Process Servers and Arizona’s Rules of Civil Procedure

handy link with all Arizona’s Rules for Civil Procedure [which lawyers cite as Ariz.R.Civ.P.]  that are of interest to process servers. (e.g. rule 4.1 and 4.2)….

The *statutory* rules about how a ticket gets served is in 28-1593. Service of uniform traffic ticket and complaint,see also 28-1592. Commencement of action.

There is provision for service by certified mail, but only relates to when the person is OUTSIDE of Arizona (or in the case of a collision investigation).  “Rules of Civil Procedure”: “Rule 4.2(c). Service of process outside the state…. (c) Service by mail…. When the whereabouts of a party outside the state is known, service may be made by post office… (blah blah blah; essentially, by certified mail)”

For our purposes, Rule 4.1. Service of Process Within Arizona; is the important one. There is a PETITION to request a change in rule 4.1 to all service by mail, but it was never granted (I’m guessing .

Something called “alternate service” (i.e. how to get around persons who are intentionally dodging service) is Rule 4.1(m) Alternative or Substituted Service. In any event; they apparently require the prosecutor filing an affidavit from a process server and getting a judge to go along with it; it’s a fairly labor intensive process. According to a New Times article this was being done as much as hundreds of times a month in Scottsdale alone in its heyday. See Rule 4.1(m). Also see below for a 2015 news story.

On the separate topic of points on license — here is the statute regarding exactly how points from normal civil traffic violations get to MVD28-1559. Traffic case records; abstract of record; reports ONLY in the case where the defendant is found guilty/forfeits/jumps bail does the court forward the info to MVD. (see section B).  The reason, by the way, the DUI stuff is different is statutory, in the DUI implied consent statute 28-1321 it requires reports to go directly from law enforcement to mvd (it circumvents the court and any issues about whether the person is legally guilty or not).

Handy white-paper explaining photo-enforcement from the Arizona State Senate, and it is pretty recent:
here is photoradar specialist lawyer’s explanation about rules for personal service; “personal jurisdiction”:

There were some overhauls/updates to photo-enforcement in 2010: HB2338 49th 2nd Regular Session
“…Specifies a violation for red light running by a photo enforcement system may only result in a traffic ticket and complaint if the photo enforcement system photographs the vehicle at least one second after the traffic control signal turns to a steady red” was introduced and even passed the house, but was stripped away by the Senate Pub Safety Committee (i can’t figure out why).

The Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint

There is a generic ATTC controlled by the Az Supreme Court: “Rule 4, Arizona Rules of Procedure in Civil Traffic Violation Cases and Rule 3, Arizona Rules of Procedure in Traffic Cases and Boating Cases,(go to azcourt and click through to “current rules”, a westlaw page. I did find both these but they seem to be more or less identical so I don’t understand why there are two seemingly seperate and seriously overlapping documents) require each law enforcement agency or public body responsible for issuing ATTCs to submit any ‘substantial variations’ to the ATTC form to the Supreme Court for approval”.

I note that the ATTC has checkboxes for useful things like accident/injury/fatality. It is likely that somebody is collecting this information, but who and where?

More about Alternate Service

Azrep had an 11/2/2015 story Scottsdale toughest in Arizona for photo radar?  that gave some more details about the alternate service process

In Arizona, where avoiding the process server is a known strategy for evading ticket fines, public-safety advocates argue that Scottsdale’s method is necessary to make sure people who break the law don’t avoid the process server and pay their dues…


But Scottsdale takes it a step further, using a legal method that allows process servers to — as a last resort — mail and leave citations at front doors even if the driver isn’t present.

The method, known as “alternative service,” has drawn criticism from opponents, who argue it is an unfair method of delivering tickets to drivers who aren’t at home and unaware that they have been served. Drivers who don’t respond have their licenses suspended.

“We have tons of clients who claim they haven’t received the complaint. It is blown off their front door, for example,” said Robert Gruler, a Scottsdale-based attorney who represented Miller.

Gruler’s firm, R&R Law Group, defends people in photo radar and other cases in Arizona. He said Scottsdale “is by far the most aggressive jurisdiction in the state” for photo enforcement.

A June audit that examined the city’s photo-enforcement contract found Scottsdale was the only Arizona municipality using alternative service in photo-radar cases.

The defense laywer goes on to propagate the myth this is a significant source of money for the city, despite the dollar amounts presented that the net photo radar proceeds amount to 0.2% of the Scottsdale’s general fund (about $500K out of $250M). Those who say the “ticket blew away” also have their stories about not receiveing (two, apparently?) certified letters sent to them… something like the “think it was sent to the ‘wrong’ address”. Drivers are required to maintain an accurate address with state MVD, so it’s not clear what is meant by ‘wrong’ address.

Then there’s the ‘if’ stories:

“If that (ticket) blew off in one of the big dust storms, and I never saw that thing in that back door, my license would have been suspended,” she said…

Once a judge grants the alternative service, the process server tapes a copy of the ticket and order to the door and mails a copy via certified mail, Gruler said.

Yes, if. But only of course if the accused also doesn’t receive the certified mail notice also sent.

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