Measurement and Weighing of Commercial Vehicles
Under Section 316.545, F.S., an officer of the Florida Highway Patrol or weight inspector of the Department of Transportation, upon weighing a vehicle or combination of vehicles with load, determines that the axle weight or gross weight is unlawful, the officer may require the driver to stop the vehicle in a suitable place, and remain standing until a determination can be made as to the amount of weight.
If the vehicle is overloaded or other violations are found, the officer will determine the amount of the penalty to be assessed. The enforcement of commercial motor vehicle compliance is carried out by the DHSMV as provided in S. 20.24, F.S. Motor vehicle weight inspections are carried out by the FDOT under S. 20.23, F.S.
If you received a driver / vehicle examination report for an inspection conducted by an officer with the Florida Highway Patrol, Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, that contains violations, then contact an attorney in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm. Call (813) 250-0500.
Protesting the Penalty after a Citation for Violations
Upon payment of his or her penalty under Florida Administrative Code 14A-1.004, a person may apply to the Board to have the penalty reconsidered, if the person received a penalty under the provisions of Ch. 316 relating to:
- weights imposed on the highways by the axles and wheels of motor vehicles;
- to special fuel and motor fuel tax compliance; or
- to violations of safety regulations may.
In such contested cases, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board is authorized to modify, cancel, revoke, or sustain each penalty. S. 316.545 (8), F.S. After the payment is received, the CMV Review Board reviews testimony or other evidence supporting the modification, cancellation, or revocation of penalties imposed pursuant to sections including:
- 316.516, F.S., regarding size restrictions of width, height, or length;
- 316.545, F.S., regarding weight and load violations and special fuel and motor fuel tax violations;
- 316.550, F.S., regarding operating an oversize or overweight vehicle without a special permit; and
- 316.3025, F.S., regarding operating an unsafe and out of service vehicle, texting while driving a commercial vehicle, or unsafe handling of hazardous cargo.
The Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board is contained within the FDOT. The Board consists of three permanent members who are the Secretary of the FDOT, the Executive Director of the DHSMV and the Commissioner of Agriculture, or their authorized representatives. The Board may hold sessions and conduct proceedings at any place within the state. The Board is scheduled to meet monthly in 2017.
When Can an Officer Stop the Vehicle for Measurement?
An officer is authorized to require the driver to stop and submit the vehicle and load to measurement if the officer has reason to believe that the height, width, or length of a vehicle or combination of vehicles and the load on the vehicle is not in conformity with the maximum width, height, and length requirements. § 316.516(1), Fla. Stat.
The stop for the measurement and weighing of a commercial vehicle can be performed by any weight inspector of the Department of Transportation or law enforcement officer acting within the statutorily prescribed authority.
If violations of the requirements are found, then the officer can require an offending vehicle to remain in a suitable place until a special permit is obtained or the irregularities are corrected. § 316.516(2), Fla. Stat.
The Florida Highway Patrol has specially trained weight officers. If such an officer has reason to believe that the weight of a vehicle and load is unlawful, the officer is authorized to require the driver to stop and submit to a weighing of the vehicle using either portable or fixed scales. § 316.545(1), Fla. Stat.
If the driver refuses to submit to weighing then the person can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The driver can be arrested for a third-degree felony for knowingly and willfully resisting, obstructing, or opposing an officer while refusing to submit to such weighing with violence to the officer’s person. § 316.545(1), Fla. Stat.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles uses weight inspectors to operate its fixed-scale facilities. These weight inspectors are authorized to enforce the laws governing commercial motor vehicle weight, registration, size, and load and to assess and collect civil penalties.
A weight inspector may detain a commercial motor vehicle that has an obvious safety defect critical to the continued safe operation of the vehicle or that is operating in violation of an out-of-service order.
The weight inspector may immediately summon a law enforcement officer of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or other law enforcement officer, to take appropriate enforcement action.
The vehicle must be released if the defect is repaired prior to the arrival of a law enforcement officer.
Weight inspectors are not classified as law enforcement officers subject to certification requirements and are not authorized to carry weapons or make arrests.
The statute provides for criminal penalties for obstructing, opposing, or resisting a weight inspector in the performance of the duties. § 316.545(10), Fla. Stat.
By using the highway, a vehicle owner accepts the limitations of the statutes regulating weights of vehicles and subjects himself to consequences or penalties if he violates the law and his vehicle is apprehended. If the load is found to be excessive, the officer may assess penalties and require that the excess part of the load be unloaded and cared for by the owner or operator of the truck at his or her own risk. § 316.545(2), Fla. Stat.
Any person aggrieved by the imposition of such penalties may apply to the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board for a modification, cancellation, or revocation of the penalty. § 316.545(8), Fla. Stat.
Attorney for All Types of CMV Violations in Hillsborough County, FL
Some of the most common violations involve:
- Section 392.2 for state vehicle registration or license plate violation;
- Section 390.21(b) for carrier name and/or USDOT number not displayed as required;
- Section 393.11 for no or defective lighting devices, no tag lamp, or no reflective material as required;
- Section 395.8(k)(2) for driving failing to retain previous 7 days records of duty status (no record of duty status (log); or
- Section 393.3 for state / local laws for speeding violations.
Our attorneys represent drivers who receive a commercial motor vehicle citation for a weight violation or any other type of violation in the Tampa Bay area including all of Hillsborough County and the surrounding counties.
Call an attorney with experience representing CDL holders in traffic court and protesting CMV citations before the Board of Commercial Motor Vehicles. Call (813) 250-0500 today.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 19, 2017.