By on November 24, 2009

Of all the scams in all the world...

Traffic camera companies operating in Arizona may be committing a crime by operating without a private investigator’s license, a newly released memorandum to the state legislature explained. The non-partisan Arizona Legislative Council, the legislature’s official source for drafting and reviewing legislation, looked at the licensing question on behalf of state Representative Sam Crump (R-Anthem).

Under Arizona law, an individual who is not a police officer or insurance adjuster may not “secure evidence to be used… in the trial of civil or criminal cases and the preparation therefor” without a private investigator’s license. Violating this statute is a class 1 misdemeanor, and the legislative branch lawyers believe Arizona’s automated ticketing contractors could be guilty of this crime.

“Applying liberal construction of the definition of private investigator under the statute, the activities conducted by a photo enforcement company such as Redflex arguably fit within that definition,” the memo stated. “Mainly, Redflex gathers data and processes it for the purpose of identifying violators of the state’s traffic regulations…. In addition, ARS 32-2409 provides an extensive list of exceptions to the requirement of obtaining a license. It does not appear that Redflex would fall within any of these exemptions. Arguably, if the legislature wanted to exempt photo enforcement agencies from licensure, it could have done so by adding such agencies to the list of exemptions.”

This interpretation could have devastating financial consequences for Redflex and its competitor, American Traffic Solutions (ATS).

“If a private investigator license is required under the law, a contract to conduct private investigation activities without the requisite license could be unenforceable, and a later receipt of a private investigator’s license may not cure the prior misconduct of operating as a private investigator without a license,” the memo explained.

Both Redflex and ATS have argued that the private investigator statute does not apply to them. Redflex lobbyist Jay Heiler, for example, argued last week that the company was operating as an agent of the state Department of Public Safety. As an agent of law enforcement, Heiler argued, the company was exempt from the licensing requirement. The Legislative Council exlicitly rejected this line of reasoning.

“The contract between Redflex and the state of Arizona specifically defines the relationship of the parties and states that the vendor under the contract is an independent contractor and that neither party to the contract is an employee or agent of the other party to the contract,” the memo explained, citing Section 2.4 of the DPS-Redflex contract.

Lower courts in other states appear split on the question of whether photo ticketing companies require a license. The Legislative Council took Redflex to task for implying unanimity of court opinion by suggesting that decisions thrown out on technical grounds were actually rulings against the need for licensing.

“The court assumed without deciding that Redflex falls within the definition of an investigations company for the purposes of the court’s order,” the memo explained. “Interestingly, in a recent press release, issued by Redflex in response to the order, Karen Finley, president and CEO of Redflex, seems to imply that the court in Bell I specifically concluded that Redflex is not required to be licensed as a private investigation agency.”

On April 8, Dallas County, Texas District Court Presiding Judge Craig Smith threw out a case against a traffic camera company because the plaintiffs lacked standing to file their complaint. Smith clearly stated, however, that the photo ticketing company “is required to obtain a license under the Texas Occupations Code.”

A copy of the memo is available in a 350k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Redflex Traffic Systems Private Investigator Licensing (Arizona Legislative Council, 4/7/2009)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

2 Comments on “Arizona Legislative Memo: Traffic Camera Companies Need PI Licenses...”



Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: Daimler Boss Calls For Safety Standard Harmonization

    Lou_BC - @Vulpine – I don’t consider myself a fan of any size or class of truck. I buy what I think most closely fits my needs at the time...
  • Re: Ford’s Final Ute

    TonyJZX - i can imagine how silly this vehicle looks for non Australians because its ridiculously silly to me who wants a rwd live axled 4,000lb ute with a Ford Fusion note glued...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    Pete Zaitcev - Not anymore. To the best of my knowledge, you cannot get a bare tub Wrangler in the JK generation. It turns out a good thing, because the 42RLE auto is a real...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    supremebrougham - I bought a leftover 2013 Civic back in the spring. Fine little car, but the carpet is the poorest excuse for carpet I have ever seen! As for the floormats,...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    Kyree S. Williams - Late-model GS 350? Nice. As it stands, that’s the only new Lexus I’d want to own. It’s a thrill to drive, wears Lexus’ newest...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    Kyree S. Williams - I might do 100 MPH in short bursts, but I don’t want to see what a “30-over” speeding ticket looks like, so I wouldn’t do it for...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    Kyree S. Williams - Yes, we’ve also had a 1990 Accord (EX, white exterior/eggplant-colored interior with leatherette upholstery), and I can say the same for *its*...
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    drw1926 - Thanks for the heads-up, I’ll keep that in mind if I’m ever considering the WeatherTech mats in the future.
  • Re: Life With Accord: 12,000 Miles

    Nick_515 - I’d like to second that. Jack care to tell us about your tickets in your life some day? I mean i know being pulled over isn’t as sexy as tales of...
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: U.S. Minivan Market Share In 2014

    Big Al from Oz - @stuki You are correct. It’s more or less a pimped cargo van, but re-engine with a 420ftlb diesel. As for those Chrysler/Dodge...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States