Long Beach Successfully Prosecutes Trucking Firm For Overweight Load

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The Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday that a Rancho Cucamonga trucking company and its driver were convicted by a jury of transporting an illegally overweight load on Long Beach streets.

On April 9, 2014, truck driver Guadalupe Martinez was stopped by Long Beach Police for driving a truck with a load that exceeded the maximum legal weight limit by over 10 tons (21,000 pounds). Martinez’ employer, Martinez Trucking and Logistic, Inc., was also charged.

At trial, Long Beach Police Officer Sean Parrilla explained that Martinez’ truck was certified up to a maximum of 67,500 pounds, but was hauling a load that weighed 88,600 pounds. Martinez’ attorney unsuccessfully argued that his client’s wide load permit also allowed him to carry a weight in excess of the legal limits.

On January 26, 2015, a Long Beach jury deliberated only 90 minutes before finding both Martinez and his company guilty of carrying an overweight load and misuse of a permit. Sentencing is scheduled for February 18, 2015, by Superior Court Judge J.D. Lord.

Martinez and his company each face a fine of up to $4,720 plus state-imposed penalties which effectively quadruple the fine. Additionally, Martinez could be sentenced to six months in County Jail.

“Overweight trucks tear up our roads and pose a significant danger to other motorists,” said City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “Due to being overweight, these trucks often cannot brake in time to avoid a collision. The vast majority of trucking companies work hard to comply with the rules, however, all companies need to be held to the same standards. This case was particularly egregious.”

The City Prosecutor’s Office filed the case on July 14, 2014. Unlike most misdemeanor cases where fines are limited to $1,000 per violation, fines for overweight commercial vehicles are based on the amount of excessive weight.

“Our goal is to ensure the safety of innocent drivers who have to share the road with trucks. All drivers need to follow the rules of the road, and truck drivers are no exception,” said Deputy City Prosecutor Stephanie Dowds, who handled the case.

Companies that overload their cargo can gain an unfair advantage over companies that operate lawfully. “By our enforcing the law we are trying to ensure a true competitive environment,” said City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “The public deserves to have safe streets and should not have to worry if the truck next to them will be able to stop in time when traffic slows down.”

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