actual ticket. Rule 38, Rules of Procedure, Civil Traffic & Civil Boating Cases. (See link below to access the Rules over the internet). The delivery "must be initiated within ten days of the violation." Rule 42. That means the Notice of Violation must be mailed within 10 days of the alleged violation. Do not count the day of the violation, start counting the day after the alleged violation. If the Notice is not mailed or hand-delivered within this ten-day period it is void. Rule 42.
40-Day Waiting Period
Next, there is a 40-day waiting period from the date of the alleged violation. Again, do not count the day of the violation. During this period, one of the following will happen: (i) the alleged violator denies responsibility; (ii) the alleged violator admits responsibility but fails to pay the fine; or (iii) the alleged violator does not respond. Rule 44. Note: if the fine is paid at this point, because there is no actual ticket yet, no points will go on your driving record. A.R.S. A? 41-1722(D). However, an abstract will be sent to Arizona Department of Transportation if you are driving on a commercial driver's license. A.R.S. A? 41-1722(D).
Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint
If the 40-day waiting period terminates without a response, then the issuing agency has 20 days to file a formal ticket, an Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint ("complaint"). Rule 44 (issuing agency has 60 days from the date of violation to file a complaint). The issuing agency then must mail the ticket within ten days after filing the complaint. Rule 45. If you respond by admitting or denying responsibility, the court has personal jurisdiction over you. Rule 45(d).
Personal Service of the Complaint (90 days from filing of complaint)
If you do not respond to the ticket, then the issuing agency must serve you by personal service or abode service (service upon an individual of a responsible age at your home). Rule 45(e)(referencing Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1(d)). The service must occur within 90 days from the date that the complaint was filed. A.R.S. A? 28-1592(B)(2). If service is made, then the alleged violator must pay for the cost of service in addition to the cost of the photo radar ticket. Rule 45(e). Until you are served or answer the complaint, the court does not have authority, or personal jurisdiction, over you.
NOTE: THE LAW MAY HAVE CHANGED
This guide is not a substitute for legal advice, as the law changes. In other words, talk to an attorney or read the Rules cited (and any other Rules that may have been added). For example, the Arizona legislature sent a bill to the government on April 20, 2011 that would permit service by certified mail for cities that continue to use photo radar. (Senate Bill 1398).