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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RANDALL F. STEINER. APPEAL CITY CHESTER. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA V. RANDALL F. STEINER (07/17/81)

filed: July 17, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RANDALL F. STEINER. APPEAL OF CITY OF CHESTER. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA V. RANDALL F. STEINER, APPELLANT



NO. 2484 OCTOBER TERM, 1978, NO. 2554 OCTOBER TERM, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Delaware County, at No. 114 of 1978.

COUNSEL

Edward J. Zetusky, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, Chester, for City of Chester, appellant at No. 2484 and for Commonwealth, appellee at No. 2554.

Robert F. Pappano, Chester, for Steiner, appellant at No. 2554 and for appellee at No. 2484.

Hester, Cavanaugh and Van der Voort, JJ.

Author: Van Der Voort

[ 289 Pa. Super. Page 80]

On March 31, 1978, Randall Steiner was operating a tractor-trailer combination in the City of Chester. A police officer noticed the rear tires were bulging and stopped the vehicle. The officer observed that the tractor bore no registration plates; the trailer did bear current registration.*fn1 Subsequently it was determined that the tractor had been registered in Pennsylvania for a gross weight of 73,280 pounds but its registration had expired more than a year earlier. Such registration was reinstated a month after the above incident.

Steiner was instructed by the police to proceed to the city scales where the combination weighed in at 77,320 pounds. The officer after determining that the registration had expired, determined the vehicle to have a permitted gross weight of zero. Accordingly he calculated the rig to be overweight by 77,320 pounds. The officer issued a citation charging Steiner with violating Section 4942(a) of the Motor Vehicle Code (75 Pa.C.S. § 4942(a)), which reads:

(a) Single vehicle limits. -- No vehicle registered as a truck, a combination or a trailer shall be operated with a gross weight in excess of its registered gross weight.

The officer set the fine at $22,500.*fn2

A hearing was held before a district justice after which Steiner was found guilty and fined $22,500 and ordered to

[ 289 Pa. Super. Page 81]

    pay the costs. Steiner filed an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County requesting a de novo hearing. The court found Steiner guilty and imposed a fine of $600*fn3 plus costs. Both parties have appealed from the order of the lower court.

The Commonwealth argues that the court imposed a lesser fine than required by the Vehicle Code: Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, No. 81, § 1, 75 Pa.C.S. § 101 et seq. Steiner argues he should not have been adjudicated guilty, first because section 4942(a) is only applicable to Pennsylvania registered vehicles, which his was not; and secondly because the Commonwealth failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the scales ...


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