Monday, January 7, 2013

Virginia Overweight Citations: Penalties Against the Driver

Localities in Virginia retain wide discretion on the means in which they enforce the overweight regulations in Virginia. Overweight violations exist in a gray area between civil and criminal law. Technically an overweight violation under Virginia Code §§ 46.2-1124, 46.2-1125, 46.2-1126, 46.2-1139 is considered a civil matter. Most police officers will issue a citation to the trucking company. A civil penalty will be assessed under§ 46.2-1131 and a liquidated damage penalty under §46.2-1135.

 Some localities will issue a citation directly to the driver either in place of a civil citation to the company or in conjunction with a civil citation to the company. Often these citations will be for violations of corresponding local overweight regulations. If the driver was operating under a permit at the time of the violation, an officer may issue a citation under §46.2-1139(D)(.1) directly to the driver for any term of the permit the driver may have violated. These types of violations are often classified as Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors.

Under Virginia Code §18.2-11 a Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by 12 months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,500. A Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by 6 months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

Absent exceptional circumstances it is highly unlikely a Court will issue a jail sentence to a driver for an overweight violation. However, the fact that the punishment entails confinement means that a driver may not simply prepay the citation and will need to appear for the hearing. Both a Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors carry a high fine.

The monetary punishments Virginia Court’s impose for these types of violations differ greatly across the Commonwealth. It is not uncommon for a Court to issue the full monetary penalty against a driver. One should also consider the DMV demerit points that these types of violations may carry.

If one of your company’s driver has been directly issued an overweight citation or if you are a driver that has been directly issued on overweight citation in Virginia you should take it seriously and consider retaining counsel. Our firm has extensive experience defending overweight / oversize citations across the Commonwealth, we have the experience to defend you call Jeffrey Cox at 703-573-0700 today!

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