Skipping due process on trucker tickets won't do, says Louisiana judge

| 1/28/2002

On March 9, 2000, at the Interstate 10 scales near Toomey, LA, OOIDA member Gary Ring was cited for bypassing the scales and fined $2,000 on the spot. Ring said he was innocent, but was ordered by the deputy sheriff and the scale master to pay the entire amount by cash, money order, electronic transfer or cashier's check. If he didn't pay the $2,000, his rig and load would be seized until he paid the fine.

He paid, but a year later, Ring sued the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and its division of Weights and Standards (W&S) for violating his and other truckers' constitutional rights to due process. On Jan. 25, the judge at the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge ruled that indeed, this was unconstitutional. One of Ring's four attorneys, Madro Bandaries, told Land Line the judge ruled the tickets could be written, but it was unconstitutional for the state to demand payment on the spot.

"Truckers should know this," said Bandaries,"they should know they don't have to pay these tickets on the spot anymore."

The statute states as follows: "Whenever any vehicle or combination of vehicles is found in violation of any provision of this Part or any regulation of the department or secretary adopted pursuant thereto, the weights and standards police officer or any state policeman shall take the name and address of the owner and driver and the license number of the vehicle and shall issue a violation ticket assessing a penalty for such violation in accordance with RS 32:388." The statutes also say "Upon issuance of the violation ticket, the owner or driver shall pay forthwith the penalty assessed with certified check, cashier's check, money order or department approved credit card to the weights and standard police officer or state policeman."