Bigger & Harman, APC - November 2019




DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road


THE BONDS THAT CONNECT US What Really Matters About Thanksgiving

It’s fitting that this Thanksgiving issue is also our first chance to announce Paul’s firstborn daughter. In fact, the day I began writing this, he and his wife had just rushed off to the hospital to bring her into the world! Everything went well, and little Talia Celeste Harman came into the world at 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Congratulations, Paul and Rossely! At a time when the country comes together to celebrate family and friends, it’s fitting that our firm’s extended family is growing. Of course, as a bachelor, it’s a little hard for me to speak about the miracle of childbirth or the trials, tribulations, and joys of parenthood. This year, it’s even hard to talk about the standard Thanksgiving traditions of getting together with your closest loved ones — it’s looking like I won’t make it out to see my parents in Michigan. I can, however, share my thoughts on the core of the holiday and what is, in my opinion, the most valuable thing on earth: relationships. The bonds we make with one another, whether as parent and child or lawyer and client, can have profound ripple effects across our lives. From humble origins, these relationships have the capacity to grow, change, branch out, and stand the test of time. Even after you leave this earth, if you positively impacted those you left behind, are you really gone? This is something I thought about a lot while I was in the Holy Land. I have just returned from a church trip to Israel, and naturally, it has left me with a lot of time to reflect. My most profound experience came when we visited the Sea of Galilee. Surrounded by hills, these otherwise calm waters can become dangerous swells in an instant. Winds following the Jordan River can sweep down and kick up the sea in mere moments. Thankfully, this didn’t happen while our group was out on the water.


In this fragile stillness, I thought about the time Jesus and his followers spent around that body of water. Whether He was walking along the shores in big, slow groups or sailing across Galilee in old fishing boats, this is where He spent the most one-on-one time with His disciples. Those were the moments that turned 11 unlearned fishermen into the Apostles who would spread the Gospel around the world. They didn’t spend hours in gilded temples or palace courtyards. They spent meaningful time together on the craggy coastline. This is the power of relationships. I envision these bonds like a tree. We have one vertical relationship with God, which then branches out to family, friends, and beyond. I’ve been so fortunate to have grown so many branches in my life, and I’ve met so many great people in my work and travels over the years. It’s these bonds I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Here’s to the ones you care about, near and dear to your heart.

–Mark Bigger

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British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, and the Qing dynasty of China, but no one could topple the pirate queen.

After almost a decade of pillaging the high seas, Ching Shih decided piracy wasn’t the best retirement plan. In 1810, she walked into the office of a local governor-general, completely unarmed, and requested full pardons and government jobs for her entire crew — along with permission to keep all their stolen goods. In exchange, she promised to give up piracy for good. Thankful to be free of the Red Flag Fleet, the Chinese government agreed to her terms. Ching Shih’s second husband was even made an officer in the Chinese navy. Ching Shih returned to Canton with her vast wealth and spent the next 34 years living a life of comfort with her family and running a gambling den. In 1844, the legendary pirate queen passed away of old age at 69, a rare feat for pirates of her era.

From Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow, pop culture teems with pirates who frequented the ports of the Caribbean. And while these pirates are well-known for their (sometimes fictional) accomplishments, the most successful pirate in history terrorized the seas of China instead. Her name was Ching Shih. Ching Shih, who was born Shih Yang, was working in a Cantonese brothel when she met the pirate Zheng Yi. He came from a long family of notorious pirates and was impressed by Ching Shih’s cunning. They married in 1801 and built a pirate empire known as the Red Flag Fleet. When Zheng

Yi passed away suddenly in 1807, Ching Shih strategically maneuvered her way into leadership, taking control of over 60,000 pirates.

Historians describe Ching Shih as a brilliant military strategist, a skilled

businesswoman, and a harsh disciplinarian. After taking control of the fleet, Ching Shih implemented a strict code of conduct. The code included rules for distributing booty, protecting female captives, and beheading anyone who disobeyed Ching Shih. Under her rule, the bloody crimes of piracy became a profitable business. The Red Flag Fleet would eventually clash with the

