Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedTransporting goods across state lines is a crucial part of our economy, but it's also subject to stringent regulations, particularly regarding weight limits. An overweight truck can lead to severe consequences in terms of safety and legality.

In California, commercial drivers must be particularly vigilant about these regulations, as the state has its own rules that may differ from neighboring states.

What Is an Overweight Truck in CA?

In CA, commercial trucks must not exceed a gross weight of 80,000 pounds, including the vehicle and its cargo. The weight allowed for each axle and axle group also has specific limits, which must be complied with to ensure safety and protect infrastructure.

Overweight truck violations occur when a commercial vehicle exceeds these established weight limits. Crucially, California's weight restrictions apply irrespective of the rules in neighboring states, such as Nevada, Oregon, or Arizona. Therefore, even if your truck meets the requirements in these states, you must still comply with California's weight limits or obtain an appropriate Caltrans permit before entering the state.

How to Prevent an Overweight Truck Violation

Preventing an overweight truck violation begins with understanding the specific weight limits for your vehicle and consistently monitoring your truck's weight. Before each journey, ensure your cargo is evenly distributed to avoid axle overloads. Regularly servicing your truck keeps it in good condition and reduces its curb weight.

Moreover, if your truck is entering California, ensure you understand the state's weight limits, even if your vehicle complies with the regulations in other states. If your truck's weight exceeds California's limits, you must apply for an overweight permit before entering the state.

How Much Is an Overweight Truck Violation?

The fines for overweight truck violations in California can vary widely, depending on how overweight the vehicle is. The fine for a slightly overweight truck could be as low as $238. However, for grossly overweight trucks, fines can skyrocket up to $1.00 per pound overweight.

Furthermore, if a truck is more than 4,500 pounds overweight, the violation could be considered a misdemeanor crime, which can lead to a punishment of up to six months in the county jail.

You Need a Knowledgeable CA Traffic Attorney to Resolve Your Ticket

If you are a commercial driver facing an overweight truck violation in Truckee, CA, it's crucial to consult with a knowledgeable traffic attorney. An attorney can provide valuable insights, help you understand your rights, and guide you on the best course of action.

They can challenge the accuracy of the weight measurement, the distance between axles if the law enforcement officer’s measurement differs from the manufacturer’s,  or even challenge the calibration of the scale used. Likewise, some private (paid) weigh stations will testify in court about the validity of their weight measurement. However, it all starts with consulting a CA traffic attorney and mapping a defense strategy.

In addition, an experienced traffic attorney can negotiate with the court to potentially reduce your charges or penalties, thereby protecting your driving record and career.

Often, what the LEO says is a misdemeanor overweight truck is what a CA Superior Court judge sees as a “wobbler,” and they could reduce the charge to an infraction upon the advice of a seasoned traffic attorney. 

Reducing a misdemeanor to an infraction could save the driver or fleet thousands of dollars in fines and spare the driver the scar of a misdemeanor criminal record. Many CA judges will grant the request to spare the reputation and record of an honest trucker trying to make a living.

“However, in California, some infractions are technically in between a misdemeanor and an infraction. These infractions are known as “wobbler infractions” and include disturbing the peace and exhibition of speeding.” — Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII).

In conclusion, overweight truck violations in California can have serious implications. However, when truckers ensure adherence to weight limits by making the shipper weigh the cargo before leaving the shipping yard or port, get required permits before entering the state, and consult a skilled CA traffic attorney for guidance, they can often navigate these challenges effectively.

For more insight about an overweight truck, read our blog post, “Who Can Help Me with an Overweight Truck Ticket in Truckee.”

Consult Bigger & Harman About an Overweight Truck Charge in Truckee, CA

We are Bigger & Harman, APC; call us at (661) 349-9300. Use our contact form to send a picture of your ticket and a summary of the stop, or email

We regularly assist drivers with overweight trucks in Truckee Traffic Court

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

CVC Section 35550 – 35558Axle Limits

The Cornell Law School LII WEX Definition, “Wobbler.”

The Caltrans Transportation Permits website.

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