Call Today
(703) 383-9222
Free Consultations

  • 1

Virginia Toll Booth Violations: An Avoidable Black Hole For Your Money.

We have all seen the EZ-Pass lanes on the toll roads and highways of the Mid-Atlantic. May-be you even use one. But you must be very careful, because a wrong step could cost you dearly.

EZ-Pass works by automatically billing your credit card each time you drive through one of those fast and convenient EZ-Pass lanes. However, what happens if you credit card is rejected, expired, or removed from your EZ-Pass account? Answer: You may receive a letter from your local General district Court demanding tens-of-thousands of dollars.

When an EZ-Pass user whose credit card is not being billed properly drives through the EZ-Pass lane, the machine will still identify the owner of the EZ-Pass and it will still bill you. But when your credit card fails to accept the charge that error will set in motion an avalanche of civil penalties, fees, court costs, and fines that can add up to tens-of-thousands of dollars.

How can a $1.00 toll results in tens of thousands of dollars? Simple, each violation can result in up to $600+ in fine and fees ect. And each time the driver goes through the EZ-Pass lane its a separate violation. A commuter who goes through the Dulles Toll Road to-and-from work each day can rack up 40 violations in one month before they realize their credit card expired. 40 times $600 is $32,000.

In Virginia, going through a toll booth without paying the toll is a violation of Va Code section 46.2-819. However, 46.2-819.1 and 46.2-819.3 dictate the consequences of such a violation.

The consequences of repeated EZ-Pass violations come in stages:

1) A driver goes through the toll without paying. the toll booth company sends a bill for the toll plus up to $25 per violation. The bill goes to the last known address on the EZ-Pass account.

2) If the driver does not pay within 30 days, the toll booth company can then collect up to $100 per violation to cover collection costs.

3) If the driver still does not pay, the toll booth sends the matter to traffic court.

4) The court will fine the driver $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second, $250 for the third, and $500 for each additional violation.

5) After three violations, if the fines and fees are not paid the DMV freezes your vehicles registration so it cannot be renew or issued. (The DMV charges a $40 fee per freeze issued).

This happens all the time, and the average total bill runs in the thousands of dollars. In Fairfax County General District Court alone there is a entire court docket and a special prosecutor dedicate to prosecuting only toll booth violations.

Most of these people forgot to update their EZ-Pass account when their credit card expired and that sets in motion the violations. Often things get worse because the address on their account is also out of date or miss printed. By the time the court gets involved they owe thousands, if not tens-of-thousands, of dollars.

If this situation has happened to you contact a traffic attorney immediately. The toll booth violation laws are very complicated, which means more loop holes and more defenses.

Even if there are no defenses in your case, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to agree to a greatly reduced fine (Often 10-30% of the original fines and costs). So talk to an attorney immediately.

Luke J Nichols

Spectrum Legal Defense

(703) 383-9222

About Luke Nichols

Luke Nichols practices almost exclusively traffic law in Northern Virginia. His primary practice areas include reckless driving, speeding, DUI/DWI, refusal, hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license, and driving on a revoked license. Mr. Nichols has represented hundreds of Virginia drivers. You can also connect with Luke on Google+
This entry was posted in Defending Yourself in Traffic Court, Misc. Traffic Tickets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.