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AB-344 Toll evasion violations. (2017-2018)

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Date Published: 07/03/2017 09:00 PM
AB344:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 03, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 344


Introduced by Assembly Member Melendez

February 07, 2017


An act to amend Section 40255 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 344, as amended, Melendez. Toll evasion violations.
Existing law prohibits a person from evading or attempting to evade the payment of tolls or other charges on any vehicular crossing or toll highway, and makes a violation of these provisions subject to civil penalties, as specified. If a vehicle is found to have evaded tolls on any toll road or toll bridge, existing law requires an issuing agency or a processing agency, within 21 days of the violation, to forward to the registered owner a notice of toll evasion violation setting forth the violation, as specified.
Existing law authorizes, within 21 days from the issuance of the notice of a toll evasion violation, or within 15 days from the mailing of the notice of delinquent toll evasion, whichever occurs later, a person to contest a notice of toll evasion violation or a notice of delinquent toll evasion. Existing law requires the processing agency to either investigate with its own records and staff or request that the issuing agency to investigate the circumstances of the notice, and requires the processing agency to mail the results of the investigation to the person who contested the violation. If the person is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, existing law authorizes the person to deposit the amount of the toll evasion penalty and request an administrative review, as prescribed. Existing law requires the review to be conducted in accordance with specified written procedure established by the processing agency and authorizes the agency’s final decision to be delivered personally or by first-class mail. Within 20 days after mailing of the final decision, the contestant may seek review by filing an appeal to the superior court.
This bill would not require a person contesting a notice of toll evasion violation or notice of delinquent toll evasion from being required to pay the toll evasion penalty until after the processing agency or issuing agency finds as a result of an investigation, or the processing agency finds as a result of an administrative review, or a court finds as a result of a hearing, that the contestant did commit a toll evasion violation, whichever occurs later. The bill would authorize an administrative review to include reviews of multiple notices of toll evasion violation or notices of delinquent toll evasion of a person.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 40255 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

40255.
 (a) (1) Within 21 days from the issuance of the notice of toll evasion violation, or within 15 days from the mailing of the notice of delinquent toll evasion, whichever occurs later, a person may contest a notice of toll evasion violation or a notice of delinquent toll evasion.
(2) The processing agency shall either investigate with its own records and staff or request that the issuing agency investigate the circumstances of the notice with respect to the contestant’s written explanation of reasons for contesting the toll evasion violation. Based upon the results of that investigation, if the processing agency is satisfied that the violation did not occur or that the registered owner was not responsible for the violation, the processing agency shall cancel the notice of toll evasion violation and make an adequate record of the reasons for canceling the notice. The processing agency shall mail the results of the investigation to the person who contested the notice of toll evasion violation or the notice of delinquent toll evasion violation.
(3) If the person contesting a notice of toll evasion violation or notice of delinquent toll evasion violation is not satisfied with the results of the investigation provided for in paragraph (2), the person, within 15 days of the mailing of the results of the investigation, may request an administrative review. An administrative hearing shall be held within 90 calendar days following the receipt of a request for an administrative hearing, excluding any time tolled pursuant to this article. The person requesting the hearing may request one continuance, not to exceed 21 calendar days.
(b) The administrative review procedure shall consist of all of the following:
(1) The person requesting an administrative review shall indicate to the processing agency his or her election for a review by mail or personal conference.
(2) If the person requesting an administrative review is a minor, that person shall be permitted to appear at an administrative review or admit responsibility for a toll evasion violation without the necessity of the appointment of a guardian. The processing agency may proceed against that person in the same manner as if the person were an adult.
(3) (A) The administrative review shall be conducted before a reviewer designated to conduct the review by the issuing agency’s governing body or chief executive officer. In the case of violations on facilities developed pursuant to Section 143 of the Streets and Highways Code, the processing agency shall contract with a public agency or a private entity that has no financial interest in the facility for the provision of administrative review services pursuant to this subdivision. The costs of those administrative review services shall be included in the administrative fees authorized by this article.
(B) In addition to any other requirements of employment, a reviewer shall demonstrate those qualifications, training, and objectivity prescribed by the issuing agency’s governing body or chief executive as are necessary and that are consistent with the duties and responsibilities set forth in this article.
(C) The examiner’s continued employment, performance evaluation, compensation, and benefits shall not be directly or indirectly linked to the amount of fines collected by the examiner.
(4) The officer or person authorized to issue a notice of toll evasion violation shall not be required to participate in an administrative review. The issuing agency shall not be required to produce any evidence other than the notice of toll evasion violation or copy thereof, information received from the department identifying the registered owner of the vehicle, and a statement under penalty of perjury from the person reporting the violation. The documentation in proper form shall be considered prima facie evidence of the violation.
(5) For a toll evasion violation that occurs on a vehicular crossing or toll highway where the issuing agency allows pay-by-plate toll payment, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 23302, the officer or person authorized to issue a notice of toll evasion violation shall not be required to participate in an administrative review. The issuing agency shall not be required to produce any evidence other than the notice of toll evasion violation or copy thereof, information received from the department identifying the registered owner of the vehicle, and a statement from the officer or person authorized to issue a notice of toll evasion that the tolls or other charges and any applicable fee was not paid in accordance with the issuing agency’s policies for pay-by-plate toll payment. Any officer or person who knowingly provides false information pursuant to this paragraph shall be subject to a civil penalty for each violation in the minimum amount of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) up to a maximum amount of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). An action for a civil penalty may be brought by any public prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California. The documentation in proper form shall be considered prima facie evidence of the violation.
(6) The review shall be conducted in accordance with the written procedure established by the processing agency, which shall ensure fair and impartial review of contested toll evasion violations. The agency’s final decision may be delivered personally or by first-class mail.
(7) An administrative review may include reviews of multiple notices of toll evasion violation or notices of delinquent toll evasion of a person.
(c) A person contesting a notice of toll evasion violation or a notice of delinquent toll evasion pursuant to this section is not required to pay the toll evasion penalty until after any of the following occurs, whichever is later:
(1) After the processing agency or issuing agency, as a result of the investigation conducted pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), finds that the person committed the toll evasion violation.
(2) If the person requests an administrative hearing pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a), after the processing agency finds that the person committed the toll evasion violation.
(3) If the person seeks further review pursuant to Section 40256, after the court finds that the person committed the toll evasion violation.