For those who would make the unwise decision to roll the old car’s debt into the new car, yet another reason not to. Policy wonks may recall how during the Bush administration the banking industry got its fondest (pre-bailout) wishes granted. The bankruptcy rules were re-written to make it substantially more difficult for a normal person to discharge debt. (Interestingly, mansion owners in Texas and Florida somehow survived unscathed while the vast majority of bankrupts are still done in by medical bills.) The upshot is that fewer qualify for a full Chapter 7 discharge and more must file a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Here’s what that means for the “typical” car buyer.
Posts By: Casey W. Raskob
It is often said that a man’s home is his castle. The Supreme Court has upheld this rule many times. Police may only search upon probable cause or a warrant from a Judge. When, however, can the police search your car incident to a traffic violation? Just about always, claimed the police. Not so fast, rules the Supreme Court. In a close decision, the nation’s highest court reined back the ability of police to make warrantless searches in auto stop cases. Make no mistake, you are not “home” when you are in your car, no matter how much time you spend there or what you do there. Indeed, you have a greater right to privacy walking down a street.
For the last 20 years or so, I’ve been fighting traffic tickets in the New York area. My business is not “normal.” No matter how easy I make the process, no matter what the outcome, half of my final client conversations contain the words “I hope I never see you again.” (It’s OK, I understand. You came in with a “gun to your head.”) While the client kiss-off never changes, my ticket defense work fluctuates with the level of traffic enforcement. Weather, gas prices and terrorism alerts (post 9/11) all impact the number of tickets issued. I’ve survived a few up and down cycles. And with a steady client base and wide professional contacts I can draw a few conclusions. The recession is here. Government budgets are under threat. The word has gone out: write tickets!
A call on Sunday to a lawyer’s office (mine) normally carries with it a tale of woe and unwanted police involvement. This time was different. A journalist neighbor called and asked if I wanted to drive the Nissan GT-R that had just been dropped in his driveway. The Skyline has been an unobtanium special for the last 15 or so years. I recall seeing one at International Rally New York, and even that battered right hand drive special attracted a crowd. So, with full knowledge of what was on offer, I ventured forth.
You’re fighting your speeding ticket in court. Take a lawyer. Yes, I know: a good local attorney will cost more than the fine. But the whole point of fighting is winning. As I explained in the last installment, the average citizen doesn’t have a hope in Hell of winning in traffic court without a lawyer. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present my case…
OK, you got a speeding ticket. You didn’t ignore it (right answer). You didn’t pay it and take the hit to you insurance premium (also the right answer). You decided to go to court. If you were offered lowered points and fine by the court, you turned it down (potentially the wrong answer). In the penultimate part of our guide, I’m going to show you how a speeder who defends himself has a fool for a client.
So, you got a speeding ticket. After the police officer leaves, there you are, with an official document in hand. You are unhappy. Your basic fight or flight or freeze response has you in its grip. You feel guilty, angry, shocked, insulted, humiliated, outraged or some combination thereof. Your heart rate is elevated; you’re stressing about money or points or the wife or the boss or just about everything. What happens next is up to you…
If there’s anything that makes you swear faster than passing a cop aiming a radar/laser gun at your car, it’s seeing a cop car looming in your rear view mirror. Either way, you’re busted. You’re about to play your part in a carefully scripted interchange with tax-funded law enforcement. How you play your role will have a big impact on what happens next.
Back when Seagulls were flocking, a small electronics company called LTI was in grave danger of going broke. They had but one product: a speed detection device (a.k.a. gun) that used laser light instead of radio waves. LTI’s laser gun was a $3500 item. Police agencies could outfit three patrol cars with state-of-the-art radar detection devices for that kind of money. Laser guns were DOA. And then the lizard people stepped in.
On January 2, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act. A provision of the Act imposed a new, national, 55 mph maximum speed limit. Overnight, the United States had a massive speeding “problem.” Within weeks, the feds gave huge amounts of money to police forces around the country to purchase radar guns. The speeding ticket, always a reliable cash cow for local governments, became a cash herd.