Guilty! And You Didn’t Even Know It

An injustice to one is an injustice to all

An injustice to one is an injustice to all

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!


43 Responses to Guilty! And You Didn’t Even Know It

  1. LoneWolf says:

    Wow, it’s a good thing that courts don’t have to follow the state laws and can do as they pretty much please in order to nail that extra dollar. Note C 1-5:

  2. Subversive Menace says:

    It is guilty until proven innocent these days, thanks to our corrupt law makers and law enforcement leaders.

  3. Ernest Hater says:

    As ETB will say, don’t speed and just pay your ticket.

    HOW THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO PAY FOR SOMETHING WE NEVER RECEIVED? Also, even if you don’t speed, these things can and do snap the people that are not speeding or breaking the law.

  4. capitalfraud says:

    A fundamental principle of the common law was established in 1689 as a defense against tyranny, expressed as follows: “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.”

    In more modern words: you can’t impose the punishment before there’s a trial (by jury).

    You can’t have parking tickets and scamera tickets without violating this principle. That’s why parking and scamera tickets are an expression of tyranny.

  5. who says:

    can any of these people prove that they didn’t receive the notice of violation?

    • Mike says:

      Ummm… Not sure how it works there in Australia, but last I checked in America you were innocent until proven guilty. So the burden of proof rests on the state.

      • Camera Hater says:

        Hey, Mike. I can answer that. Yes, in Australia they have reversed the onus of proof (violating legal principles previously shared by the US, UK and Australia). If the camera snaps you, you are guilty unless proven innocent (the latter being virtually impossioble to achieve). AND, the photo doesn’t have to identify the driver. If the car owner cannot identify who was driving the car at the time of the offence, he or she automatically gets the ticket (and demerits). Welcome to Australia, which has gone back to its convict settlement roots.

    • Mike is correct. If there’s no Declaration of Service and there’s been no approved motion for alternative service, then legally, the person hasn’t received anything.

    • Sure says:

      Oh God Who, give us something better than that. I am starting to feel sorry for you

  6. kandaris says:

    The reality is and what we have forgotten as a people is that “WE” have the right to demand 100% accuracy from any system that infringes upon our rights. We of course all know that in practice we can only hope for something like 99 point something percent accuracy. The thing is automated ticketing does not even approach a 99% accuracy rate, and OH DUH! “Who” you need to study up on how our legal system works… The burden of proof of any wrong doing is on the State, not the accused.

  7. Many people choose to ignore the mailed citations. It could come back and haunt you — look at the KPHO story.

    • who says:

      people throw the ticket away, like this site advises.
      then all a sudden they find there license suspended, insurance suspended, hefty fines. And what is the first thing they say? “oh I never got it, how can you do this to me, waaaa”
      This site also does a HUGE dis-service to the general public every time they tell people to just throw away their tickets. They never warn people that their crummy advice can come with the consequences listed above.
      Someday, someone pissed off is gonna say “I threw away my ticket like CF said it was ok to do, and now my license is suspended”

      • So we are suppose to assume that the system won’t work as advertised? That the government won’t follow its own laws? Please.

      • LoneWolf says:

        If you’ve ever read beyond the word “advice” on this website, you might find some useful information on why people can get away with tossing their tickets.

        The tickets are sent through the mail. There’s never a 100% guarantee that people will receive their mail. What happens? -People move. -Mail gets stolen. -Mail gets lost. -Mail gets sent to the wrong address. -Mail accidently gets tossed out. -Mail gets opened by the wrong person. And the list goes on. If someone tears their ticket up and claims they’ve never received it, there’s absolutely no way to prove that one of the above didn’t happen.

        What happens with the process server? People don’t like opening their doors for strangers and solicitors in this city. Can you blame them or do you keep your doors unlocked all the time? Again, people move. The vehicle’s driver might not be home when the paper is served. The paper might have an incorrect address on it. Whatever.. some process servers cheat and leave the papers behind anyway and then claim the vehicle’s driver received the papers. Here again, how do you prove that someone is purposely avoiding the process server?

        Obviously, this works for some of the people here but maybe it doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a matter of individual choices. Nobody here is forcing anyone to do anything. The advice you see is based on individual experiences. You can either take it as a grain of salt or you can try it and see what happens. Because of the fact that these tickets are hard to dispute even if a scamera or whoever processes the ticket makes a mistake, people would be better off just to shred the ticket and claim they’ve never received it than to take it to court and risk having to pay up anyway. But again, how do you prove that they received the ticket in the first place? How do you prove that they were served? Put your thinking cap on who, and quit making us think that you’re as dumb as you’d like us to think you are.

        • I know how you can prove someone received a ticket. Pull them over right after you catch them! Cops, not cameras!

