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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Like to speed...we got an app for that...

I've been in traffic court countless times. For a while I was a terror with a radar machine and it was really fun when people said, "I'll see you in court!"

My answer was always, "Thanks! I need the overtime."

Now I've been questioned by multiple defense attorneys over my time in court, and it looks like some lawyers are getting even more advanced.
Lead foot got you in trouble? Reach for your phone

THEN, the flashing police lights and miserable pull-over. It can happen anytime and anywhere: along rural roads, in speed traps, big cities or daily commutes.

A few new platforms have emerged to offer drivers a chance to fight back — by playing the courtroom odds and helping customers choose the most successful lawyers. While automated ways to fight traffic tickets have been around for a while — mostly serving to refer customers to law firms or simply paying charges through a court website — entrepreneurs behind the new platforms say they offer greater flexibility for payments and a deeper understanding of traffic violation and court data.

Off The Record is a Seattle-based platform launched in September 2015 covering 18 states including California, Washington, New York, New Jersey and Texas. Its mobile app links to a digital platform, connecting aggrieved drivers and local attorneys.

The startup idea formed after a group of friends, including co-founder Alex Guirguis, were pulled over when returning from a camping trip in Oregon over Labor Day weekend. Four cars in the group were pulled over at different times and cited for speeding.

The friends looked for a digital solution to finding local attorneys to fight the violations. They had little luck and ended up paying the tickets, he said. “We realized there was definitely an opportunity here,” Guirguis said.

Guirguis and his co-founders found estimates that about 40 million tickets are issued to U.S. drivers annually, and less than 5 percent are disputed in court.

Guirguis quit his software engineering job at Amazon and formed Off The Record in January 2015. The company recruits local lawyers to sign up. The attorneys set their own rates, court locations and expertise.

Drivers take a picture of their ticket and include other relevant information through the website or mobile app.

Clients are referred to lawyers, and the two sides can communicate over the secure platform or by phone and email. An attorney will make court appearances and file papers challenging the ticket. Off The Record charges attorneys a fee for each case they accept...

..When the company opened the platform in San Francisco, legal fees ranged from $195 to $1,100 to handle similar, routine violations, he said. Legal fees on the platform for San Francisco lawyers now average between $200 and $250, he said. Rates have also fallen in Silicon Valley courtrooms, he said.

Off The Record has about 250 lawyers and has handled about 5,000 tickets. It boasts a high success rate at reducing violations and preventing points from accumulating on a driver’s record...

Not knocking the app developers or the lawyers, but I'll lay money a lot of the success is from cops not making it to court. Unless the municipal or county attorney request a reset, it will be dismissed. But I gotta say I like it when someone sees a market and develop a service for that market.

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