Weight Restriction Ticket in January

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
I wanted to be completely through the court process before I posted about this. This might end up being long, but I'll try to be concise.

In early January, I went to a home in Washington that has been a second home to me for the past five years. My primary residence is in Idaho and will remain there. The Washington home is surrounded by 16,000 pound weight restricted roads, local access excepted. I have two places I park my truck when I'm there: in front of the residence when I'm bobtail and at a church two doors down with their permission when I have a trailer. That's the background.

In January, I was pulled over on my way back to the freeway and cited for the weight restriction. When I stopped, I was directly in front of a private residence that had a Class 8 tractor and flatbed trailer parked alongside the house. It was in a narrow section of the road, so I suggested we move about a half mile further, where it was wider and safer to continue the encounter. The deputy agreed.

Once stopped in the safer location, the deputy asked whether I knew why he'd stopped me. I told him I did and it was for the weight restriction, but that I had been at the residence seeing my friend and that's why I was there, I thought it was legal local access to go home.

The deputy disputed my reidency, since I carry an Idaho license. I told him I'd be happy to show him proof that I get mail at the local post office, but he didn't want to hear it. He was too busy giving me his rehearsed ass-chewing to care what I had to say.

Once he was satisfied with his delivery, he informed me he is a DOT officer and he wanted to do a level 2 inspection, starting with my logs. I showed him the graph in the e-log, proving that I had been at the local residence for all three of the previous nights. He asked when my last sleeper berth time was and I said, "four nights ago. I've been out of the truck the last three nights. Ten hours off duty is a legal rest break." I also gave him my license, medical card and truck and trailer paperwork.

He asked whether I had found anything on my pretrip, and I answered that I had, a marker light out on the top rear of the trailer. I was on my way back to the yard, where they had the ladder and equipment to repair it.

He looked at my fire extinguisher and told me it wasn't secured. I reached down and snapped the strap back together. He had me run the wipers and try the washer switch. I told him I'd emptied the reservoir the night before, but I could put some water in it to show it worked. He refused. He did his walk-around and went to his vehicle with my papers. I initiated a parked regen while he was doing his paperwork.

When he returned to my cab, he said I had an air leak, would I please idle down. I stepped on the clutch and cancelled the regen. He went to the rear of my cab and then asked me to turn the truck off. I did, and went to stand next to him to listen for the air leak. It was silent. I suggested maybe one of the air tanks was charging, I'll restart the truck. He agreed. Back out, still no sound from air. Then, it occurred to me: he had heard the in-progress regen. So I started it back up and he said, "There's your air leak!" I explained to him what a DPF is, what it does, how it functions and why I have one.

Meanwhile, another deputy showed up, also claiming to be a DOT officer and wanted to have a look at my truck. The second officer requested I open the hood, so I did. He pointed out some hydraulic fluid on my power steering gear box and looked around a little more. (I thought that was Level 1 stuff, but whatever.) As he was walking to the rear, he hollered me back because he'd found an air leak. He pointed under the axles. I crawled under and identified the "leak" as coming from the relief valve and it was common to get grit in it occasionally, when I cycle the brakes, the leak will stop. He also went under the trailer and poked his finger into the valve, expressing air from it. When he removed his finger, the valve had hung up a little sideways and continued blowing air. I told him he'd made it worse, which he denied. He wanted to see whether my compressor would keep up with the "leak," so asked me to perform a presurizing test. I cycled the trailer brake a coupe of times during the test, closing the relief valve. Once my compressor passed, he walked back to the first deputy's car, hesitating with his head cocked at my trailer axles. He shook his head a little and continued on back. Of course, the relief valve was closed, so there was no air leak.

The citation was $423 for the weight restriction. The inspection included violations for the hydraulic fluid, the loose fire extinguisher, the "inop" washer fluid, the marker light and the air "leak" on the trailer.

The legitimate complaints were the hydraulic fluid (I can't argue that one: I ended up replacing the entire gear box.) and the marker light, which, there was no way I could fix in the middle of the church parking lot, it was 13 feet off the ground.

So, that was the citation and inspection. I did not get any fines for the inspection, only the weight restriction.
 

Injun

Rabid Squaw
Staff member
Supporter
I hired a lawyer before the traffic stop was even completed. He went to the first court date, in March, and tried to get the ticket dismissed on a technicality. The prosecutor refused, so yesterday was my hearing.

I took in proof that I received mail at the PO Box plus shipping labels from packages I had received at the residence address. My friend who has lived there for 15 years went with me, along with the landlord, who she sold the house to two years ago and she is now renting from.

My lawyer made two procedural arguments and then laid out the case that, while I legally maintain an Idaho license, I also reside at the house in Washington and, therefore, should be exempt from the weight restriction, just as four other drivers who live in the same area and take their trucks home are. The prosecutor's case revolved around the signs not explicitly stating residency as an exception, but rather, local access permitted for local delivery and services and, because residency isn't specifically spelled out, I should be excluded from the area and anyway, since I wasn't there full time and possess a Washington license, I wasn't a resident, I was a visitor, which isn't exempted from the ordinance.

An hour and a half later, with the prosecutor fighting tooth and nail to skewer me, the judge was ready to make her ruling. First, my lawyer's technicality argument was thrown out. She allowed the prosecutor to amend the citation to represent the correct ordinance and RCW numbers Second, my lawyer's delivering goods and services (I frequently took groceries to my friend and took her to the emergency room a few times, help her keep the house up, etc..) was thrown out. The prosecutor was looking pretty smug.

However, she continued, I had clearly demonstrated residency, whether it was for a day, a week, a month or half a year. She further went on to say that she interpreted the law to allow residents to take their trucks home and that my testimony (I was deemed to be an "expert" in the field of transportation because of my experience and clean record) that it was very common for drivers to go home in their trucks and it was an industry standard that they do so, especially when they own their trucks.

The prosecutor slumped and began writing on a form. Once he had it filled out, he passed it to my lawyer. He raised his hand. The judge acknowledged him. He said he had changed his mind a handed my lawyer a dismissal. The judge told him it's too late for that, she was making her ruling. Her ruling was that I did NOT COMMIT the infraction I was cited for because the law exempts residents, which I had established through testimony of me, my witnesses and through hard paper evidence, including a Google maps photo that shows my truck parked in the church parking lot sometime last year.

I was not found simply "not guilty." The charge was not simply dismissed. The judge ruled me completely innocent.

That lawyer was well worth what I paid him.
 

Rigjockey

In Gord we trust!
Supporter
I am glad you won Injun Injun . Hiring a lawyer was smart. I am happy you challenged the ticket. Most people just take the cops word as law.
I am not sure how it works down there because, I just pay the tickets. Up here the courts hold the cops to a higher standard, Well not really. They hold the accusers proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt or beyond a shadow of a doubt.
 

mndriver

curmudgeon extraordinare
Supporter
The legal system has brought it upon themselves.

Starting back with Nixon when he started the war on drugs. Even to a point going back to the age of Aquarius and the days of Kent state.
 

Rigjockey

In Gord we trust!
Supporter
It kind of says a lot when the cops have become the bad guy in society. In public opinion.
The legal system has brought it upon themselves.

Starting back with Nixon when he started the war on drugs. Even to a point going back to the age of Aquarius and the days of Kent state.
No, Hey. I totally agree with you. The establishment have been over reaching for decades!
 

vaportrail

Well-Known Member
what was the lawyer cost??? Id love to park at home just more paranoid of somebody opening a valve and becoming covered in asphalt. A lot of kids in the neighborhood curiosity of course
 
D

Duner

Guest
IN THE END U BROKE THE LAW U GOT TO EXCEPT THE CONSEQWENCE IF YOUR ON A ROAD U DONT SUPPOSE TO BE ON AND GET A TICKET THAT IS YOUR FAULT WE ARE PROFESIONALS U GOT TO KNOW ALL THE LAWS AND ORDINCES OF THE AREAS U GO TO IN YOUR TRUCK
 

Duck

My other car is a POS too
Supporter
IN THE END U BROKE THE LAW U GOT TO EXCEPT THE CONSEQWENCE IF YOUR ON A ROAD U DONT SUPPOSE TO BE ON AND GET A TICKET THAT IS YOUR FAULT WE ARE PROFESIONALS U GOT TO KNOW ALL THE LAWS AND ORDINCES OF THE AREAS U GO TO IN YOUR TRUCK
Is that Newman from Seinfeld in your avatar? :confused:
 
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