If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers.
—Charles Dickens


I get traffic tickets. Correction: I get a lot of traffic tickets. Probably more than you. Now, I don’t know what it’s like to be a motorcyclist where you ride, but ’round these parts motorcyclists tend to break the law. If you own a motorcycle capable of law-breaking speeds, at some point, you are going to go law-breaking speeds. And so we get tickets.

Now, once you have a speeding ticket, you can go two ways with it. You can just man (or woman) up and pay the thing, or you can, as they say in Silicon Valley, lawyer up and fight. The first option is the respectable, laudable and honorable way to go, a way that shows you were raised properly and that you are a responsible, fully functioning and adult member of society. The second, well, it’s complicated.

Some of us have jobs that sort of require us to break the law from time to time, or at least sort of push the boundaries of what’s legal. I have to test motorcycles to something like their performance limit – and almost anything bigger than a 50cc scooter will go fast enough to break the law, and that means extra attention from Mr. Law.

David Brown's book is useable to everybody in traffic court, from layman to attorney. I'm on my fourth copy.

David Brown’s book is useable to everybody in traffic court, from layman to attorney. I’m on my fourth copy.

So I fight. I probably get more tickets than most folks, but fortunately, thanks to one of my past lives, I know my way around a courtroom, so I always fight ’em. Once you know how to do it, it ’s fun. Okay, maybe not fun, but more fun and simpler than adjusting valves on an FZR600.

Here in California, we have an interesting approach to criminal justice when it comes to traffic enforcement. In the late ’60s, too many folks were demanding their right to a jury trial for minor traffic offenses (damn hippies!), so the legislature created a new neither-fish-nor-fowl thing, the infraction. If you’re charged with an infraction – most of the Vehicle Code’s provisions are infractions now – you don’t have a right to a jury trial or to a court-appointed attorney. In return, you can’t go to jail, violate parole or have your license suspended from violating an infraction statute, and also you’re not supposed to pay more than a $250 fine, although there are exceptions. It’s all nice and Constitutional, and it keeps courtrooms free so start-ups can sue each other more.

I don’t hang out at the courthouse, but when I go for my own ticket (which is frequent), I do enjoy watching my fellow citizens botch their own defenses. When the old sage said, “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,” he had no idea how goofy folks could get. It seems to me that most people think that as soon as the judge hears your side of the story, and understands that you just had to roll through that intersection, the kindly old man in the black robe will get all teary eyed, and since you so carefully explained your side of things, will just dismiss your case. It may have for worked for OJ, but even if Johnnie Cochran was still alive (RIP), you couldn’t afford him.

But it won’t work for you. As Abbie Hoffman preached, to beat the Man, you have to learn his system and use it against him. If you have the dosh, pay an attorney to represent you – most of the time, you don’t even have to go to court, and traffic attorneys can be surprisingly affordable. If you want to get all pro per, then you need to stop blowing up photos of stop signs (“how am I expected to stop at an intersection if those willow trees obscure the stop sign, your honor? I couldn’t see a thing!”) and order a copy of Fight Your Ticket & Win or Beat Your Ticket if you’re outside California. I don’t know if the outside California book is as effective, but Fight Your Ticket has saved my bacon many times. It walks you through each procedure and goes a long way towards demystifying the law.

Troy in a rare moment of lawful behavior.

Troy in a rare moment of lawful behavior.

When I read internet discussions about fighting traffic or parking tickets, the commenters are split into two camps. One freely offers advice or solicits information about the process. The second group is judgmental, and suggests “manning up” or even “taking it like a man,” which leads to even more unsavory metaphors. I find this attitude odd and puzzling, and reminds me of JB’s column about the Authoritarian Personality. After all, “obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn,” as one of the questions psychologist Theodor Adorno asks in his “F-Scale” questionnaire. Reporting to Traffic School for re-education as ordered, Comrade Traffic Commissioner!

