OAG 81-70.

Case Date:September 24, 1981
Oregon Attorney General Opinions 1981. OAG 81-70. 87OPINION NO. 81-70 [42 Or. Op. Atty. Gen. 87]No. 8058September 24, 1981Mr. John J. LobdellPublic Utility Commissioner FIRST QUESTION PRESENTEDAre there any Oregon statutes which would prohibit the unauthorized manufacture, sale or use of commercial motor vehicle safety inspection decals issued by the Public Utility Commissioner (PUC)?ANSWER GIVENYes.SECOND QUESTION PRESENTEDIs it advisable for the PUC to adopt an administrative rule addressing such matters?ANSWER GIVENYes.THIRD QUESTION PRESENTEDIs it possible to protect the safety inspection decal by registering it with a federal agency?ANSWER GIVENYes.FOURTH QUESTION PRESENTEDIs there any action that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) can take on its own to preclude the necessity for member states to enact their own statutes or rules?ANSWER GIVENNo, not at the present time. DISCUSSION The State of Oregon is a member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). This organiza88tion is comprised of several western states and one Canadian province. Member states have recently entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" relating to commercial motor vehicle safety inspections, including uniform minimum inspection standards, a common inspection identification system using decals, and reciprocal recognition of inspections. Under ORS 767.455(1), the Public Utility Commissioner is required to adopt rules:". . . that require common and contract carriers to:"(c) Use reasonable precautions for safety of operations and equipment of motor vehicles subject to their operations and control. . . ."The commissioner has adopted rules under this statute, establishing equipment safety standards. OAR 860-65-010 et seq. Presumably these rules must be amended or added to in order to implement the memorandum of understanding.This opinion addresses several questions regarding protection of the PUC safety inspection decals, assuming they are to be required under the new rules, from unauthorized duplication, sale, distribution and use. The first question asks whether there are any Oregon statutes which would prohibit such conduct. It is our opinion that Oregon's forgery statutes would cover such conduct. ORS 165.007 provides: "(1) A person commits the crime of forgery in the second degree if, with intent to injure or defraud, he: "(a) Falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument; or "(b) Utters a written instrument which he knows to be forged. "(2) Forgery in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor." A "written instrument" is defined as:". . . any paper, document, instrument or article containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, whether complete or incomplete, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person." ORS 165.002(1).To "falsely make" a written instrument means:". . . to make or draw a complete written instrument in its entirety, or an incomplete written instrument which purports to be an authentic creation of its ostensible maker, but which is not, either because the ostensible maker is fictitious or because, if real, he did not authorize the making or drawing thereof." ORS 165.002(4).To "utter" means:". . . to issue, deliver, publish, circulate, disseminate, transfer or tender a written instrument or other object to another." ORS 165.002(7).The manufacture of forged PUC safety inspection decals would constitute the offense of forgery under subsection (1)(a) of ORS 165.007. The sale or distribution of such decals would constitute forgery under ORS 165.007(1)(b). The...

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