Bigger & Harman, APC - March 2019





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road

MARCH 2019


My March Madness Prediction

When I wrote my first article for this newsletter, I talked about my love of basketball and how the sport sparked my friendship with Mark. We still love to head out and shoot some hoops with members of our community, but in honor of March Madness, I’m going to be talking about some higher levels of play. At the time of this writing, the tournament is still a little way off, and although I haven’t officially started working on my bracket, I do have a prediction that some school few have ever heard of will knock out a top contender. We see these kinds of upsets almost every year. For instance, last year a No. 16 seed (University of Maryland- Baltimore County) defeated a No. 1 seed (University of Virginia) in the opening round for the first time in history. Watching a team ranked 63rd in the nation beat out a No. 1 seed in the NCAA is enough to get anyone inspired. And that’s part of what makes the NCAA tournament so fun to watch; we get to see small teams shine. These David-and-Goliath battles show that national rankings and fat school budgets don’t guarantee victory — once you’re on the court, all that matters is that you play to win. That’s a sentiment I can relate to, not as a basketball player, but as a lawyer. Representing drivers in court can be an uphill fight. After all, we’re going up against the powers of the State of California. Going head-to-head with the state on behalf of an individual can definitely give you the feeling of being an underdog. Where some may find this discouraging, it gets Mark and me fired up.

but at the end of the day, once you are in the confines of the court, you have a shot at winning if you are willing to try. Just like NCAA teams, you never want to roll over and let the other side win, especially when there’s so much at stake. Unlike college basketball stars, we’re not walking into court to win trophies or accolades. We’re fighting for the hardworking individuals we represent. Many of our clients are CDL holders for whom a guilty plea — even on a minor traffic offense — could put their future employment in jeopardy. All of our clients are looking at increased insurance premiums.

Just like NCAA teams, you never want to roll over and let the other side win, especially when there’s so much at stake.

With such high stakes, it’s little wonder we give each one of these cases our absolute all. We’ve learned that with passion, knowledge, and experience, the underdog can reliably carry the day. So whether you’re facing a traffic violation or just trying to piece together your March Madness bracket, take my advice: Don’t count out the underdogs.

Much like basketball, the law has rules. There’s room for plenty of strategy within those confines,

–Paul Harman

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Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them. LLAMAS, PIGS, AND HORSES … OH, MY! 3 Unique Therapy Animals

felt compelled to crawl out from beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward, the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady.




At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”

Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him. He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books!

Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before


The 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

The early ‘90s was a contentious time in college basketball, full of pure amateur competition. The days of the “one and done” player were far ahead, which meant that all the top-level talent was bred in the hotbed of the NCAA. Players like Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and David Robinson had to prove their NBA mettle in the grueling basketball tournament we all know as March Madness. It has always showcased the best of the best, but America has always loved an underdog. Last year, audiences adored Loyola Chicago as they made their way to the Final Four. Cinderella teams fill our hearts with hope and optimism, but not all of them are loveable. Perhaps no small school is more polarizing than the UNLV squad that was put together by the late, great Jerry Tarkanian. The team was nasty, flashy, and, most importantly, downright impossible to beat. “The Runnin’ Rebels” ran the court like no team before. Reports have the 1991 Tarkanian squad referring to the Arkansas Razorbacks’ “40 minutes of hell” as “40 minutes of vacation” when it beat the then second-ranked team on its home court. The team embodied swagger and wasn’t afraid to create a splash everywhere it went. Most of the noise wasn’t positive, but when you win the national

championship the year prior, a little arrogance is necessary to maintain your “bad guy” image.

Formally a small state school known to locals as “Tumbleweed Tech,” UNLV wasn’t even a Division I school until 1970. When Tarkanian took over in ‘73, the school went from an institution most acclaimed for its hospitality program to an NCAA basketball tournament regular. After making their first Final Four appearance in 1977, the team started down a path that would take them to four Elite 8s in five years, and there would be no greater success than the season that came to pass in 1990. Most games are back-and-forth, with drama centering around every possession. That was not the case during the 1990 national championship game. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski guided his team to the final through steady stellar performances throughout the tournament, and all was well until the legendary program met UNLV’s rowdies. The opening tipoff was about as close as Duke ever got to controlling any part of that game. Anderson Hunt, Stacey Augmon, and Larry Johnson ran the Blue Devils off the court, and the Cinderella team everyone came to hate won 103–73 in the biggest blowout in NCAA tournament history.

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You May Be Gambling With Your License

For many CDL holders, a legal insurance package might seem like a good deal. After all, look at the benefits: spouse coverage, paid bail, hotel discounts — it’s almost enough to make the $400 annual cost seem worthwhile. But with a CDL legal plan, you aren’t just giving up some of your money; you’re also giving up your right to choose your own lawyer. THE FINE PRINT Many believe that by signing up for such a legal plan, they’re being proactive and protecting themselves from criminal and traffic charges. If they find themselves facing a violation, some pro attorney will be assigned to their case and take care of the matter, right? Wrong. The provider has the right to choose which lawyer works your case, and they have their own bottom line to think about. Nothing is stopping them from appointing a rookie lawyer or a general practitioner unfamiliar with traffic court just to save themselves a little scratch. WHY TRAFFIC EXPERIENCE MATTERS it pays to have an attorney who knows the nuances of the system. Experienced traffic attorneys don’t just know California traffic law; they know common strategies used by the prosecution and how well different judges respond to different arguments. Within this complex, niche area of the law, there’s too much room for general practitioners to fumble. A PERSPECTIVE YOU CAN TRUST Beyond understanding traffic law, veteran traffic attorneys understand CDL holders. We work with them every day and understand just how much a conviction can affect their future employment. Several members of our firm’s extended family are CDL holders, and we pride ourselves on being responsive to their unique needs and fears. Why gamble with your right to legal representation for $400 a year when you can save your money and hire an expert if and when you need one? When you’re fighting a hazardous materials violation, a logbook violation, or a misdemeanor that threatens your future employment as a driver,






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1701 Westwind Drive Suite 203 Bakersfield, CA 93301


Paul’s March Madness Prediction .............. PAGE 1

Llamas, Pigs, and Horses … Oh, My! ......... PAGE 2

The Most Hated Cinderella ........................ PAGE 2

Are Legal Plans Worth It? ........................... PAGE 3

Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning ........ PAGE 4

Have a ticket in California? Give us a call and we’ll help you out! Regardless of the location, we can point you in the right direction, free of charge!

DONATE WITH CARE The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning

through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring-cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well- meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on

their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

• Expired medications • Old TVs • Cribs • Loose remote controls • Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup • Mattresses • Carpets • Tangled cords or phone chargers • Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting

Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.

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