If Oliver North doesn’t have to incriminate himself for selling weapons to Iran, I don’t have to say anything about whatever law it is I allegedly violated. And it doesn’t matter if I think I’m guilty. I have the right to a fair trial. The “people” shouldn’t be able to make me shell out 500 bucks and FUBAR my DMV printout just because they say so. I should be able to meet their representative in a court of law and make them prove I did indeed violate every element of the law, using evidence that meets the requisite standard. Traffic court is probably the only place most of us will encounter the pointy end of the government, so why not exercise your rights?

Convicted red-light runners in California’s early traffic-violator’s school.

Convicted red-light runners in California’s early traffic-violator’s school.

But what if everybody fought their ticket, say the high F-scalers? How would we enforce the law? Gosh, I don’t know, by applying it fairly? By setting realistic speed limits for modern vehicles? By timing traffic signals and engineering roadways for efficient traffic flow? By having traffic enforcement focus on actual dangerous drivers – drunks, roadragers, teen texters and other murderous scum? Look around you as you ride to work and see if you can find more than 10 drivers obeying the traffic code. (If so, I will spare humanity from my wrath.)

But you got caught, says the F-Scalers, and I say so what. It doesn’t prove my moral hazard, it just proves I was unlucky. When more than 10% of a population breaks the law, that law is unenforceable, turning our police into revenue collectors and just about every driver into a criminal. Will fighting every ticket change things? Probably not, but I’ll keep my record clean and keep on riding.


Gabe Ets-Hokin contains Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5 and Red 40.

  • Ian Parkes

    An F-scaler? Sorry, what?

  • Old MOron

    Amen!

  • JMDonald

    The police state exists to generate revenue. They should be fought at every turn and and in every instance. The state always has been and will always be the enemy of the people.

    • Tinwoods

      The number of delusional and paranoid people commenting here is really disturbing. I’m betting based on your comment that we’ll be reading about you in the headline soon.

      • JMDonald

        Mr. Tinhead, I am neither delusional or paranoid. Do you mean headline or headlines? Is there a certain headline you have in mind perhaps. If you are so disturbed by my comment it may be time for you to seek professional guidance. Is your response an effort to make yourself feel superior? I find it amusing that stating my opinion is all it takes for your obvious irrational fear to rear is pathetic loser head. Something is not right with you. If anything I belong to a class of individuals that value Liberty. The police exist to serve the state not the people. If your ignorance precludes you from understanding that basic fact I doubt there is much hope for you. You obviously are not capable discerning reality. If you meant to say that you are one of the delusional paranoid people that comment here then you are correct in that assessment. Otherwise save your weak feeble comments for officer friendly the next time he reaches out to protect you.

        • Jason

          The people are the state and the state are the people.

          • JMDonald

            Not hardly. It may be comprised of people but It is not comprised of the people. It is a degenerate separate ruling class. It exists by using force against those it claims to represent. Try not paying your taxes. It won’t take long
            for the state to show how much they really care about you. The State is a tick that sucks the life out of all of us.

          • Jason

            Sounds like your opinion isn’t in the majority soy you are feeling oppressed.
            Not paying taxes is a violation of the rules that we as a society have put into place and agreed to.

          • JMDonald

            When was it you agreed to pay oppressive taxes? I’ll help you out. You didn’t. I don’t feel oppresse. The fact is I am burdened with paying for a corrupt government at the point of a bayonet. The state goes far beyond its legitimate purpose. I don’t feel it I know it.

          • Jason

            We agreed when the majority of voters elected the representatives that levied those taxes. We agreed when we reelected them instead of someone else that would remove those taxes.

            BTW, my taxes aren’t oppressive.

          • JMDonald

            Keep telling yourself that mon’amie. You must not make enough money for it to matter to you. If you didn’t have to pay taxes would you? I doubt it very much. Are you satisfied with your overseers? Do they spend your hard earned willing contribution to your liking?You were born into the system just like the rest of us. You have no choice. It is easy to buy into that false reality. Take the red pill. Of course when you do you will want to do something about it. On second thought you may be too far gone to want that. Take the blue pill. For you it is easier to stay where you are. You can get on the government tit that much sooner if you aren’t on it already.

