I know that i had ran the red light and it is very obvious. I have been doing some research for my state (AZ) and i am thinking of ignoring this letter and making them serve me in person. My questions is that if i do happen to get served, will i still be able to attend a Defensive Driving course or will that be waived? I assume when/if i am served they will provide another court date, so would i have the opportunity to be able to attend a defensive driving class 7 days before my court date? Whats the best approach for this situation (Other than not committing the offense, which i have learned from my mistake)
Thanks in advance,
SINCE THIS IS A PHOTO ENFORCEMENT MATTER IN ARIZONA, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY IGNORE THE NON-ARIZONA ATTORNEY ANSWERS.
In Arizona, until you are properly served, the court cannot legally do anything. Personal service is effective if the defendant is personally served (that means, the process server says words to the effect that the documents are important legal documents, and they are offered to the defendant, and then left for the defendant). Personal service (on a substitute) is also effective, if it is at the defendant's residence, and the individual who is served is a co-resident, of suitable age and discretion. Residence, not mail box place.
It is not necessary that the person being served accept the papers, that the process server offered them and then left them for the person served when they refused to take them is usually enough.
If the service is at the residence of the defendant, and the person encountered by the process server is of suitable age (14 or older, usually) and discretion (not incompetent), then this would constitute substitute service, and it is valid, as long as the person is also a co-resident at that residence.
A worker (landscape maintenance, domestic, service and repair, etc.) who is not a co-resident is not a proper substitute for accepting service. A visiting family member who does not live there (even if they are an overnight guest), is not a proper substitute for accepting service.
Importantly, the rules state that service at THE HOME of the defendant, upon a person who LIVES WITH the defendant, is proper, if that person is OF SUITABLE AGE AND DISCRETION.
The real tricky part of this is that, if you are not properly served, but the court is told you were, then a default could be entered against you, your license could be suspended, and more, if you don't take action.
If the ticket was issued by Scottsdale, they may obtain an order from the court permitting alternative service, mailing it and taping it to the mail address door.
When challenging sufficiency of service, one must be very careful to only challenge the service, as raising any other issue could be deemed by the court as waiving service and accepting personal jurisdiction.
Now that all that has been explained, you retain the ability to use Defensive Driving, even if you are served. Since being found responsible for a red light violation would cause you to also have to complete an 8-hour Traffic Survival School (which is NOT Defensive Driving), we routinely recommend taking Defensive Driving to resolve a red light ticket, if you are at all eligible.
At this stage, it is your call to make, to wait to see if you get served (95% chance of that), or just go ahead and get Defensive Driving done. It is a small thing, but if you are served, the court will add a $25 to $40 fee on top of your fine for the service, which would need to be paid, even if you can avoid the fine by using Defensive Driving.
You should certainly seek out the services of a competent and experienced attorney to review this matter with you carefully, to perhaps challenge the service based upon the lack of proper service if it is questionable, all while avoiding waiving service or appearing generally, and all that to avoid unnecessarily being held responsible.
-- Michael Kielsky
Counselor & Attorney at Law
Kielsky Rike PLLC
Tempe, AZ 85282
This answer is a general statement of law, did not and could not consider all details of your situation, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship. If you found this answer helpful, please click the "thumbs-up" button below this answer.
First of all cities are much more likely to serve you than the county. The county sends a DPS officer. The city hires process servers. I have known a process server to make up information about service.
You have to call in the court to extend so you can take DDS before a certain date to have the ticket dismissed. They will give you a new date.
The above statement should not be construed as legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is provided purely for informational purposes. You are advised to seek legal advice from an attorney and NOT AN UNLICENSED PARALEGAL SERVICE for any legal questions you have.
You have every right to require the government to serve you in person. Doing so will not waive your option to do traffic school if you are eligible. If they serve you after the current date, then yes, they will set a new hearing date. Most cities pass along the cost of service to you and add it to any citation cost for the case, usually around $55. Also, although this site is anonymous, it is not wise to admit fault on any kind of public forum. If you are served, you would be wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney on your options for this kind of case. There are defenses to them.
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