Has your license been suspended?

Your license could be suspended and you may not even know it. In yet another colossal failure of photo enforcement, you may have been cited with a traffic citation and never been notified. Since you didn’t pay the ticket you didn’t know about, some judge suspended your license when you didn’t show up to court for the hearing you didn’t know about.

This is an increasing epidemic in they city of Scottsdale, where photo enforcement has been in place for years.

This week, KPHO reports on Elizabeth Vaughan, who recently lost a job because a background check revealed a suspended license due to a photo radar ticket from 10 years ago that she was never notified of.

On September 29, 2009 AZFamily’s 3 on your side segment reported that Patty Parker found out that her license was suspended when Phoenix police pulled her over and told her that her license was suspended. Research revealed that a judge suspended her license after Patty failed to respond to 4 mailed tickets that she never received, despite no Declaration of Service ever being filed.

On September 5, 2009 KPHO reported on Ken Lind, whose license was suspended after he was ticketed in April 2000 without his knowledge and without being served. Lind has already spent hundreds of dollars getting his record cleansed and license reinstated.

Like a broken record, Scottsdale spokesman never seem to have an explanation. Officials insist that the purpose of photo enforcement is safety. But if people are never notified, how is it supposed to have any effect on how people drive? The biggest fallacy associated with photo enforcement is the belief that notifying people weeks, months, or years after they’ve violated a law will have an effect on their habits and behavior.

More importantly, is this how the people of Scottsdale and surrounding communities wish to be governed? Is unknowingly suspending people’s licenses really going to be effective at keeping our roads safe? Is this the burden we wish ourselves and others to suffer just so cities can make a few extra million dollars? The people of Scottsdale and its visitors deserve better. Cops, not cameras!

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4 Comments

  1. FLOYD CHANDLER
    Posted October 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    THEY SAY THE POLICE ARE ALWAYS RIGHT EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG AND THE SAME APPLYS TO PHOTO RADAR. I WERE TO GET SOMETHING LIKE THIS I WOULD FIGHT IT ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT AND THEN SOME. YEARS AGO A POLICE OFFICER WAS GOING TO WRITE ME A TICKET FOR DOING 55 IN A 45 I SPEED UP WHEN I SAW THE SIGN THAT SAID 55 AND HE TOLD ME THAT I COULD NOT SPEED UP UNTIL I PASSED THE SIGN I THEN SAID OK WHEN I GET BACK FROM HOLBRUCK AZ. AND I SEE THE SIGN THAT SAYS SLOW TO 45 I DON’T HAVE TO SLOW DOWN UNTIL I PASS THAT SIGN HE SAID NO WHEN YOU SEE THE SIGN I THEN SAID THE I AM RIGHT IN GOING UP TO 55 WHEN I SAW THIS SIGN HE LOOKED PUZZLED AND SAID I GUESS YOU ARE RIGHT AND DID NOT WRITE ME A TICKET .

  2. Danielle Ichelson
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    On Friday November 5, 2010 I received in the mail a suspension of drivers privelages and a collection notice of a ticket that was now double the price and soon to be another 20% higher. I never received a photo radar ticket in the mail. We have problems at our local post office facility where packages and mail are often lost! I have two pending claims as we speak for missing packages. After contacting the court I was told that a server came to my house four times and posted it to my door all in October. I found this amusing as I have had my car in the shop for now 38 days and have been home everyday after 10am and not one time did anyone visit my door or leave anything. So being forced to now attend court I went straight to our city court and spend 5 hours there trying to stop suspension. I was able to motion for a new court date and pay a CASH BOND of 287.00 (the amount of the ticket) to stop suspension otherwise even with a new court date request my license would have stayed suspended. So as I had no choice I payed. Now today I find myself trying to figure out how to get to MVD to now pay a reinstatement fee for my license. NOt only that but information has already been reported on my driving record for a suspension. SO not only does a photo radar ticket take more money out of your pocket and cause additional stress for a ticket that MAY OR NOT be you but it ruins your driving record which could possibly raise insurance rates or cost jobs etc.

    Oh and on top of it they suspended my license and stated they verified my pics against my license prior to issueing a ticket back in July. Funny thing is I didn’t have an Arizona license back in July!

  3. Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Three days ago, I received a “Payment Coupon” in the mail stating I owed the South Mountain Justice Court $291.50. After making numerous calls I discovered it was for a Photo Radar ticket snapped back in March 2010. I have not received one piece of evidence that I was caught by the camera and like the lady above, have never seen one piece of notice that I had been cited or served YET, the courts have already judged the case and assigned the fine and suspended my license.

    If our justice system and its partners are that corrupt, we surely have NO HOPE any longer. What a shame. This use to be a great country to live in and in some respects still is, but this type of injustice needs to be STOPPED NOW!!!

    • John
      Posted March 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Bear in mind that John Wintersteen, retired Paradise Valley police chief, filed a rule change petition with the Arizona Supreme Court, seeking to allow photoradar citations to be sent by first class mail, and not served by a process server.

      In a gross exaggeration, Wintersteen claimed that the requirement of personal service was costing “millions” to enforce. That is not true. If service is necessary, and the driver is found responsible, the driver is responsible for paying the cost of service as well as the fine.

      There is a serious due process problem with allowing service by first class mail. If a ticket is served, and no response is made, the person’s driver’s license is suspended, and that can result is serious consequences down the road. We should not subject drivers to that sort of risk based on the unsworn statement of a government employee that a document was placed in the mailbox, when there is no proof that the document was either sent or received.

      Fortunately, respect for due process law is not entirely dead in Arizona, as the Supreme Court of Arizona rejected Wintersteen’s petition.


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