          • Jason

            We paid $37,749 in Federal taxes and $14,970 in State taxes for 2015.

            Care to make any more assumptions?

          • 22w2e2b

            Doesn’t look like he wants to play anymore. Funny

          • JMDonald

            Saying you gladly paid X amount in taxes does little to hide an obvious lack of acumen. Am I to be impressed by the income level or the stupidity? Not very funny either way.

          • JMDonald

            Glad to know when the government gave you the choice to pay your taxes or not you made the right one and paid. They gave you a choice right? It is better for them that you buy what they sell. It better enables you swallowing the illusion. If you didn’t have to would you pay?

          • Jason

            Society does not exist if people are allowed to voluntarily choose to to follow the law or not.

            If you don’t like a law, (tax or otherwise) do what you can to change it.

          • JMDonald

            You mean the state not society. I am not surprised you confuse the two. You also seem to be confused by the idea of law. It’s not theft because they require you fill out a form when they tax you into oblivion. Theft is theft whether it is legal or not. Since you didn’t answer I will guess that you would not pay taxes if you didn’t have to. I wouldn’t want to assume anything. The state has a legitimate purpose. It should be limited as much as possible. That gives more control to the individual. That is exactly what the state doesn’t want. God forbid people would make their own decisions without government oversight. In your case however you should give them all your money. You are not capable of making your own decisions without state guidance. It’s the law. Live with it.

          • Jason

            So I guess we have gone full circle. Again, the people are the state and the state is the people. We don’t live under a monarch or a dictator. We live by the laws passed by the people we elect to govern.

            No, I did not answer your hypothetical question about paying taxes in an imaginary world where they are voluntary. I will say I have no issue paying taxes today, here in this real world we live in. My tax money and yours are used to provide services for the people. I don’t agree with everything tax money is used for but that is life in the real world where different people have different ideas on what is important and what is not.

            I am happy to live in the real world and work to make it better for myself and others. You seem to be angry that the world doesn’t conform to your idea of how it should be.

          • JMDonald

            Believe what you want. Jason is the state and the state is Jason. Long live the state.

          • Jason

            Taxes are not evil. They are one way that we as a society pool resources to pay for things.

          • JMDonald

            Spoken like a true socialist. Still wouldn’t pay if they didn’t force you to would you?

          • Jason

            Did it make you feel good to throw out the word “socialist” even though you obviously don’t know the meaning of that world?

          • JMDonald

            Hit a nerve did we? If the shoe fits, wear it.

          • Jason

            Nope, you are just cracking me up.

      • navahojoe

        Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worse state, an intolerable one. –Thomas Paine

        If people here are delusional, they are in good company.

        • Jason

          Have you ever wondered why people only quote the Founders that agree with their point of view and not the ones on the other side?

          • navahojoe

            So quote.

          • Jason

            “The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and, however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true to fact. The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right.”

            Alexander Hamilton
            (Who though the USA should be ruled by a monarch)

          • navahojoe

            “We the People of the United States…”

            It would seem that, contrary to Hamilton’s belief, the People got one very important thing right.

            FYI, Hamilton also believed that corruption was a necessary part of government.

          • Jason

            You missed the point. People can find a Founding Father to support just about any opinion.

          • navahojoe

            So?
            As is the case with any quotation, one must judge the wisdom of the message as well as the source. Most quotations are best taken for their capacity to provoke thought rather than their message, IMHO.

          • Born to Ride

            Hamilton was a raging aristocratic ass-hat. He wanted to build a caste system in the united states in which only the wealthy could make political decisions. Thankfully Jefferson thwarted his plans to ruin our country with corrupt government practices. Oh wait… Sheeeeet…

            DAMN YOU HAMILTON!!!

