License suspended even though woman wasn't served ticket

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- If you think dodging a process server will keep you from paying a photo radar ticket, thing again.

Some folks intentionally dodge the process server. And why not? If your ticket is not properly served to you, then state law says you don't have to pay it.

A Phoenix woman claims she was never properly served. In fact, she was never served at all.

"I was very shocked," Patty Parker said.

Parker says she couldn't believe what happened to her when she was stopped recently by police.

"I got pulled over by Phoenix police and they told me I had a suspended license and they gave me a couple of tickets for suspended license and possession of suspended license," she said.

Parker says she had no idea why it was suspended.

"So I had to go down and figure out what it was and it was a ticket in Scottsdale," Parker said. "They gave me a photo radar ticket I wasn't aware of."

Parker says she never received a photo radar ticket in the mail informing her and, more importantly, no one ever officially served her.

"I didn't get served by a process server, so I had no idea that I had it and I was moving at the time and didn't get the mail," she said.

So Parker said she went to court to find out about this mystery ticket.

"He [the judge] said I had four notices sent in the mail and that was enough," Parker said.

By law, photo radar tickets that are mailed are not considered valid, even if four notices were sent. A process server has to actually serve you and Parker was never served.

Still, the judge in Parker's case suspended her license anyway.

"I have never seen the photo radar ticket," Parker said. "I have never seen the picture. When they said they mailed it, I didn't see it. When I went to court, I couldn't see it."

"A lot of people feel frustrated by the fact that they're trying to go up against a machine," attorney Susan Kayler said.

Kayler is a Valley attorney who specializes in photo radar and she says it's very simple: Motorists like Parker have to be served by a process server.

"The higher court has said that proof of service is absolutely necessary," Kayler said. "The court has to have it in the file."

She says motorists who get hauled into court have the right to see proof.

"It's called a Declaration of Service, typically, and that's something in the court's file, typically a piece of paper that says the person has been served, and that person can ask to see it," Kayler said.

Parker says there was no Declaration of Service, so how could her license have been suspended?

"The court can actually issue a separate order saying mailing the ticket is OK," Kayler said.

If that happens, like it did to Parker, Kayler says you can file an appeal to have the ticket dismissed.

As for Parker, it's too little too late. She says she's paid for a ticket she never saw and she had to pay to have her license reinstated.

If something like this has happened to you, you can always file a complaint against the judge. Learn how to file a complaint.

Also, if you want to know all the do's and don'ts about photo radar tickets, visit http://www.photoradarlaw.com/faq-home.htm.