735 N.E.2d 330 (Ind.App. 2000), 67A01-0001-CR-14, Preston v. State

Docket Nº:67A01-0001-CR-14.
Citation:735 N.E.2d 330
Party Name:James L. PRESTON and David L. McCarty, Appellants-Defendants, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
Case Date:September 26, 2000
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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Page 330

735 N.E.2d 330 (Ind.App. 2000)

James L. PRESTON and David L. McCarty, Appellants-Defendants,

v.

STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 67A01-0001-CR-14.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 26, 2000

Page 331

Jeffrey R. Mitchell, Yarling & Robinson, Indianapolis, Indiana, Attorney for Appellants.

Karen M. Freeman-Wilson, Attorney General of Indiana, Priscilla J. Fossum, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

BROOK, Judge

Case Summary

Appellants-defendants James L. Preston ("Preston") and David L. McCarty ("McCarty") (collectively, "appellants") appeal the trial court's judgments against them for violating maximum highway weight limitations. We affirm.

Issues

Appellants raise four issues for review, which we consolidate and restate as follows:

I. whether the trial court's judgments are supported by sufficient evidence;

II. whether Indiana Code Section 9-20-18-7 was applicable as a defense to the weight limitation action initiated by the State under Indiana Code Section 9-20-4-1; and

III. if Indiana Code Section 9-20-4-1 was applicable as a defense, whether appellants presented sufficient evidence of their lack of access to or control of the loading of their trucks to avoid liability.

Facts and Procedural History

On May 26, 1999, appellants were driving asphalt-laden tri-axle 1 dump trucks for Milestone Contractors when state police motor carrier inspectors stopped their vehicles in Putnam County, Indiana. The inspectors weighed both trucks and determined that Preston's load weighed 55,600 pounds and that McCarty's load weighed 54,100 pounds. Both Preston and McCarty received citations for "overweight combination

Page 332

axles" pursuant to Indiana Code Section 9-20-4-1.

On October 19, 1999, the trial court conducted a joint hearing on appellants' citations. During final argument, appellants' counsel attempted to assert Indiana Code Section 9-20-18-7 as a defense, claiming that appellants "had no access to or control of" the loading of their trucks. Noting that this statute mentions criminal liability, whereas appellants' alleged violations were merely infractions, the trial court took its applicability under advisement. On November 3, 1999, the trial court entered judgment against appellants, ordering Preston to pay $460 plus costs and McCarty to pay $248 plus costs. The trial court did not enter findings regarding the applicability of Indiana Code Section 9-20-18-7 in its orders of judgment. However, the corresponding chronological case summary ("CCS") entries for both causes state that the court found "that IC 9-20-18-7 is inapplicable to this case as it speaks to criminal liability only, and the charge herein is an infraction under IC 9-20-4."

Discussion and Decision

I. Sufficiency of Evidence of Appellants' Weight Limit Violations

"[A]n appellate court may affirm a trial court's judgment 2 on any theory supported by the evidence." Dowdell v. State, 720 N.E.2d 1146, 1152 (Ind.1999). When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we will neither reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses. See Pridemore v. State, 577 N.E.2d 237, 239...

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