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Sooo, are you trying to say, that EiC is responsible for your speeding tickets? Do you think that he might be involved into getting some share of those fines? I can smell some cheesy stuff going on.

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      Yeah! You owe me $490, Duke!

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Gabe, it is hard not to get a ticket if you are riding a 150mph KTM 1190 Adventure R which is always eager to go fast. I got two tickets on my trip from CA to AZ for the Overland Expo last year in May. I usually fight the tickets by mail. I got the ticket in Mojave dismissed but the second one I got from the CHP just before my home exit was not dismissed. I could have fought the ticket in court (trial de novo) but could not bring myself to tell the judge I wasn’t speeding (how can you not exceed 65 mph? stay in second gear?). I have had a couple of other city speeding tickets dismissed, but the CHP never dismisses a ticket. It is a big source of income for the state and the judges are in on it. I didn’t want to get another ticket during my next long trip and get my license suspended so I equipped myself with the best detection equipment available. You still have to stay alert since CHP uses mostly visual detection. It also helps to stay in 4th gear which keeps you around 80mph at 6500 rpm. In 5th, the bike goes 90-100 at 6500-7000 rpm. The 6th gear will land you in jail. Why do they even sell bikes like that in the U.S.?

    • Andre Capitao Melo

      damn, you must really love your bike, every comment of yours you have to remind us that you own a KTM™ 1190 Adventure R™…

      • Born to Ride

        Or his 141,000 mile softail

        • Sayyed Bashir

          The reader needs to know what bike I was riding when I got the speeding tickets. I mention the 142,000 miles on my Harley only when people talk about Harley quality.

          • Born to Ride

            Just bustin’ your balls. I love my bikes to death too. We all do.

    • Buzz

      The tickets I have beaten have been issued by city police or county sheriff. The CHP is another story. They always win. They even get time and a half to show up in court. I still plead not guilty and hope the cop doesn’t show up but CHP always shows up!

      • Sayyed Bashir

        The date they give you is the day the officer will be in court to respond to all the ticker fighters.

    • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

      Because we can.

    • Ian Parkes

      You ride a big fast bike then restrict it to fourth gear when you want to observe a speed limit? I’m starting to appreciate what a unique individual you are, Sayyed.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        The speed is good to have when you need to get around cars and away from traffic, but not good to ride at constantly. If I was on a KLR 650, I would find it hard to get out of the way of a speeding tractor trailer. Besides, the speed limits in some other states such as NV, AZ and TX are higher than 65 mph so you can take advantage of them on long trips. If I have no tickets in 18 months, I don’t worry about speed too much, but since I already had two tickets, I couldn’t risk a third ticket and get my license suspended.

  • john burns

    for things like plumbing and this, I’ve learned it’s easier and more long-term cost-effective to just call in the professionals first: http://www.motorcycle.com/how-to/beat-california-traffic-ticket

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      I should have looked for prior stories on MO about that, JB! John Patrick, eh? So Catholic.

  • Otto Maddox

    Amen. Everyone should fight their tickets. It’s the very foundation of our legal system.
    Anyone who says something cute like “man up and pay it” is a chump. Can’t help chumps.. just the way they are.

    • Tinwoods

      But you’re not a chump for endangering the lives of other motorists and pedestrians? Okeedokee.

      • Otto Maddox

        You left out “allegedly”. Innocent until proven guilty.

      • Otto Maddox

        You left out the word “allegedly”. Innocent until proven guilty.

  • Uncommon Sense

    The problem I have with traffic tickets is that they are used as revenue generation moreso than public safety. I have no problem with traffic fines for people driving recklessly, but most of what I see is just handing out tickets for the hell of it. I got one for doing 79 in a 60 going through some hick town in Ohio. Rural four lane highway. No one would drive 60 on this straight stretch of road. Practically empty. I didn’t even see the speed limit sign at 60. Cruise control on. No sooner than I pull off after getting the ticket, the speed limit jumps back up to 70 or 75. It was clearly lowered to just so this backwater cesspool can earn some money between the two or three exits that compromise this town. $220.

