The Law School Authority

Commonwealth v. Olshefski Case Brief

Summary of Commonwealth v. Olshefski
Penn. D. Ct. 1948

Relevant Facts: A driver of the df, loaded the df’s truck with coal, which weighed in at 15,200lbs. The legal limit is 15,750.  The driver deposited the truck and weigh slip at the home of the df.  The df drove the truck to deliver the coal, however he was stopped by the police and again weighed.  This weigh slip showed 16,015, or 265 lbs over.  He was cited for the violation.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the df is guilty of violating the CODE by driving his truck overloaded?

Court’s Holding: Yes

Procedure: Df waived a hearing and appeared.  Judgment against the df.

Law or Rule(s): If a law does not violate the constitution, and has been duly enacted by legislative decree, it is mala prohibita to violate it.

Court Rationale: In statutory crimes which are mala prohibita the mental element is not necessary for the commission of the crime, and a person caught in violation of that enactment is guilty irrespective of his intent or belief.  The df drove the truck, which was determined to be overweight by a state officer, in violation of the statute defining said conduct.

Plaintiff’s Argument: The truck was overweight directly contrary to the law and the df drove that very truck.

Defendant’s Argument: Df did not intend to violate the law, but attempted to avail himself to it.


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