Understanding Prima Facie TICKETED AT FIRST SIGHT

To most people, hearing lawyers talk to one another feels like listening to another language. And in some instances, that is actually the case. For example, if you’ve ever faced a speeding ticket, you’ve probably heard the phrase “prima facie” thrown around. In Latin, this means “at first sight,” but in traffic law, it’s often the cause of a contentious speeding ticket. 2 SPEEDS Under California Vehicle Code, there are two types of speed limits: absolutes and prima facie. Absolute speed limits are what people are most familiar with when driving on freeways. Driving faster than the posted speed limit (for example, going 70 in a 55 mph zone) is considered a violation of these absolute limits and results in an automatic speeding violation. SEARCHING FOR A SIGN Prima facie speed limits are designed to fill the gap between absolute limits. These “presumed” speed limits are in place when no signage has been posted. These limits include going 25 mph in business and residential districts as well as school zones, and

slowing to 15 mph at railroad crossings, in alleys, and at highway intersections without 100 feet of visibility. Going faster than a prima facie speed limit is not the same as violating an absolute. BACK TO BASICS Prima facie violations can be challenged and overturned if you can prove you were not in violation of California’s basic speed law. This law states “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent,” meaning the prosecution needs to prove beyond doubt you were going too fast for the situation. Perhaps you were going faster than 25 mph in a school zone, but school was not in session, and therefore the “presumed” limit didn’t apply. Fighting these tickets means presenting your side of the story to the court, otherwise the judge will take the state’s evidence at face value. Having an expert team of traffic lawyers by your side can help give you the best defense for this preventable violation. If you are facing a prima facie speeding ticket, give us a call.

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WATCH YOUR WEIGHT A Costly Violation CDL Holders Face

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION Thanks to your referrals, we were able to give $1060 to fight human trafficking. To learn more about International Justice Mission, please go to To protect the poor from violence by rescuing victims, bringing the criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Our long-term vision is to rescue millions, protect half a billion, and make justice for the poor unstoppable. MISSION:

When most people think about costly traffic tickets, they think about speeding through construction zones, not lumbering along a freeway in light traffic. But the truth is, pound for pound, weight violations can cost far more than even the most egregious acts of speeding. But why is this? SAFE WEIGHT An overweight semi truck can be a real danger to those on the road, including the driver of the truck. More weight means more stress on a truck’s brakes — increasing the likelihood of an accident and making those accidents deadlier. It’s simple physics: The more mass a vehicle is carrying, the more force it’s going to deliver to anything it runs into. The high fines are a great deterrent to deep-pocketed trucking companies overloading their shipments, but unfortunately, these entities are rarely the ones who pay the price. BEARING THE BURDEN Sadly, it’s usually the drivers themselves who face the fines for an overloaded truck. Not only are they left to foot a very expensive bill, but the resulting ticket could make finding future work harder. The combination of these two consequences can make it hard for drivers to keep food on the table and forces many owner-operators to close up shop. WEIGHT WATCHERS The uninitiated may be thinking: “What’s the big deal? How hard is it to keep your truck under weight?” But the truth is, it’s complicated. Weight limits vary by state, meaning if you’re an over-the-road trucker, a load deemed safe in the last two states you drove through may be illegal in the third. Worse still, states like California break down their limits to specific parts of the truck. You may be under the legal limit overall but have too much weight over a wheel, for example. Worse still, unlike speeding, you can do very little if you exceed what’s legal. You can’t exactly get rid of 1,000 pounds of cargo after it’s loaded. If you find yourself facing this incredibly expensive fine, don’t give up hope. An expert traffic attorney, like those on our team at Bigger & Harman, can help you understand your rights and plan your next step forward.





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What Really Matters About Thanksgiving ................................. PAGE 1

History’s Most Successful Pirate ........... PAGE 2

Prima ... What? ........................................... PAGE 2

Your Weight Could Drive You Out of Business .......................................... PAGE 3

The Gift of Giving ...................................... 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!

November is usually all about Thanksgiving, but it isn’t the only holiday that encourages generosity. Giving Tuesday is a phenomenal celebration in which millions of people from across the globe are inspired to spend 24 hours giving back to the communities they love. ORIGIN AND GOAL Giving Tuesday is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and this year, the holiday lands on Dec. 3! It was established in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and New York’s 92nd Street Y as a response to consumer-driven holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose of the holiday was to spread the spirit of giving, not only for the people in our nation but individuals across the world. The goal is “to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day and touches every person on the planet.” TECHNOLOGY AT ITS BEST Through the use of social media and technology, the organization hopes to encourage and spread generosity on a global scale using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. The website states that “... technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral; that people fundamentally CELEBRATING GIVING TUESDAY SUPPORTING THE PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE IN

want to give and talk about giving.” Through massive social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the individuals and companies participating in Giving Tuesday can spread their missions and messages all over the world, encouraging others to do the same.

HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE Now is the perfect opportunity to support your

community and the causes you believe in. The best part of this holiday is that “giving” doesn’t just refer to donating money. People can give back by volunteering their time to help a nonprofit business, donating goods and food, or just buying a stranger some lunch. Even the smallest actions can have the biggest impact. If you’re interested in participating in Giving Tuesday, get together with your friends, family, sports team members, or neighbors to brainstorm on how you can give back. To learn more about how you can participate, visit .

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