    • Tinwoods

      Regardless of your paranoid take on the motive of taking generation, you’re breaking a law. Laws that are enforced because people get killed when they are broken. And love your “practically empty.” At least you’re not entirely lying to yourself.

      • Born to Ride

        You seem to believe that the police only write tickets when motorists are driving recklessly. It is literally the job of Highway Patrol to write up every motorist they can for any infraction of vehicle codes, with very little regard for the “spirit of the law”. I’ve seen cops sit at the 4 way stop sign out by my house, where there is seldom 2 vehicles in the intersection, and write tickets for “rolling” the stop if you didn’t stop for the whole 3 seconds. What about speed traps that are set up where there are sudden changes in the speed limit as you cross an intersection? Cops love to camp those out.

        Sounds to me like you are either a motorcycle cop trying to justify your career choice, or you have never received an unjustified ticket. Try to be a little less narrow minded in that others have probably had different experiences with law enforcement than you have.

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        Spoken like a true authoritarian.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Towns have lower speed limits for the safety of the people who live there, and of farm equipment, trailers or animals who may venture onto the highway. It is for revenue generation too. Always slow down when passing through towns, or take the freeway.

      • Uncommon Sense

        Don’t disagree. However, this was a speed trap situation on a freeway.

  • John B.

    The rights guaranteed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee our freedom and make life in the United States mostly wonderful. Anyone who says you should just “Man up and pay your ticket” needs a civics lesson. The relevant question is not whether you “did it” or not, but whether the government can prove the allegations in the citation beyond a reasonable doubt.

    My experience playing poker, more than my experience in court, enables me beat traffic tickets. In poker, you must play a balanced range of hands in each situation. For example if you only three bet (re-reraise) preflop with AA and KK, opponents will know to fold whenever you make that move. This is a suboptimal strategy. In contrast, players with a balanced range will re-reraise with AA and KK, and also with hands like A5 suited. This forces opponents to guess whether you have a strong made hand or a drawing hand when you bet big preflop. In the long run this strategy produces more revenue. When your opponent is guessing, you’re in the driver’s seat.

    Similarly, when the red lights go on behind you any singular strategy (i.e., always fight or always pay up) is suboptimal. Time is money and life is short; and even successful fights against traffic citations takes time. In many cases, more time than it’s worth. I agree with everything Gabe says above if you wish to fight it out in court. Let me give you another strategy to broaden your range of options, which will improve your long run outcomes. (This is from a facebook post I wrote a couple years ago.)

    In all endeavors it helps to have a plan. First, you have to establish a goal for the stop. Most law-abiding citizens simply want to avoid receiving a citation and hope the stop will not take very long. Others want to make sure police respect citizens’ civil rights, while others hope to prevent the officer from finding the two (2) kilos of cocaine in the topbox. Each of these goals necessitates a different strategy.

    It’s important to realize the police have virtually all the power in a traffic stop. As such, it’s in your interest to avoid conflict with the officer. Be congenial, not combative. Make the officer feel safe. Keep your hands on the grips or on the tank, and ask permission before reaching into a pocket or compartment. Don’t make any sudden unannounced movements. Be polite and respectful, and do not use foul language.

    You must give the officer your license and insurance, and in some states, registration. You do not, however, have to answer any questions or consent to a search. If you have committed a relatively minor traffic offense, are an otherwise law-abiding citizen, and hope to avoid receiving a citation, the best (but by no means foolproof) strategy is to be truthful and forthcoming. If you held up a gas station a couple miles back, keep your mouth shut.

    Police officers hear lies all day long, and it wears on them. Many officers find it refreshing to hear someone tell the truth. If you were going 56 mph in a 25 zone, you are not going to convince the officer you were going 25. Even worse, if you try to do so you will annoy the officer and almost always receive a citation. If you want the officer to make an exception and not give you a citation, be an exception and tell the simple truth. (Note: This strategy has nothing to do with “Manning up;” it’s about achieving favorable outcomes.)

