Bigger & Harman, APC - December 2018





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road



Thoughts on Winter Driving

Having lived in both Connecticut and Minnesota, I am a big fan of California winters. Sure, we never get white Christmases in the Central Valley, but I’ll trade aesthetics for convenience any day of the week. I certainly don’t miss commuting in subzero temperatures this time of year. Besides, I can still drive to the mountains and go skiing whenever I have the urge. I do enjoy driving in snow from time to time. It reminds me of when I used to clear driveways after snow storms as a teenager. Most people were wise enough to stay off the roads when they were white. That left empty, pristine roads to carefully slide around on. It was a lot of fun and very beautiful when the sunlight glistened off fresh snow. However, while it was fun for a while, commuting to an office in the cold is something I don’t miss. As a young man working in a church in Minneapolis, I’d borrowed my roommate’s Isuzu Trooper when my truck was in the shop. One night I was working late, oblivious to just how cold it was getting outside. Upon clocking out and shuffling my way over to the pickup truck, I made my first important discovery. I’d locked the keys in the car. This wasn’t a cold-weather thing, but a “Paul” thing. Having grown up in a small town, I never locked my car doors. I just threw my keys under the seat and left. After coming to the Twin Cities, I quickly got in the habit of securing my car. Unfortunately, I didn’t get out of the habit of throwing my keys beneath my seat. Needless to say, by the time of this incident, I had AAA on speed dial. Idling in the church’s van for warmth, I waited for my rescuers to show up. In the 30 minutes it took AAA to arrive, the van’s heater had done very little against the deep, bone-chilling cold. I was relieved

when the locksmith finally popped the Isuzu open and I could go home. Or so I thought.

Climbing into the cab, I put my newly retrieved keys into the ignition and — nothing. The engine didn’t even make the croak of a dying battery. After jumping the truck with the help of the van, I started my way home. However, it was so cold the diesel fuel had gelled. The engine was getting just enough fuel to run roughly, and eventually, it got me home.

In the 30 minutes it took AAA to arrive, the van’s heater had done very little against the deep, bone-chilling cold.”

Experienced drivers, especially CDL holders, know that no matter how well-versed you are in winter driving, there are still ways the elements can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. Even simple inconveniences can become major challenges in freezing conditions, leading to delays, traffic violations, or worse. So, whether you’re driving up to Mammoth Lakes or through other snowy parts of the country this winter, stay safe, use caution, and make sure your AAA membership is up to date!

– Paul Harman

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In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion. HURRICANE HERO TONY ALSUP How One Man Saved Hundreds of Animals

attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with a heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”

Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out- of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama. The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause.

He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national


What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love

The idea of love at first sight is wonderfully romantic. Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. There’s an instant, magnetic attraction, and suddenly they’ve found their match for all of eternity. In a world in which dating often requires a lot of work — work that comes with disappointment, rejection, and uncertainty — falling in love at first sight has strong appeal. But can it actually happen? Can your eyes tell you anything about love? The connection between the eyes and love has been described in poetry and prose since time immemorial — it’s the stuff of heroic epics and fanciful fairy tales. And evidence has increasingly shown that the human brain is hard-wired to both display and notice visual cues when gazing at a potential love interest. Enlarged pupils are one such cue. When you survey a

In the last decade, researchers have determined that from a romantic and reproductive standpoint, both men and women are attracted to partners with bigger pupils. Studies demonstrate that when women are at their peak fertility, they might subconsciously be more attracted to a person with sizable pupils because it could indicate a partner’s attraction to them. Likewise, researchers have reported that men seek out women with dilated pupils due to the association of larger pupils with youth and longevity. The connection between the eyes and enthrallment has inspired some of Shakespeare’s most iconic sonnets, and the science behind our eyes validates some of the Bard’s romantic claims. But does this connection between larger pupils and attraction corroborate the idea of love at first sight? If you believe that attraction equates to true love, then absolutely. But if

person or object you are interested in, your brain releases a surge of dopamine — a chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers — which causes your pupils to dilate. In this sense, beauty really is “in the eye of the beholder.”

your definition of love requires a little more depth, then you may have to toss aside the idea of love at first sight and instead view your partner’s eyes as mere “windows” to their soul.

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DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire


From reckless driving to not having valid insurance, there are multiple violations that can result in your license being suspended. These suspensions are serious, and the state of California does not look kindly on those who choose to ignore them. In fact, if you’re caught driving with a suspended license, you will be arrested and will face anywhere from $300–$1000 in penalties. Even worse, you could spend between five days to six months in jail — and that’s just for a first-time offender. And yet, so many Californians choose to risk driving with a suspended license regardless of these consequences. Maybe they think they won’t be caught or that they can’t afford the inconvenience of being unable to get from place to place. Regardless of your excuses, we’re willing to bet they aren’t worth jail time. Please do not risk driving with a suspended license under any circumstances. This plea goes double for CDL holders. As harmful as having a suspended license may be on your current ability to make a living, being convicted of driving with a suspended license will complicate things significantly down the road. Having such a serious charge on your record will give any employer pause before hiring you on as a driver, regardless of how much time has passed. Beyond those who choose to drive out of negligence or perceived necessity, there is a third group of drivers who can find themselves facing this charge: those who are unaware that their license was suspended in the first place. It happens more often than you think — a court notice gets lost in the mail and a driver finds themselves in an accident months later, only to be arrested for a license they didn’t know was suspended. Because the law is designed to penalize those who knowingly violate their suspension, the prosecution has to go through a detailed line of inquiry to prove just how much a suspended license holder knew before they got behind the wheel. No matter which situation is true for you, no driver should take these serious charges lying down. Months of jail time alone can make employment next to impossible, whether you’re a CDL holder or a CEO. A team of experienced California traffic attorneys can give you your best chance of seeing these penalties reduced or dismissed. Our expert traffic attorneys are well-versed in navigating these charges and will fight tooth and nail for your legal rights.


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Thoughts on Winter Driving........ PAGE 1

Hurricane Pet Hero ........................ PAGE 2

What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love............................... PAGE 2

What Suspended License Holders Need to Know ................. PAGE 3

Holiday Decoration Tours............. 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!

CHRISTMAS TOURS Get Away and Be Festive This Holiday Season There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list. New York City is an iconic location for Christmastime. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for a Western-themed holiday pulled right RANCH CHRISTMAS IN JACKSON, WYOMING NEW YORK CITY’S ROCKEFELLER CENTER

out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered.


This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town.


What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.

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