Bigger & Harman, APC - June 2021


Many people in the U.S. and across the world have a national park trip on their travel bucket list. While Zion, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains are all awesome locales, outdoor enthusiasts often overlook a resource that is less busy, less expensive, and usually right in their backyard: national forests. All but 10 states have a national forest (or more than one!), so if your home state doesn’t have one, it’s very likely a neighboring state does! And there’s no better time to hike, bike, forage for mushrooms or berries, or camp at a nearby national forest than this month. The tree- filled landscape will provide shade and help you beat the summer heat, and to further incentivize visitors, the U.S. Forest Service (the organization that oversees the national forests) is offering a fee-free day on Saturday, June 12, in honor of National Get Outdoors Day! While parking and day-use fees to access national forests tend to be relatively modest, fee-free days open up the opportunity to all visitors. The U.S. Forest Service has a great interactive map tool that prospective park-goers can use to learn more about the forests in their area, amenities and activities, and accessibility. Visit ivm to access the map and see what’s near your hometown!

If you’re dreaming up travel plans beyond your state’s border, consider visiting these notable U.S. national forests.

• El Yunque National

Forest: Located in Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the United States.

• Tongass National Forest: Spanning 16.7 million acres and several islands across Southeast Alaska, the Tongass is the country’s largest national forest. • Salmon-Challis National Forest: This Idaho forest is the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48 and contains the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. • Cibola National Forest and Grassland: Spread across north- central New Mexico, west Texas, and Oklahoma, this forest and grassland area is notable for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The Sky Islands portion of the park is also home to over 200 rare plant and animal species.

Are You the Lucky Winner of a Red Light Ticket?

Entering an intersection when the light is yellow is always a roll of the dice: If the light turns red before you are fully in the intersection, you could trigger the camera and get a red light ticket. Before the Bakersfield Police Department sends you a camera- enforced red light ticket, an experienced patrol officer is legally required to view the pictures and video. Both the driver and the license plate must be clearly visible before the officer sends it to the vehicle owner. But sometimes shortcuts or mistakes happen and the wrong person is charged or the charge is wrong. Oftentimes the court clerk, the officer, or the judge will say you must tell them who was driving so they can send them the red light ticket instead of you. But this is not legally correct. The police have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of the case, including identity. You should not have to snitch on a family member or friend in order to get a dismissal on a wrongly issued ticket. That’s why all red light tickets are not a sure thing for the police, either. When you get that ticket in the mail, look it over. Is it you behind the wheel? If not, you are NOT obligated to tell the police or the court clerk who was driving. Is it a good picture that easily matches up with your driver’s license photo? If not, do not go to court only to have the officer identify you beyond a reasonable doubt because you showed up in court.

Oftentimes, Class A drivers will take traffic school when ticketed in their private vehicles. But traffic school is not always the best option. For Class A drivers, the violation would not be confidential. Employees, insurance, and FMSCA will still be able to see the violation. WHAT IF I WAS TURNING RIGHT AT A RED LIGHT? When the light is red in CA, you can turn right after a complete stop without getting a red light ticket, usually. Though, the position of the law enforcement officer (LEO) might prevent them from seeing that you came to a complete stop at the limit line or before the crosswalk as is required by the CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 21453, Offenses Relating to Traffic Devices: “A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection …” Always consult a traffic attorney before deciding whether to accept TVS and pay the fine (about $500) or challenge the ticket. Remember, it is not up to you to point out who was driving your vehicle if it wasn’t you. The state must prove you were guilty of the infraction. If you want California’s best traffic attorneys on your side, please give us a call, and we’ll fight hard to make sure you are treated fairly by the state.

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