As criminal defense and traffic attorneys, we have more opportunity than the average person to observe the many all disingenuous ways the government steals your money. In general, the lie government tells you when stealing your money is that it is either “for the children” or “for your safety.” You can substitute “security” for “safety” if you like – it’s the same concept. Criminal jaywalking is a wonderful example of this scheme. If you cross the street in an area not anointed for crossing by the government, the government will “protect you” from yourself by fining you and threatening you with incarceration, all after you have already crossed the street and are no longer in danger. Speeding tickets, by far the most popular way the government steals your money on the road, are similarly suspect. How much safer did you feel after receiving your last speeding ticket?
This morning, azfamily.com reported on “Operation Roadblock,” a scheme perpetrated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety under the guise of keeping drivers safe. Over the course of the next week, DPS will be trolling I-40 and I-17 looking for any reason to pull over drivers and issue citations, with a particular focus on commercial drivers. The list of potential violations for any driver is ridiculously long. Check out this cheat sheet used by the Maricopa County Justice Courts because not even a judge can know all of the potential violations you can be charged with. It is even worse for commercial drivers. Not only do commercial drivers have all of the standard violations every other driver faces, but they have to deal with the Arizona Administrative Code and the Code of Federal Regulations. NO ONE can possibly know all of these laws. There are so many rules for commercial drivers that if a cop pulls over a commercial vehicle and wants to find a violation, he will. Many of those violations have nothing to do with safety, but the fines can be steep and as you can imagine, it’s a lot easier taking money from drivers than catching real criminals. Taking money from innocent drivers may be a great career builder for cops, but if a driver with a CDL is found responsible or guilty of a violation, it could have devastating consequences for their future employability.
This will be the 28th year of the DPS-sponsored week of “government steals your money,” or “Operation Roadblock.” If you can avoid it, stay off the I-17 and I-40 for the next week. If you can’t avoid it, at least check out our tips for surviving your next traffic stop and when you get pulled over, remember: it’s for your safety. Or for the kids.