Smog Citations

I was watching “The Wire” the other day – it was one of the later seasons where they strap a kid to the copy machine and convince him it’s a lie detector test.  You can see the clip below:

Now, although this is TV, it’s embellished in Hollywood fashion to create a feeling of shock and awe in the audience – compounded by the fact it’s the opening intro to a full hour episode – it reminded me of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Now then, although they’re not going to pull you in to a interrogation room and convince you that an accomplice is giving you up, they still employ many of the same techniques to get admissions from you.

I’ve heard some of the most ridiculous assertions from the Bureau – we’ve got you on tape, we’ve got hidden cameras, we’ve got pictures, sent in a dozen undercover cars and caught you violating provisions of the health and safety code, the bureau of automotive repair act, the motor vehicle inspection program (etc.) on 10 of them, but here – if you sign off on this one isolated case, which we have video tape evidence of (but won’t show it to you without “a court order”), agree to probation and pay a fine – we’ll let you keep your license.

We look at Bunk on The Wire and think no one is that deft about interrogation techniques. Everyone knows the drill – don’t talk to the police, ask for a lawyer – you’ll only get into trouble.

It’s the same thing with citations. Of course they’re going to say you don’t need to consult a lawyer. Of course they’re going to say they have all this evidence – a lawyer will not help you. Of course you only get to see it with a court order (not true).

If you watched The Wire – you know the fascination with “closing rate” or percentage of cases that come in are solved.

Just like police officers, the Bureau wants to close cases. They need stats. They need to show citations and shop closures every month – and they are not prevented from lying to do so.

From claiming they have video tape evidence, to undercover agents watched the tech do x, y, and z, etc., they use it all – everything to get you to roll over and not enforce your rights.

I’m here to tell you that it’s your right to enforce your rights. Don’t let the Bureau trample them. A citation can be a death knell to your career. It stays on your record, it could prevent your employment prospects in the future if you’re ever leave a job for greener pastures, etc.

Fight them. The Bureau never has the case they say they have – protect your rights and protect your career.


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