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How to Beat the Photo Ticket System

Red Light Cameras, Speed Limits, Traffic Cameras

More and more municipalities throughout America and the world have relegated the enforcement of traffic laws to a system of automated cameras. But this system is not only far from perfect, it is full of holes (or loop holes, if you will). As a caveat, I would like to state that the following list of ten proven ways of beating the traffic cameras is specific to the state of Arizona, the camera methods used in Arizona, and the laws in the state of Arizona. If you live elsewhere, perhaps this list can send you in the right direction when doing your own investigation of the methods and laws in your home state.

1) Register your vehicle to a corporation, a limited liability corporation (LLC), a limited partnership, or a family trust. Photo traffic violations can only be issued when the vehicle in question is registered to a private citizen. All other vehicles are exempt from the photo traffic enforcement law. It costs $50 to form your own personal LLC in Arizona, and the IRS will not require any special paperwork, and it will not affect your insurance. It’s the most popular method used in Arizona.

2) Cross register your car with your spouse’s car. If the personal description of the driver as stated on the driver’s license linked to the vehicle’s registration does not clearly match, a photo ticket cannot be issued. The bottom line is, that as long as you’re driving somebody else’s vehicle, you cannot received a photo ticket.

3) Avoid the processor. What most people don’t realize is that the ticket you received in the mail is not a real ticket until you have been served with an official summons. And it must be served within 120 days. Process servers usually don’t get involved till the last thirty days, and the only information they have about you is the description on your license and your home address. They almost always come in the evenings and on the weekends. So, if you’re willing to play cat & mouse with the server and think you can win, you can beat the ticket. After 120 days, all photo tickets are dismissed if a summons has not been served.

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4) Register your car at a P.O. Box address. A process server cannot serve a box, and as a result, photo tickets are never issued when the address on the registration is a P.O. Box.

5) Place a plastic shield over your license plate. The law states that your rear license plate must visible to the human eye at a distance of six feet. But it says nothing about being visible to a camera. A standard plastic shield will produce enough glare to render the photo ticket cameras useless. If clear photographs cannot be gotten, photo tickets are not issued.

6) If you drive a motorcycle, wear a helmet that shields your face. Without a clear picture of your face, the photo ticket is not valid. Wearing believable masks may work as well, but be forewarned that driving around with a mask of Richard Nixon on your face will get the attention of the police.

7) Drive a rental car. Technically, the rental car company can rat you out, but in practice most do not. Rental car companies are not responsible for the photo tickets, so most of them simply ignore the written requests they receive. Enterprise is the only rental car company known to regularly report its customers to the “photo ticket” police.

8) Drive a tractor-trailer. Not very practical for the average driver, but due to the limitations of the cameras, very large sized vehicles cannot be photographed properly, and as a result, they cannot be issued photo tickets.

9) Fight it in court. Posted speed limits in Arizona are considered “soft” and open to interpretation. Because speed limits are based on traffic engineering studies and not the actual traffic conditions, judges in Arizona have been known to be reasonable. A ticket for going 80 on an empty highway in good driving conditions can get dismissed if you get the right judge.

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10) Look closely at the picture. The “red light” cameras at intersections tend to be a little quick, and they’ve been known to go off during the yellow cycle. So don’t assume you’ve been busted for a red light just because you get a photo ticket in the mail. A judge will throw out any ticket if there is a hint of yellow in the photo.