          • LoneWolf says:

            At least that’s what they used to do in the olden days before the scameras came along. I’m pretty sure the percentage of people who paid or disputed their tickets was closer to 100% which is a lot better compared to the small percentage of people who (supposedly) receive tickets from the scameras.

    • kandaris says:

      True, It may… but we all need to continue to resist with whatever civil means available to us, so I hope more people continue to ignore these illegal fishing for fines letters so that their scam becomes even less profitable.

      • who says:

        So again, you advise people to ignore the notices, which will lead to getting served, which the cost of is added onto the violation.
        On your meetup site you’ve had plenty of members describe the ‘getting served’ process. They describe basicly how they’ve forced their family to live on ‘lock down’, not answering the door, avoiding going outside etc. I don’t think it’s to fair to put your family through that just because you can’t slow down.
        Either way, you advise people to ignore the violations, which only lead to serious issues that you fail to advise of.

        • Subversive Menace says:

          Who, your sense of fairness is some serious back ass wards. Where are you from? Alabama?

          Whatever Who says we shouldn’t do is EXACTLY what is working!

    • Ernest Hater says:

      Mail is not considered PROPER SERVICE!

      Maybe they should just start sending out the process servers immediately after the photo was snapped. Of course that would then eat into the profits big time.

  8. Check your driving record for $3 at

    Make sure that a process server hasn’t erroneously reported that you were served a bill errr ticket.

  9. Raymond says:

    Board Wants Higher Speed Camera Fees
    Updated: Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 1:10 PM MDT
    Published : Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009, 1:10 PM MDT

    Valley drivers who don’t take their photo radar tickets seriously could be paying more!

    The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants to tack on a $20 fee to drivers who ignor citations and end up in court.

    More News »

    The fee is to cover the extra court costs.

    Caseloads have increased by more than 60 percent since photo enforcement began.

    Supervisors are planning a public hearing on the proposed increase next month.

    • LoneWolf says:

      Your link isn’t working right. Hopefully, this one does:

      They can tack on all the money they want but how do they prove that the offending driver received the ticket in the first place? They can’t.. such a fee is nothing more than a scare tactic to get more people to acknowledge their tickets.

    • The system is overwhelmed. The next step is collapse.

    • Added fees are just wrong. Court costs should be figured into the fines already.

      It’s not the finee’s fault that the courts are under-funded for DPS’s pet fund raising project.

      And if they’re going to charge fees for citizens to contest fines, then how about restitution for citizens who are wrongly accused? Who’s going to reimburse my costs associated with fighting a ticket due to their malfunctioning machine?

      If the city/state/county wants to go through the trouble of citing someone, then they had better be prepared to absorb the costs of doing so and set the fines to a level that makes sense to begin with so that anyone can excersie their constitutional right to challenge any accusations for free.

    • jim says:

      the only reason to raise the fines is because whoever profits from photo enforcement can see the handwriting on the wall that the cameras are on the way out and they want to collect as much as they can before the money maker is gone

  10. Dr Jett says:

    You keep on proving time and time again that you are dumber than a box of rocks. I beat several PR tickets due to improper service because the server tried to do a fake serve and throw them on the ground of a house that I didn’t live in. The burden of proof is on the courts to show that you have received proper service. No family is on ‘lockdown’. The only strangers that show up at your door are people that want to waste your time, so why would you bother answering your doors to strangers at all?

    • Ernest Hater says:

      You are trying to reason with a box of rocks. Who probably answers the door for everyone that comes to their door.

  11. LoneWolf says:

    From Illinois:

    Driver convicted of speeding without ever receiving a ticket:

    An officer with the state police claimed it was an isolated incident but the circuit court clerk suggested that such tickets have been quite common.

  12. Stand4something says:


    How, exactly, do you suggest someone could prove they DIDN’T receive notice of violation? I was the woman in the KPHO story, and was forced to defend myself in a hearing in Scottsdale city court. The city could not furnish a copy of the violation, a photo or any documentation other than an order to pay $252.50 from a violation that allegedly occured on October 8, 1999.

    How do you PROVE non-service? Non-receipt? Clearly, the burden of proof lies with the accuser…not the other way around.

    When forced to face that simple legal fact, the judge had no choice but to dismiss the charges. For me, however, the damage was already done.

    • LoneWolf says:

      Hi there. These posts are old and it’s highly unlikely that ‘who’ would come back here and notice any new questions directed toward him (or her).. not that who answers questions anyway. But please feel free to butt in under whatever current article is posted so you’d have a better chance of getting your message seen and responded to. Btw, that was really great that you stood your ground on that one. I’m very sorry to hear you’ve lost a job opportunity because of it. I hope we can continue to discuss this under a most recent topic where everyone can put in their 2 cents worth.

  13. Stand4something says:

    Hiya LoneWolf.

    Thanks for the input. I’ll be sure to post my thoughts where they’ll be read from now on.


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