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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 110541
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Im a semi-truck driver. Recently, I drove my truck to Washington

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I'm a semi-truck driver. Recently, I drove my truck to Washington State. On day there, I parked my truck in a rest stop, detached my load from the truck, then drove off to pick up something to eat. When I came back 30 mins later, I noticed a wrecker hauling my load off to an impound yard across the street. I walked over there and they explained to me their right, under Washington law, to impound the load because of the sign posted in the parking lot to where the load was. I walked over and noticed the sign indicated not to detach the load and leave it there or it could be impounded. However, this was at night and the sign wasn't reasonable visable. Anyways, my Texas employer is now garnishing my check in two increments of $500 which the total impound yard cost was $1000. Please let me know if you see any legally defencable rights or recourse I can take that would be successful, if any.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I am afraid that under WA law as long as the sign was posted, they do have the legal right to impound the load. The fact it was at night and you did not see the sign, or perhaps did not look for the sign or missed the sign would legally not be a defense to the impound. Under the legal theory applied by the courts, "ignorance of the law is not a legal defense," which means just because you did not know the law or missed the sign does not mean you did not commit the violation and that you could not be penalized for the violation. Any violation occurring while driving an employer's vehicle the employer can hold the driver liable for paying I am afraid.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Let change the situation a bit, just for arguments sake. If I were arrested for criminal trespassing in the same scenario, and I couldn't see the sign because it was too dark. Would I be guilty for willfully trespassing? Or, would there be a lessor offence I should or shouldn't be charge with?

Thank you for your response.

The legal premise of "ignorance of the law" would still apply. In order to not find you guilty of trespassing you would have to prove you believed the property you were on was public property and not owned by someone else. It would have nothing to do with the sign on the property being posted or visible for trespassing purposes. For your purposes in this matter, the WA RCW states the lot must have signs posted before they can tow. If they prove the signs were posted, then they have you without a defense I am afraid, regardless if you saw them in the dark or even perhaps if you were inattentive and did not think to look for them.
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