When a rash of auto thefts loom large in a particular neighborhood, law enforcement will deploy “bait cars” to take down criminals. Decoy cars are left on random street corners with the doors unlocked offering an open welcome to car thieves. Many times the keys are put in the ignition which makes it almost too easy (which is the point). Criminals who take the bait get caught in the act and are prosecuted accordingly. They may deny that they committed a crime but the evidence is crystal clear.
Police aren’t the only officials using bait cars to find wrongdoing. Did you know that the Bureau of Automotive Repair undercover vehicles are frequently deployed to SMOG and auto repair shops? The difference is, the BAR may not have received any SMOG violation complaints from consumers about a particular auto shop. Visits from undercover vehicles can be completely random. Unsuspecting mechanics treat these undercover cars like any other customer and do their best. The “bait” can be hard to spot while a SMOG inspection is occurring. Even expert auto technicians could have trouble finding and diagnosing intentional “traps” set by BAR. If a STAR citation arrives in the mail later, station owners can be completely unaware of how they violated a STAR program.
We are used to this scenario. We’ve seen station owners treated like common criminals by BAR lawyers in court, if not in a legal sense then by the tone of the opposing counsel. Shop owners may be completely innocent, but the accusations have already put them at a disadvantage. BAR attorneys see their evidence as undeniable and are ready to prosecute. If a station owner tries to manage the accusations in court alone believing the truth is on their side, they could still lose. To evaluate the evidence right, you need an attorney on your side. Our team of STAR citation lawyers can challenge California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair to reveal their evidence and withdraw unwarranted accusations from consideration in court. Remember, Bureau of Automotive Repair undercover vehicles do not always get it right!
You have rights, and we can help you to defend them to the full extent of the law.
Penalties for STAR violations can cost repair shops thousands of dollars, up to and including loss of their license. Station owners also lose their SMOG check certification and their livelihood. Don’t take the bait and accept the consequences, contact us. We understand the common tactics of BAR undercover cars and can help. A citation from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair does not mean the evidence is clear cut. Even innocent mistakes can be reviewed and your STAR program certificate left in place. It takes an Automotive Defense attorney to sort out the truth.