Man Hires $600-Per-Hour National Security Lawyer to Fight a $60 Traffic Ticket

Image:  Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Getting a traffic ticket can be a pain. More often than not, most people believe that they didn’t do anything wrong. They’ll try to contest it but they usually end up paying. Rarely, though, does that fight end in someone hiring a high-dollar, high-powered Washington attorney to fight the ticket. But as The Washington Post reports, that’s exactly what one man did when he received a $60 traffic ticket.

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The events that lead to the attorney taking on the case were fairly normal. On January 17, 2022, 24-year-old Joshua Tishman was driving on the Capital Beltway in his Nissan Maxima. According to Tishman, he was driving in the middle lane when suddenly, a vehicle to his left cut him off.


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As most people would do, he slammed on his brakes and flashed his high beams at the driver, a known universal way of saying “Bro what the hell?” Tishman said he did it to alert the driver and show his frustration.

It just so happened that a state trooper was behind Tishman. But instead of going after the driver that cut him off, the trooper pulled Tishman over and gave him a ticket. The reason? “Driver Failure to Use Multiple-Beam Road Lighting Equipment at Level Required for Safe Driving.”

Tishman thought the ticket was bull and wanted to fight it, but rather than just show up to court on the appointed day, he went looking for an attorney. And that’s how he landed prominent D.C. attorney Mark Zaid.

If his name looks familiar, you probably remember him as being a part of the legal team representing the whistleblower who leaked information about President Trump attempting to coerce Ukraine and other countries into giving him dirt on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Suffice to say the man knows what he’s doing. Speaking to The Post, Zaid said he took the case for all the right reasons. “It’s about what’s right, what’s just, what’s fair. It’s also, for me, what’s fun,” Zaid said.

Zaid came into the case prepared, of course. He focused on the trooper’s use of the word “use.” Maryland doesn’t exactly have a law against flashing high beams quickly to alert other drivers. A spokesperson for the Maryland State Troopers wouldn’t comment on the case but did try to defend the trooper’s ticketing, saying that flashing high beams can “evoke an unintended reaction from another driver, and it can actually make a situation more dangerous.”

But that didn’t hold up in court. Zaid came with a precedent, a case out of Montana where a driver was pulled over for the same thing. Montana’s Supreme Court essentially ruled that if flashing drivers in uncertain situations was hazardous, lawmakers should have deemed it as such in state law. They didn’t, so the case was thrown out.

But in the end, it worked out. Tishman pled not guilty, the trooper that had ticketed him had to go testify on another case and never came back, and Zaid did $7,500 worth of work on the case for Tishman pro bono.

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