    Over the years, I have gotten out of many traffic tickets simply by telling the truth. Last spring, just after sunrise I was literally alone on a divided highway somewhere in West Texas. I came over a hill and the county sheriff was parked on the left shoulder. His lights came on before I hit my brakes. The sheriff said I was going 103 in a 75 zone. (I was speeding, but had no idea how fast I was going.) Obviously, I had no intention of coming back to West Texas for a trial, and didn’t have a defense that would work in those parts even if I did. (West Texas judges value “straight talk,” and slick-talking “Yankees” like me don’t have a prayer.)

    I said, “Wow, that’s faster than I thought I was going, I should pay better attention, sorry.” (You’ll need to practice this to make it sound sincere.) Long story short, he gave me a protracted lecture and a warning, but no ticket! For law-abiding citizens, the truth gives you the best chance to avoid a citation, which is the best outcome. Please note, I only recommend this strategy for relatively minor traffic offenses. In other (more serious) situations it’s a better strategy never to confess. If you place a high value on your time and don’t intend to fight the ticket, this is the best strategy.

    This strategy requires judgment, however. If you admit to speeding, that statement will be used against you in court and will be outcome determinative (i.e., you’ll lose). In some places, particularly those where officers have quotas, this strategy will not work. Add this strategy to your quiver and you will be better equipped to get the outcome you desire.

    • Jim Miller

      Mr. Burns. I agree with all the above, having collected my share of speeding tickets under similar circumstances as yours. I still recall the three citations I got the first year at Cycle Guide, which prompted the officially shaming, “Look at your Driving Record” letter California used to send to traffic scofflaws. My only objection is that most traffic (i.e., kangaroo) courts only require a preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. That means the cop’s testimony, as a “professional witness” is usually sufficient for a conviction, after which you pay the ticket plus whatever exorbitant court fees the state charges.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Jim, you are answering John B., not John Burns (the moto journalist). Anyway, the CHP only has to prove in court that you were going 1 mph over the 65 mph Maximum Speed Limit to win their case. And who on the freeway goes at 65 mph, except maybe tractor trailers (even they go 70-80 mph). If the cop had to speed up to 80-90 mph to catch you, you obviously were not going 65 mph. All the excuses about speedometer and radar calibration and certification don’t work. The judges have already heard it all. And they don’t like people wasting their time. They may even increase the fine.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      In correcting Jim Miller’s assumption below that you were John Burns, I looked at your profile and was astonished to see that you had 295 up votes on just 264 comments. I thought I was doing well with 89 up votes on 398 comments, which meant that people agreed with about 22% of my comments. To see that you were not up voting yourself (like some people on these forums do) I went through all your comments. You had a lot of up votes from MO editors because you are a supporter and promoter of their magazine, but the rest were legitimate up votes. That is because you have a clear and concise writing style (being a lawyer) and have valid and enlightening opinions on subjects (even if you are a Republican and a gun advocate, which it seems like everyone in Texas and Florida is; I have lived in both states and would not go back). My job in worldwide tech support / customer service / sales also requires writing technical concepts in a simple and clear manner so ordinary human beings can understand it, and are happy to part with their money for our products. I am trying to improve my language all the time, and that is one reason I comment on these forums: love of motorcycles combined with a little continuous improvement (kaizen).

      • John B.

        Legal writing must conform to strict rules and often deals with obscure issues. I really enjoy writing in these forums because I am not similarly constrained, and writing forces me to clarify my thoughts. I try to be intellectually honest and factually correct in all my comments.

        I am not now, and have never been a Republican or a member of any political party. I value liberty and freedom, which means I support causes such as, same-sex marriage, legal and available abortion, school choice, and gun rights. That is not to say I believe abortion is morally permissible. Rather, I support each individual’s right to choose for themselves without government interference.

