§11-14C-45. Authority to inspect.

(a) The commissioner, upon presenting appropriate credentials to the owner, operator, or agent in charge, is authorized to enter any place and to conduct inspections in accordance with this section. Inspections shall be performed in a reasonable manner and at times that are reasonable under the circumstances, taking into consideration the normal business hours of the place to be inspected.

(b) Inspections may be conducted at any place where taxable motor fuel or motor fuel dyes or markers are, or may be, produced, altered, or stored, or at any site where evidence of production, alteration, or storage is discovered.

(c) The commissioner may physically inspect, examine, and otherwise search any tank, reservoir, or other container that can or may be used for the production, storage, or transportation of motor fuel, motor fuel dyes or markers. Inspection may also be made of any equipment used for, or in connection with, the production, storage, or transportation of motor fuel, motor fuel dyes or markers, including equipment used for the dyeing or marking of motor fuel.

(d) The commissioner may stop, inspect and issue citations to operators of motor vehicles for violations of this article at sites where motor fuel is, or may be, produced, stored, or loaded into or consumed by motor vehicles. The commissioner may enter into agreements with other agencies of this state to provide assistance in stopping and inspecting motor vehicles for violations of this article.

(e) Inspections may occur at any terminal, motor fuel storage facility that is not a terminal, retail motor fuel facility, highway rest stop, and designated inspection site.

(f) The commissioner may, on the premises or at a designated inspection site, take and remove samples of motor fuel in reasonable quantities as necessary to determine the composition of the motor fuel.

(g) Nothing contained in this section is construed to prohibit the issuance of a citation for the violation of the provisions of this article on the open highway or other than the spot check areas where the violation of this article is discovered when the motor vehicle is lawfully stopped for any other criminal violation of the laws of this state.