Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC

VC 35551(a) – Failing to Control Weight of a Commercial Vehicle

VC 35551(a) - Failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle

Failing to Control Weight of a Commercial Vehicle – Table of Contents

VC 35551(a) – Overview

It is unlawful to operate for business a commercial vehicle with two or more axles on a highway.

How can the weigh of a commercial vehicle be regulated under VC 35551(a)?

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVW). This is noted on a truck’s license plate. It is derived from the total of weight of the brakes, axels, frame, suspension, and powertrain. A commercial truck cannot carry more cargo weight than designated on the license plate. A peace officer, when assessing compliance should look at the commercial license plate as an initial source of compliance.

The maximum single axle weight for one axle is 20,000 lbs. Single axle weight is the total weight of one or more axles having a center space no more than 40 inches apart. But when referring to tandem axles which are multi parallel axles in the front and back components, the measure is 96 inches apart. The tandem axel weight limitation is 34,000 pounds. The gross vehicle weight of commercial vehicle is limited to 80,000 pounds unless an exception that applies.

Is there a weight exception under VC 35551(a)?

Yes. The following vehicles are exempted from the weighing standards specified in Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC:

  1. Garbage trucks;
  2. Livestock transports;
  3. Animal feed or bulk grain trucks;
  4. Cement trucks;
  5. Trucks designed to carry liquids; and
  6. Fire trucks.

What is the mental state required for a violation of VC 35551(a)?

The mental state required for a violation of Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC is knowingly. Knowingly is a conscious understanding of the nature of the act desired to be completed, while having a reasonable understanding of the circumstances that would result. As applied to Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is a licensed commercial driver and operating a licensed commercial vehicle; and consciously knew as a result of their trade in the industry the need for compliance; and consciously desired to not maintain regulations and standards regarding the GWR; or consciously desired to not maintain proper standards of cargo that would adhere to the GWR of the commercial category of truck(s) at issue; and reasonably understood the natural and probable consequences that would result.

VC 35551(a) – Sentencing

Any violation of Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC is a misdemeanor. The penalties include jail time not exceeding 6 months. With fines not exceeding $2000 dollars.

What are examples of violating Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC?

  1. A commercial dealer of horse feed decides to deliver organic pears to a farmer 20 miles away in a truck licensed for horse feed. The truck has four tandem axels, and the new cargo pushes the weight of the truck to 150,000 lbs. The dealer sends a driver to make a delivery of the cargo. During the travel, the driver is stopped by a CHP Officer and asked to travel to a nearby weighing station. At the station, the CHP officer discovers that the cargo is not in compliance with the GWR, nor classification of the commercial license. The CHP officer notifies the dealer, arrests the driver.
  2. A commercial tow truck with only two tandem axels weighing 30,000 lbs. is stopped at a weighing station, for towing a UPS delivery van weighing 80,000 lbs. on a flatbed. The driver of the vehicle explains that the commercial tow truck is not open for business. The CHP Officer did an investigation of the UPS license plates and informed the driver that the UPS truck is currently operating as a commercial vehicle. Because of the excess weight of the vehicle being towed the commercial tow truck is not in compliance. The driver and the owner of the truck are arrested. The proprietor of the UPS franchise is cited.

VC 35551(a) – Defenses

  1. The accused was not driving a commercial vehicle.
  2. The accused is not a commercially licensed operator.
  3. The cargo being towed was not part of a contract for sale between merchants

Failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle – Hire Us

If you are charged with failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle, under Vehicle Code 35551(a) VC call The Esfandi Law Group. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi.

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