Orange County Auto Body Sting – Bureau of Automotive Repair

http://www.ocregister.com/news/prosecutors-251708-insurance-shops.html

Sometimes I’m sick of seeing Automotive Repair facilities become the latest target for grandstanding.

You and I both know what’s going on here. The shops have been entrapped by the Bureau and the District Attorney, made to look like criminals when the repairs were necessary to ensure the structural integrity of the vehicles in question.

Here’s the latest example through the District Attorney’s office working in conjunction with the Bureau of Automotive Repair in an attempt to fraudulently pin criminal and administrative actions on body shops.

Here’s the situation:

Consumer X comes in with previous body damage, “gets in a accident” and then asks the shop to include both the new damage and the old unrelated damage.

The “consumer” is either a Bureau rep or a D.A. rep.

Here’s where it gets tricky. . .

entrapment
n. in criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the “criminal.” Entrapment, if proved, is a defense to a criminal prosecution. The accused often claims entrapment in so-called “stings” in which undercover agents buy or sell narcotics, prostitutes’ services or arrange to purchase goods believed to be stolen. The factual question is: Would Johnny Begood have purchased the drugs if not pressed by the narc?

So what’s the catch? I guarantee 90% of the facilities didn’t even look at the previous damage until it was pointed out by the consumer. I guarantee that the adjusters didn’t even consider this part of the same accident and did not estimate it as such.

I also bet the Bureau will deny that the structural integrity of the vehicle was not damaged by the new accident, and that the need to fix the old damage based on the safe operation of the vehicle was “completely unnecessary.”

After all, we all know how brilliant the Bureau is. . .

I guarantee that most owners were in no way, shape, or form involved in the transaction one bit – but are still being held accountable.

I guarantee that in every instance, the “consumer” prodded the facility to add the damage, the textbook definition of entrapment – a viable defense to any criminal action as well as an administrative action.

I also guarantee that some criminal defense attorney who has no knowledge of the substantial relationship requirement of a criminal conviction to the professional license of the shop will tell his client to “plead out” to some “misdemeanor charge” which is a “slap on the wrist” because “going to trial is a gamble” which means “you’ll walk away with some probation.”

I can’t tell you how many times a criminal attorney will handle cases like this and essentially put them out of business, unknowingly because they don’t know how to account for the effect on their professional license with the Bureau.

The Bureau knows this – they will let the D.A. secure a  conviction, then turn around and use said conviction to revoke their BAR license(s). Good luck ever opening a shop with that on your record.

What he doesn’t tell you is that if you plead to a criminal conviction, you better believe your ARD license with the Bureau is GONE.

You also better believe that you’ll be held liable for the investigative costs of the Bureau, solely based on your criminal conviction, which in a case like this will be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

There are no double jeopardy protections – a criminal issues is completely separate from a administrative issue.

There’s a lot to consider in these cases – there’s a lot at stake.

The trouble is most of these individuals don’t know what the law is associated with these undercover runs. Most criminal attorneys are ill-equipped to handle the rigors of a very complicated area of law.

It’s a sad reality in today’s world that the Bureau has been able to railroad many of these shops for a long long time.

What do you do? Keep fighting. . . keep moving forward. . . and don’t quit.

Orange County Auto Body Sting – Bureau of Automotive Repair
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