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Old 2008-11-26
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Default Arizona's Speed Camera Criminal Speed

Getting popped with criminal speed in Arizona is a lot easier than you may initially think.

Imagine driving 75mph (with the flow of traffic) in a 65mph zone only to unexpectedly stumble into a photo enforced speed zone which has its posted speed limit reduced to 55mph for a short stretch where the speed cameras are placed (there are plenty of those on Arizona's highways).

That's all it takes to have your driving categorized as criminal. Most traffic violations are civil and summary offenses.

By criminalizing merely 20mph over the posted speed limit, your violation now becomes a Class 3 Misdemeanor which not only carries points, but much higher fine penalties and possible jail time.

The one good thing about this is that by being so heavy-handed with their enforcement, Arizona potentially opens themselves to a much higher level of judicial burden.

Meaning any court challenge to such a ticket could potentially subject the photo enforcement companies to subpoenas to release information about their systems that they will likely be very resistant to; potentially causing such tickets to be thrown out for lack of prosecutory evidence.

I suspect it will take just one high profile criminal speed citation against a state representative or someone else of 'privilege'—like Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, who's limo has been routinely clocked in excess of 95mph, on the highways between Harrisburg and Philadelphia—to bring the whole camera fraud business down.

I wonder who will be that individual...

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