Example Of Legal Issues And Solutions In The Arizona Traffic Ticketing System Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Law, Traffic, Criminal Justice, Accused, Crime, Constitution, Light, Driving

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/06

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The State of Arizona, like many others throughout the Unites States of America, has developed speed management programs with a view to minimize speeding and red light violations, motor vehicle crashes and related fatalities. In Arizona, the red light cameras are stationed in every intersection within the state. If any driver tries to beat the red light to enter an intersection, the camera takes a photo of the vehicle and this ticket is mailed to the owner of the vehicle within 3 to 7 business days. Red light cameras operate 24 hours a day, throughout the week and in any weather. The implementation of this program has been fraught with legal challenges ranging from perceived intrusion and inaccuracy. This paper will explore the legal challenges of this system and provide possible solutions that create a near equilibrium between the obligations of the state of Arizona to enforce a lifesaving traffic policy and the citizen’s right to justice and enjoyment of constitutional rights.

Issues facing the Arizona Traffic Ticketing System

The Arizona traffic ticketing system has been labeled as an affront to the constitutional rights particularly on the right to the due process of the law (Mc Naughton 466). To begin with, the red light cameras deny the accused the privileges under the presumption of innocence and the rights to cross examine their accusers. The enforcement technology is free of human control, and furthermore, one is instantly presumed guilty once the motor vehicle details have been captured with reference to an alleged breach of the law (Christensen 446). Consequently, an alleged offender does not benefit from the rights espoused under the due process of the law. This flies in the face of constitutional guarantees under the 5th and 14th Amendments of the American constitution (Carlson 273). The burden of proof shifts to the accused where he is required to prove his innocence before a court of law. The philosophical foundations require that anyone making an allegation must provide evidence to prove it, but in this regard; the accused is required to prove his innocence (Mc Naughton 472).
The Fifth Amendment is meant to protect the accused and witnesses in criminal cases. It protects an accused against self-incrimination, which provides that a person cannot be compelled to be a witness in a case in which he is being accused of committing criminal acts or omission (Carlson 273). However, the Arizona traffic ticketing system subjects the accused to be witness against himself during court proceedings where they have been charged for traffic violations (Christensen 450).
The Fourteenth Amendment provides for the accused to be subjected to the due process of the law. In Arizona for instance, offenders of traffic laws receive court summons via first class mails, but its adequacy has been brought under scrutiny (Sun 7). Service of summons must be carried out within a reasonable time after the alleged commission of an offence and is effective only when the offender receives the summons and acknowledges the same. In the case of Tonner vs Paradise Valley Magistrate Court, 831 P.2d 448, the court held that service is not complete until the receiver has acknowledged receipt of the notice (Sun 9).
The enforcement of automated ticketing system has also been challenged on the ground that is fails to meet the evidentiary thresholds because human testimony on such violations amount to hearsay. For example, the image of violations of traffic law is captured by a machine and can only be authenticated by the enforcing officers (Sun 9). The testimony of police officers who simultaneously record the alleged traffic violations would be valid since it would corroborate violations recorded by the red light or green light violations. However, where an officer purports to authenticate the same violations based on photographic evidence captured by the camera, the admission of such evidence by the court would amount to hearsay if he did not witness the violations (Sun 9).
There are instances where motor vehicle owners have been unfairly prosecuted for violations that were committed by an authorized or unauthorized driver. The capture of number plates for violating vehicles is unable to record the individual driver’s details at the time of violation (Christensen 450). The traditional mechanisms of traffic enforcement allowed for the police officer to establish the identity of the specific driver is through personal examination of the driver’s license. The technology aided process is limited in this regard because number plate identification or photo capture does not allow for the establishment of the driver’s identity (Mc Naughton 468).

Legal Solutions to the Traffic Ticketing System in Arizona

The first solution to the legal quandary is the mandatory requirement that the photographic capture of number plates or vehicles be accompanied by the independent report from a police officer. This will ensure that drivers enjoy the rights enshrined within the constitution, such as the presumption of innocence and the right to confront their accusers as part of procedural fairness (Christensen 450). The rebuttable presumption of guilt operates within the Arizona law governing the traffic law, which is unconstitutional. Therefore, by statutorily imposing obligation on the state to prove its allegation through documentary evidence and allowing the accused to cross examine his accuser, ensures that state laws on traffic management conforms with the constitution of the United States of America (Carlson 271).
The adequacy of service when one has been cited for traffic violations should be automated. In furtherance of this, any violations captured and the subsequent summons generated should be sent to the registered owner’s telephone number to allow for immediate receipt of tickets and court summons (Sun 9). This will ensure that the accused is adequately notified of the allegations against him and the date of trial. The adoption of this proposal will ensure that there are no exceptions to the enjoyment of rights under the Fourteenth Amendment (Sun 8).
Photo captures of violators have been labeled as intrusive on the driver’s privacy and this is why the State of Arizona prefers to capture details of the registration plate. However, safety and accuracy concerns in my opinion outweigh the privacy issues associated with the enforcement of traffic laws (Mc Naughton 470). The law should make it mandatory to capture the identity of the driver because the registration details lead to the prosecution of the registered owners who may not necessarily be the offending drivers. The use of face recognition technologies would go a long way in solving the problems of wrongful prosecution where liability is attributed to the wrong party (Sun 9).


The idea behind the traffic ticketing system in Arizona is noble. It ensures that the state meets its obligation of ensuring safety and security of road users whenever they are plying the state roads (Mc Naughton 465). However, legislation must balance these concerns with the constitutional thresholds in the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments (Carlson 449).

Works cited

Carlson, Ronald L., and Michael S. Carlson. "Unconstitutionality and the Rule of Wide-Open Cross-Examination: Encroaching on the Fifth Amendment When Examining the Accused." (2014): 269. University of Georgia Law. Web. 24 March. 2015.
Christensen, Joel O. "Wrong on Red: The Constitutional Case Against Red-Light Cameras." Wash. UJL & Pol'y 32 (2010): 443. Print.
McNaughton, Paul. "Photo Enforcement Programs: Are They Permissible under the United States Constitution." J. Marshall L. Rev. 43 (2009): 463. Print
Sun, Carlos. "Is Robocop a cash cow? Motivations for automated traffic enforcement." J. Transp. L., logistics, & Pol'y 78 (2011): 1.Print.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 06) Example Of Legal Issues And Solutions In The Arizona Traffic Ticketing System Essay. Retrieved January 20, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-legal-issues-and-solutions-in-the-arizona-traffic-ticketing-system-essay/
"Example Of Legal Issues And Solutions In The Arizona Traffic Ticketing System Essay." WePapers, 06 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-legal-issues-and-solutions-in-the-arizona-traffic-ticketing-system-essay/. Accessed 20 January 2022.
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Example Of Legal Issues And Solutions In The Arizona Traffic Ticketing System Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-legal-issues-and-solutions-in-the-arizona-traffic-ticketing-system-essay/. Published Jan 06, 2021. Accessed January 20, 2022.

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