The fine for an overweight truck is nearly $1.00 per pound overweight in CA. You would think this would be enough of a deterrent against overloading a truck, but when convicted of driving a truck more than 4500 pounds overweight, you also face a misdemeanor charge.
Imagine getting a criminal record for merely doing your job. That’s what many commercial vehicle drivers contend with when they pick up a load without verifying its weight.
What Considerations Are Involved in a Misdemeanor Charge for an Overweight Truck
Many people think that the law only considers the overall weight of a truck to issue a citation. However, several variables affect your citation. Not only your commercial vehicle’s overall weight but the weight borne by a single wheel or axle can get you a ticket for an overweight truck. Likewise, the number of axles and the length between each axle affects the weight as well.
Why Are Some Overweight Trucks Allowed while Others Are Ticketed?
Sometimes, an oversized load is unavoidable, such as when you have an item or items that cannot be broken down, then you need to get a permit. Everyone pays taxes to maintain our roads; when your load wears down the road surface quicker due to an overweight truck, you have to pay an additional surcharge.
Most fleets and independent truckers do this with a permit. If you don’t get a permit, you might have to pay more with a fine. What is often more inconvenient than the fine is when you need to unload a portion of the cargo to make weight before you are allowed to go.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 35550, Axle Limits, paragraph (a) prescribes, “The gross weight imposed upon the highway by the wheels on any one axle of a vehicle shall not exceed 20,000 pounds and the gross weight upon any one wheel, or wheels, supporting one end of an axle, and resting upon the roadway, shall not exceed 10,500 pounds.” Therefore, it informs the public exactly how much weight can be borne by one axle or one wheel.
Further, CVC 35551, Axle Limits shows the weight upon an axle based on the distance between axles. For example, when the distance between two axles is eight feet, five inches, it can support up to 34,000 pounds, but from eight feet six inches up to nine feet, five inches can support up to 39,000 pounds.
Given that, consider the driver who believes the axles are nine feet so they can carry 39,000 pounds. The driver then discovers at a CA CHP weigh station that the distance is actually eight feet, five inches; therefore, the truck would be overweight by 5000 pounds. According to CA traffic law, any vehicle found to be 4,501 pounds overweight is guilty of a misdemeanor, and the driver would face a fine of $5,000, a misdemeanor crime, and possible jail time.
Who Handles a Misdemeanor Charge for an Overweight Truck in Kern County
When you have a court date in Lamont or Shafter Superior Court because of an overweight truck on the I-5 Grapevine, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We handle overweight truck charges, HazMat violations, and other misdemeanor traffic violations in Bakersfield, Mojave, Ridgecrest, and Delano in Kern County. We offer all CDL holders a free, no-obligation initial consultation. I-5, SR-99, Hwy 46, and 58 are big problems for truckers, but we have the solution. We will handle your traffic violation for one low fee regardless of how many times we must appear in court to get a resolution.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf