CA Vehicle Code 35551 VC

VC 35551 – Failing to Control the Weight of a Commercial Vehicle

VC 35551 - Failing to Control the Weight of a Commercial Vehicle

Failing to Control Weight of Commercial Vehicle – Table of Contents

California Vehicle Code 35551 – Failing to Control the Weight of a Commercial Vehicle

What is the definition failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle under California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

California Vehicle Code 35551 places restrictions on the total gross weight of a commercial vehicle.

Is there a better way to approximate the weight of a vehicle under California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

Yes, this can be approximated from the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVW). This is noted on the truck license plate. It is derived from the total of weight of the brakes, axels, frame, suspension, and powertrain. Once derived and noted on all commercial license plate. A commercial truck cannot carry more cargo weight than designated on the license plate. A peace officers, when assessing compliance only look at the commercial license plate as an initial source of compliance. The commercial license plate was provided by the California Department of Vehicles (DMV) and regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

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 is limited to 80,000 pounds, unless there an exception that applies.

What is the easiest way to avoid a charge concerning a violation of California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

Weigh the truck before leaving a loading dock or loading area. Or stop at a public weigh station as soon as possible after leaving the loading platform.

Is there a weight exception under California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

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

  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.

Penalties – VC 35551

What are the criminal penalties associated with failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle under California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

Any violation of by a commercial vehicle under California Vehicle Code Section 35551(a) is a misdemeanor. The penalties include jail time up to 6 months. With maximum fines of up to $2000 dollars.

Defending – VC 35551

What are the defenses to a violation of failing to control the weight of a commercial vehicle under California Vehicle Code 35551(a)?

  1. Lack of knowledge that the truck was overloaded.
  2. Not proficient in the English language and the peace officer that stopped the driver did not ascertain whether or not English was his primary language.

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

  1. A commercial dealer of horse feed, decides to deliver organic pears to a farmer 20 miles away in a truck meant for horse feed, and places the 800 lbs. pear cargo in the bed of the truck. The truck has four tandem axels pushing the weight of the truck to an amazing 150,000 lbs. Although compliant in going to the weighing station. The dealer would violate the statute because pears are being transported rather than horse feed, and no exception applies.
  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. This not only exceeds the permissible weight of the tow truck, but affects the PSI requirements of the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  3. A private business owner has a cement truck. Because the owner does not properly clean the truck’s cement creamer, dried cement extends to weight past the permissible weight limits. Unfortunately, the owner, who is also the driver does not have a current commercial license. And is stopped by a CHP officer when the officer notices that the truck causing rivets on the ground due to the excessive weight.

We’re Here to Help

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

If you are charged with tampering or injuring a vehicle under Vehicle Code 10852 VC, call The Esfandi Law Group.

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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