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State v. Walker

Court of Appeals of Oregon

April 17, 2019

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
ALAN TRENT WALKER, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted December 7, 2018

          Coos County Circuit Court 17VI168664 Paul R. Burgett, Judge pro tempore.

          Alan Trent Walker fled the brief pro se.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Greg Rios, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and James, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for operating a vehicle without required lighting, ORS 816.330, after driving a pickup truck pulling a trailer that had no lights. He assigns error to the trial court's interpretation of ORS 801.265 and ORS 801.270, arguing that his pickup and trailer should qualify as a "farm tractor" and "farm trailer," which would be exempt under ORS 816.340.

         Held:

         Based on the plain meaning of the statute, and consistent with legislative history, "farm tractors" include only vehicles designed primarily for drawing or operating other farm machines, equipment, and implements of husbandry. The trial court did not err in construing and applying the statutes or in fnding that defendant's pickup truck was not a "farm tractor," nor his trailer a "farm trailer."

         [297 Or.App. 79] DeVORE, J.

         Defendant is a farmer who, like other Oregonians, is willing to examine the authority for issuing him a traffic ticket. The question is whether, when ticketed, defendant had been operating a "farm tractor" that was drawing a "farm trailer" or, instead, defendant had been driving a pickup truck pulling a trailer without lights in violation of ORS 816.330. Defendant appeals from a judgment that convicted him of that violation, arguing that his pickup and trailer should qualify as a "farm tractor" and "farm trailer," which require no such lights. We affirm.

         Our standard of review is the same for appeals from judgments involving violations as for those involving misdemeanors or felonies. ORS 138.057(1)(a). On a question of sufficiency of the evidence, we review the facts "in the light most favorable to the state to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found that the essential elements of the violation had been proved by a preponderance of the evidence." State v. Chen, 266 Or.App. 683, 684, 338 P.3d 795 (2014) (citation omitted). On a question of law, we review for legal error. See State v. Rosling, 288 Or.App. 357, 360, 406 P.3d 184 (2017), rev den, 362 Or. 389 (2018) (interpretation of statute).

         On a September evening in 2017, defendant drove a 1994 Chevrolet C2500 pickup truck on Highway 101, pulling a single-axle flatbed trailer without lights. A state trooper stopped him, explaining that the trailer needed lights and citing him for a violation of ORS 816.330. At trial, the trooper testified that the trailer was a flatbed utility trailer that appeared to be fashioned from the frame of a travel trailer with the addition of boards for a bed. Defendant argued that his trailer was exempt from the lighting requirement because it was a farm trailer. He testified that he used the trailer on his farm to haul things like irrigation supplies, livestock feed, and chicken coops. Defendant explained that he was moving irrigation equipment and structural material to a new location on the evening in question. The trial court convicted defendant of the violation and imposed a fine of $80.

         [297 Or.App. 80] Defendant appeals, renewing his argument that the trailer was a "farm trailer" and exempt from the lighting requirements of ORS 816.330. ORS 816.340(3)(c); ORS 801.270. In relevant part, ORS 816.330(1) provides that a "person commits the offense of operation without required lighting equipment if the person *** [d]rives or moves on any highway any vehicle that is not equipped with lighting equipment that is required[.]" In particular, ORS 816.320(2) requires trailers to be equipped with two taillights, registration plate lights, brake lights, turn signals, and two rear reflectors. However, ORS 816.330(2) exempts vehicles listed in ORS ...


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