        I am anti-authoritarian and resist so-called authority. I’m pro-capitalism because there is no freedom without economic prosperity. Also, I reserve the right to change my mind about issues. I think it’s important to keep looking for answers even when I have found the right answer. It’s a dynamic world and we must change with it.

        You write well, and I enjoy hearing your point of view. MO is great because it’s not just about motorcycles and motorcycling. I honestly beleive, MO produces great content on a consistent basis, and from experience, I know that’s no easy feat. Enjoy!

      • Ian Parkes

        “…concise writing style (being a lawyer)…”? An oxymoron, if every I’ve seen one.

  • Tinwoods

    Moral hazard? You’re exactly that. And, obviously, a road hazard as well.

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    It’s about the money. Cui bono. As far as F Scalers, F them. On the Nolan scale, I am libertarian to the peak. Someone once said that if men followed the law to the letter, politicians and bureaucrats would invent more laws for people to break. In a similar vein to paraphrase Heinlein, there are two types of people in the world: Those that want people controlled and those that don’t. It’s a sickness really, authoritarianism.

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    FWIW, I’ve gotten somewhere between 12 and 15 speeding tickets in my life and I think I paid for everyone. Lost my license twice from them, but that was over 30 years ago. Now I try to keep it 10 over or less.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I used to pay all my speeding tickets like a good citizen, until I got fed up with speed traps.

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    Wow. I took the F-Scale test. 1.8.

  • Born to Ride

    CHP wrote me a ticket for failing to signal for a right turn at a green light with not a damn vehicle anywhere near me. I looked up the vehicle code.

    No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

    “In the event that that any other vehicle my be affected by this action”

    Hmm, so if there were no cars following me and no cars in the intersection, then the vehicle code implies that the signal is superfluous and therefore I did not violate the vehicle code. Well, the judge didn’t see it that way (trial by declaration), and my motorcycle insurance went up 300$ for this year. I hate CHP.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      CHP never dismisses a ticket, regardless of the reason. It is their biggest source of revenue.

  • Rob Mitchell

    Great article. Thanks. Does anyone know of an Australian equivalent. Troy, would the principles transfer to Australian road rules?

  • John B.

    In the City of Dallas, we have a fantastic system wherein your case is dismissed if the officer does not appear in court by 10:00 A.M., on your trial date. The city attorneys do not coordinate with DPD to make sure the officer is available when your case is set for trial. As such, about 30-40% of cases get dismissed because the officer is off duty, sick, on vacation or otherwise unavailable. Someday, technology will exist for an online application to coordinate police officers, city attorneys, and defendants so all can appear on an agreed date, but that technology is decades away. Lol! I wish the city would let me take over traffic court on a commission basis. Government is so lame.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      They should set aside one day a month for the officer to appear in court and schedule all ticket hearings for that day, like the CHP does in CA. City police departments are not that well organized and are not tied into the state revenue generation process.

      • John B.

        Soon enough we will have self-driving automobiles that adhere to all traffic laws and speeding tickets will cease to exist.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Thankfully we will still be able to ride motorcycles and collect speeding tickets.

  • Paul Russell Laverack

    This article was plenty fun, as is most of Gabe’s work. Still, the article ends abruptly, and it seems like something vital is missing – an anecdote, describing in some particulars how our humble scribe outfoxed Johnny Law, using the Man’s own rulebook against him. Gabe sets up an enticing premise here, then fails to pay it off.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      He didn’t want the law to come after him. They could use the evidence in court. He could tell you privately by email (as long as you don’t work for the CHP).

  • Karl Weigel

    Virginia has the most Draconian traffic enforcement in the country now. Just ask Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth. He was ticketed by a VA state trooper for doing 105mph in a 55mph zone in his Porsche on the Beltway in Fairfax county. He hired what was probably the best and most expensive legal representation he could, and he still ended up serving 5 days out of a six month sentence on weekends in the Fairfax county jail. If you’re caught doing 90mph+ in Virginia, pack a toothbrush, because you’re going to jail. If you want to get your speed thing on, take it to a track day.