The Procedure Of Honor And Dishonor In Dealing With Government

Whenever the present commercial government entity sends you mail or presents you with a notification, it is making either an offer or a demand that you conduct yourself in a certain way. These days, all our dealings with government, whether at the state or federal level, are done either in the interest of commerce or law. In some instances, there is not much difference between the two as many times there are overlapping interests in these two areas, and the lines of distinction between commerce and law can become blurred. This is because government has incorporated itself in order to act more expediently toward the wishes of the political majority interests of the public.

Yet, this tradeoff in favor of expediency can become a stumbling block and a detriment for someone wishing to maintain his unalienable rights in order to perfect a just, moral, and/or ethical outcome in matters dealing with the differences between the public and the private.  Therefore, you must become aware of these differences and their nuances in order to obtain the outcome that you envision when dealing with government agencies. 

As mentioned above, notices we receive from government fall into two categories: those of an offer or those of a demand. Under our form of social compact, we have an unlimited ability to contract with our fellow man in any way that we choose. While our choices may seem to be  dependent only upon our circumstances, this is not wholly true. Rather, we are able to use our knowledge, will, and creative intelligence in order to obtain the outcomes we desire. Knowing and understanding the use of a few simple concepts about law will help us to achieve our desired goal.

One thing of which we all need to become more aware in our lives is that whether in commerce or law or life, whenever someone demands something from us, it is an offer to contract.  This is nowhere more true than when a government agency notifies us of a demand or offer. What many of us have not been taught, however, is that there are five ways in which we can respond to an offer to contract. They are as follows:

1.  We can accept the offer or demand (honoring it, known as accord and satisfaction or acceptance).
2.  We can conditionally accept the offer or demand (honoring it, known as a conditional acceptance).
3.  We can reject the offer or demand or refuse for cause the matter without dishonor as long as it is an erroneous claim and there is no liability in evidence.
4.  We can argue or contest the offer or demand (dishonoring it, in which case we refuse to agree with the demand or offer).
5.  Or we can remain silent or ignore the offer or demand (dishonoring it, in which case law views this as acquiescence to the demand or offer).

Whether we are dealing with a commercial entity, such as the company that provides us our electricity, or a government agency, these same five ways of handling an offer to contract  holds true.  Because of this we have an obligation to answer any offer or demand that is made of us. If we contest, refuse to respond through silence, or ignore the offer altogether, we may be putting ourselves in jeopardy of running afoul of the law and thereby exposing ourselves to a penalty of some kind.

In everyday commerce, the penalty can be that the other party cuts us off from service until their bill (demand) is paid. In the commerce of government, if we receive a demand from a government agency (e.g. that we pay a fine on a speeding ticket), the penalty can be the suspension of a driving license until the matter is taken care of.  The point being that we need to reply in one manner or another if we wish to avoid misunderstanding or confrontation with the other party while seeking a positive outcome for ourselves. The process of replying which allows us to reply without responding legally to a matter is known in law as “honor and dishonor.”

To “Honor” or to “Dishonor” is a process in commerce and law. This is the most important aspect of the law, because it is what is done in answer to a presentment (that is, an offer to contract or a demand). During the course of this process, if you want to achieve a specific outcome, you must endeavor to stay in honor throughout the entire process. This applies to everything you do in the legal process. To act with dishonor toward the other person is the highest form of offense or transgression in any system of law.

In matters dealing with the government, if you are seeking a beneficial outcome to a matter, you must be mindful to stay in honor in all your processes. You can think of the court process (for example, involving a traffic ticket) as a formal series of presentments. Each time a presentment is made (i.e., a court paper is filed), the replying party has an opportunity to honor or dishonor the presentment. Your objective is to never dishonor the other party’s presentment. If one of the parties is in dishonor, then the court must look with favor upon the person who is in honor. For example, if the other party persists in argument or silence, you can stay in honor by refusing his arguments for cause, and giving him an opportunity to cure the defects. If your opponent refuses to stop arguing or cannot cure the defects in the presentment, you stay in honor as he continues in dishonor, which means that the court must find in your favor.

Now, to the question which may be in the minds of some: is it possible to use this process of law with any effectiveness when dealing with government agencies, like a county Sheriff's department or municipal police force in such mundane matters as a traffic matter where a victimless citation has been issued?  The answer to this question should be obvious by now. If there is a presentment involved (an offer or demand), then of course this process can be used with great effect. You just need to become aware of how to use it effectively in order to achieve your intended outcome.

The basic flaw or defect in present-day government presentments such as a victimless traffic ticket can be found in a warning given in a case holding by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 1947. The case involved a farmer who thought he had signed up for a federal program for crop insurance in the event that his crop should fail. When his crop did fail due to drought, he sought to collect the insurance he thought he had purchased. Without going into the details of the case, the holding itself presents us with a warning that we should all heed under the proper circumstances.  The following is a quotation from the holding:

“Whatever the form in which the Government functions, anyone entering into an arrangement with the Government takes the risk of having accurately ascertained that he who purports to act for the Government stays within the bounds of his authority.... And this is so even though, as here, the agent himself may have been unaware of the limitations upon his authority.” Federal Crop Insurance Corporation v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380 at 384 (1947).

What this quotation points toward, as it may relate to a traffic ticket matter, is the requirement that an agent representing government not act outside the boundaries of his designated authority. One example of this might be, if an officer is making a legal determination about a matter without having been trained as an attorney, he is acting outside the bounds of his authority. When the officer assumes that a person who allegedly violates a traffic code is within his jurisdiction to pursue, but cannot conclusively prove such from the prima facie evidence with which he is presented (such as a license and registration), he is making a legal determination that is beyond his training to make. Such a circumstance can amount to a reversible error in law, invalidating the traffic ticket through an invalidation of the subject matter jurisdiction alleged by the plaintiff. 

Yet again, if you, as an individual, understand that traffic tickets given for victimless violations are only validly given when they involve someone who is in contract with government to obey the code (i.e., someone operating in commerce or who is in contract with government) then you are within your rights to avoid that jurisdiction if you are not operating in commerce or in contract with government. This would be an instance where you could return the presentment (the traffic citation) to its issuer refused for cause and thus turn the tables on him, making him prove his presumption on the record. When it turns out that he is unable to prove his presumption of jurisdiction, he loses and you win! This can all happen outside a courtroom situation.

If you would like to learn more about this process of “honor and dishonor” as it can be applied to a traffic issue and thus avoid having to “appear” in court altogether, you can download our free book Common Law Remedy To Beat Traffic Tickets and learn about the secrets that the courts and legal profession don’t want you to know.

If you’d like to learn more about the law and how it can serve you, don’t hesitate to check out our Articles on Traffic Law section. Discover some of the secrets of law that you’ve never been taught!

Ubi factum nullum ibi sortia nulla.  Where there is no deed committed, there can be no consequence.