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AGO 1959 No. 77 - October 22, 1959
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

MOTOR VEHICLES - GROSS WEIGHT LIMITS - SPECIAL PERMITS - APPLICABILITY OF PENALTIES PRESCRIBED IN RCW 46.44.045.

Penalties prescribed by RCW 46.44.045 relating to maximum gross weights are not applicable to violations for exceeding the gross weight limits authorized by special permit issued pursuant to RCW 46.44.091.

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                                                                October 22, 1959

Honorable Roy A. Betlach
Chief, Washington State Patrol
General Administration Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                             Cite as:  AGO 59-60 No. 77

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

            "Are the penalties prescribed in RCW 46.44.045 applicable to violations for exceeding the gross weight limits authorized by special permit issued pursuant to RCW 46.44.091."

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            By § 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1959, § 2, chapter 254, Laws of 1953 (RCW 46.44.045) was amended to include therein the poundage penalties for excess weights which theretofore had been incorporated in § 11, chapter 254, Laws of 1953 (RCW 46.44.048).  § 2, chapter 136, Laws of 1959, expressly repealed the latter section.

            In addition to other modifications not presently material, the 1959 legislature amended the definition of "excess weight," formerly defined in § 11, chapter 254, Laws of 1953, to read as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "(6) For the purpose of determining additional fines as provided by subsection (2) of this amendatory act of 1959, 'excess weight' shall mean the poundage in excess of the maximum gross weight prescribed by RCW 46.44.040 through 46.44.044 plus the weights allowed by RCW 46.44.046, 46.44.047, and 46.44.095."  (§ 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1959.)

            The legislature, however, did not amend that portion of § 2, chapter 254, Laws of 1953 (RCW 46.44.045) which defines the violations for which the basic fines prescribed therein could be imposed.  Rather, § 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1959, reads in part as follows:

            "(1)  Any person violating any of the provisions of RCW 46.44.040 through 46.44.044 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. . . ."

            "(2) In addition to, but not in lieu of, the above basic fines, such person shall be fined two cents per pound for each pound of excess weight . . ."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            It seems abundantly clear that the excess weight penalties imposed by subsection (2) above quoted, were intended by the legislature only to be imposed upon "such persons" convicted of violating RCW 46.44.040 through 46.44.044, "in addition to, but not in lieu of, the above basic fines" set out in subsection (1) immediately preceding.

            It is therefore our conclusion that the excess weight poundage penalties imposed by subsection (2) § 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1959, (RCW 46.44.045),supra, are not applicable to, and cannot be imposed for, violations of special permits issued pursuant to RCW 46.48.091 authorizing gross weight limits in excess of the maximum gross weights provided for by RCW 46.44.040 46.44.044.  Such penalties as may be imposed for violations of RCW 46.44.091 are found in RCW 46.44.097.

            We hope that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

ROBERT J. HALL
Assistant Attorney General

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