Ask Our Lawyer January 2016

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services




David Hendy, long time ABATE member, got a ticket on his 94 Dyna Glide.  He called for advice and here is his story.  While heading down a Chicago street with three travel lanes but two of which were not marked,  David notice a police officer writing a ticket up ahead and off to his right. He was aware of the rule to make way for the police officer.  He slowed to a safe speed, moving as far left as he could safely, to give the officer more room.  That officer stopped writing the ticket and stepped out in front of him  and cited him for not moving into the unmarked adjacent lane which was occupied by another vehicle.  David believed that the ticket was wrongfully issued as he did all he could do safely to give way to the officer (I wonder if louder pipes had anything to do with it?)  David requested our advice as to how to defend the ticket as he did not want to plead guilty since he believed he was in the right and did not want points assessed against his license.  Even though he protested vigorously at the scene, the officer did not accept his explanation, but did seem somewhat perplexed when the non marking of lanes was raised as an issue.

Even though you may not have time to screw with it, my stock advice to all is to never, ever pay a wrongfully issued ticket for a lot of reasons – principles, points, adverse impact on CDL holders etc. Same here, even though David could have paid it or sought deferral which would have nixed any points and saved him a lot of time and trouble. Dealing with the court system in downtown Chicago is not for the faint of heart.  David wanted to fight it and good for him.  We armed him with the basics; list the facts chronologically for the court, bring photos of the area and tell your story to the judge. And if you have a perfect driving record bring a copy of it to parade before the court. It is usually thought not to be relevant, but most judges will let you have your say.   He went to traffic court fully armed with a defense to the citation, but the police officer failed to show, which happens in cases where the police officer facts are thin.  When the officer failed to show the judge threw ticket out.  Many officers will not show up for trial regarding questionable traffic citations.  In those cases the court will almost always dismiss the ticket as they can usually read between the lines.  In this case, the day was won by David, his principles and the facts.




Q: My mother lives out of state and has been assisted in her day to day activities by the next-door neighbors. My mother has a will that leaves her estate (not large, but a nice chunk of change) to her children and grandchildren, but I recently found out that she may be changing her will to leave the estate to the next-door neighbors who have been helping her. What can I do to prevent her from doing that? ABATE MEMBER


A: Unless you want to take drastic measures, there’s not much you can do to prevent someone from changing a will. Any competent person can execute a will, so unless you your mother is declared legally incompetent, you can’t prevent her from changing her will.

However, there are alternatives. A will can be disregarded by the Courts in probate proceeding if there had been “undue influence” on the testatrix during the drafting of the will. That is, if the writer of the will was being manipulated or coerced into changing the terms of the will or the beneficiaries of the will, then the will can be challenged in court. If you can produce evidence that you mother was being unduly influenced by her neighbors to change her will, then the new will may be thrown out and you may be able to use the previous will.




Q: I’m being investigated by the local cops. The allegations are bogus, but they won’t tell me who made the charge. [ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends are notorious ill-informants] The police will only say it was confidential information. Is there anything I can do? ABATE MEMBER.


A: Probably not. In most cases, the identity of informants can be kept confidential unless and until formal charges have been brought and that informant is identified as a witness. Until then, it is difficult, if not impossible, to learn the identify of that person.

That does not mean, however, that there are no limits on what an informer can do. If the identity of the informant is known, and the information given to the police is false, the informant can be sued for defamation.  And if the informant is lying, the prosecutor can bring charges against the informant for providing false information to the police.





Q:        I’ve seen on several occasions that a police officer will use a dog to sniff a car or bike that has been stopped for a traffic stop to see if there are any drugs. I would like to know if there is any research determining if drug sniffing dogs employed by police during traffic stops are actually detecting drugs or whether they are doing what their handlers want them to do.  Do you have any thoughts?  ABATE MEMBER


A:        You’ve raised an interesting issue. I haven’t seen any cases on this question lately but if a person has been arrested on a drug possession charge in a case like that, they could file a request to see the training records for the dog that did the sniffing. Records of training for the dogs should be available to see if we have a real drug dog or a plant.

Some cases have held that the police can use a dog during a traffic stop, but cannot prolong a stop just to bring a dog in. In other words, the police have to have a reasonable cause to detain you past the period necessary to deal with a traffic stop, and so would have to have probable cause before the dogs can be brought in. However, if the dog is already on the scene, the officer can have the dog sniff the car while the traffic stop is in progress.  That is if he is really a drug sniffer.




ABATE LAWYERS really ride. They are motorcyclists representing motorcyclists. They know and understand the issues involved in motorcycle cases.

They are staffed by experienced expert trial lawyers who have handled thousands of serious cases in the United States and Canada. Experienced investigators and former insurance company claim managers fill their ranks. They know how the other side thinks. That gives A.B.A.T.E. Legal the experience needed to be successful in handling your case. The more information about the adverse, the better.

A.B.A.T.E. Legal lawyers have the highest ratings and respect of their peers.

A.B.A.T.E. Legal is the lawyer for A.B.A.T.E. and serves as general counsel for its officers, directors and volunteers. In that role, it serves without pay – just like the rest of the A.B.A.T.E. volunteers. And all ABATE officers and clients have Rod’s cell number.  If he does not call you back right away, you can assume he died. How many of you have a lawyer’s cell number?

A.B.A.T.E. Legal has drafted hundreds of wills for A.B.A.T.E. members FREE OF CHARGE.

A.B.A.T.E. Legal gives legal advice on personal legal issues experienced by its members – FREE OF CHARGE.

A.B.A.T.E. Legal created, which has saved countless injuries to bikers and damage to their bikes.

AND BEST OF ALL, as a member of A.B.A.T.E. you and your family pay only 28-1/2 percent of the recovery for personal injury or less. Most other lawyers will charge you 33-1/3 percent to 40 percent or more.   We notice that often times the adverse party to a crash does not have adequate insurance to pay for our members losses.  In that case our lawyers need to be even more flexible and charge even less to get the job done.  Try that with the other lawyers who won’t give you their cell number.  Many times our members have mistakenly hired other lawyers who they thought were ABATE lawyers working for ABATE reduced rates.  They found out too late that they were not ABATE lawyers and would charge a higher rate. Just try to get the non ABATE lawyer to reduce his rate to the ABATE rate.  Hire the lawyer that works best for you, and why pay more?








Henry Geldmeier took the ABATE RIDER COURSE many years ago.  Did not know him well but knew that he was an owner of a grain elevator.  He lived alone, with his motorcycles.  And he saved his money – more money that most.  And he was good hearted to those that made a difference in his life .  Henry’s will directed that five thousand dollars of his estate be set aside to ABATE in remembrance of the good they do.

So do you want to remember your favorite motorcycle rights organization like Henry did?

When you make out your will, you can include a gift to your favorite MRO. Whether it’s your state ABATE organization or some other MRO, your support in your will ensure that your love of motorcycling is carried

  1. So set aside an amount that you can afford. Even if it is  a  $100.00 or $1,000.00 or just your favorite bike, you help insure the future of motorcycling in America.


Ride Safe & Free,


Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services


All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to:  © 2016.

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