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Irrational Equalities

Life is full of things that are predicated on something else.  If you touch a hot stove, you will burn your hand.  If you are nice to others, they will be nice to you.  Everybody has truths in their life that yield a reward or consequence.  This scenario is played out many times in Illinois law.  If you are convicted for a crime, you will be fined.  If you do one act while committing a crime you may be charged with a second crime.  In truck enforcement world, there is a misconception is that overweight on registration violations somehow have an effect on legal weight.

Scenario:  It’s July 1st.  A 2-axle truck is travelling down the road and an alert police officer notices the Illinois license plate sticker is expired.  He checks the registration through the Secretary of State database which returns an alert the plate expired the day before on June 30th.  Under 625 ILCS 5/3-401D2, the truck can be cited for being overweight on registration due to the fact the plates have expired.  The fine/bail is computed using the cost of appropriate registration to cover the actual weight of the truck on the scale.  In this case, the officer puts the truck on the scale and it weighs 19,000 pounds.  The fine is the cost of an Illinois “H” truck plate.

This is a common situation played out every July.  What is uncommon, but seems to continually rear its ugly head, is a truck found operating with expired, or no registration at all, is also tagged with a 2nd overweight on gross citation (625 ILCS 5/15-111A) predicated on the expired plates.  This is wholly incorrect.

There is no doubt that a truck lacking valid registration could also independently be in violation of axle or gross weights permitted in Chapter 15 of the IVC.  If it is not, there is no 2nd overweight ticket.  In the scenario above, that 2-axle truck is entitled by law to a maximum gross weight of 40,000 pounds regardless of its registration status.

The weight limits granted in Chapter 15 are mutually exclusive of registration weight limits found in Chapter 3.  One does not equal the other.  The only time Chapter 3 weight law is horizontally connected to Chapter 15 weight law is in the case of Special Hauling Vehicles.  But even in those cases, only an extra weight limit privilege is lost when a vehicle does not have an SHV.  One Chapter does not void the other Chapter completely.

In essence, a police officer who improperly cites this way is saying registration is the foundation of legality and invalidates any other provision of the law.  Using this logic, does the expired registration cancel a vehicle insurance policy?  Is a CDL disqualified?  Is a valid overweight permit void?  If all other provisions of the law are predicated on registration status, then one can only assume that everything found post-registration is illegal.  Back mask this logic…if a truck is overweight on axle, is the registration now invalid as well?

A reasonable person would conclude the preceding statements are without merit.  How then is it permissible to draw a conclusion the truck described in the scenario above can cited for overweight on gross (15-111A) and fined – starting from pound zero – using the fine chart in 15-113A if it has not exceed the legal weight limits of Chapter 15?

In fairness to police officers who may have done this, they may have been trained improperly or learned a bad habit from another officer.  Or maybe it is moneylust….who knows.   The goal here is not to draw judgment, but to rationally correct a legal inequality.

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