Wisconsin truck drivers (or those from other states just passing through) have a tough job. They have to contend with the long hours, discomfort and solitude of life on the road, and they also have to deal with an ever-moving target of weight and size parameters that could literally earn them an overweight or oversize violation one day that they didn’t get the day before under seemingly identical conditions.
A jumble of relevant laws
Dealing with the standard statutory guidelines set forth in Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 348 (specifically 348.15 and 348.16) that give the standard weight limits for Class A and Class B roadways is confusing enough, but truck drivers must also take heed of the numerous caveats, exceptions and qualifiers set out in Sections 348.17, 348.175 and 348.18. These exceptions cover such things as “frozen roads,” “class II roads,” “springtime posted roads,” “raw forest products,” and weight limits on “publicly owned vehicles.” It is a wonder that truckers get any driving done at all while trying to keep everything straight.
It is already expensive to deliver freight via truck after accounting for high diesel prices, frequent necessary maintenance, salaries and other costs. Factor in the expenses associated with axle violations (single or tandem), gross vehicle weight violations, access road weight violations, special permit violations and seasonal restrictions – fines that can easily reach thousands of dollars courtesy of myriad Wisconsin law enforcement agencies – and a truck owner-operator or trucking company could end up out of business.
The proverbial “insult” added to the “injury” of having been ticketed for a weight violation is the fact that different municipalities and jurisdictions around the state handle these issues in different ways. Some jurisdictions invite compromise/plea charges and lowered fines to prevent protracted trials that would only tie up the court system. Other jurisdictions, however, are perfectly willing to take weight violations to court, and will not accept any compromise that could resolve the issue without the need for a trial.
Knowing how to get help
Situations like these are why it can be helpful to have access to attorneys who both have in-depth knowledge of the state’s myriad weight and size restrictions, including the seasonal and regional limitations that can throw off even seasoned, veteran drivers. Furthermore, being familiar with the prosecution “habits” of various jurisdictions will give an attorney the insight necessary to decide when negotiation is possible or if trial preparation should begin right away to fight the fine.
If you – or a driver working for you – have been ticketed for a Wisconsin axle or gross weight violation, you have the right to qualified counsel to assist in your defense, so contact an experienced traffic violation defense attorney to learn more.