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New Yorkers may see misdemeanor charge for tolls

Few New Yorkers in the Hudson Valley do not have regular contact with a car. People use cars and trucks to do just about everything - drive to work, get children from school or go out to have fun. However, any time a person is behind the wheel, an entire set of rules and regulations applies to that person. There are rules about who can drive, what types of vehicles can drive in certain places, when to stop or go, how fast to drive and others. Breaking these rules can easily lead to traffic violations, or in some cases, misdemeanor charges.

However, even with all these rules, the state of New York is still busy creating other traffic laws that drivers must be aware of and obey. In the most recent case, the state is considering increased penalties for people who fail to pay tolls. The governor's office claims that the state has lost $150 million over the last five years because of people who never pay tolls.

Under the current system, launched in November 2012, the entire toll way is completely electronic. Those drivers that do not have passes in their cars, are sent bills to their home addresses. However, many people never pay those bills.

Governor Cuomo is now pushing for legislation that would increase penalties for those that do not pay. If this legislation is passed, the state could suspend a driver's registration for failing to pay. If a driver fails to pay three or more times, that driver could face a misdemeanor charge for theft of services.

Misdemeanor charges can have serious consequences - even when they stem from traffic offenses. People can be sentenced to large fines and jail time if they are found guilty. Therefore, it is very important for people to understand their legal rights and options even when facing misdemeanor charges.

Source: The Journal News, "1 in 3 never pay cashless tolls; leaders push to go after evaders," Theresa Juva-Brown, March 29, 2014

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