Why the debts are so large was finally explained to me by a state assistant attorney general recently. The toll charge itself is frequently relatively small — a few dollars. However, the fine itself is $50 and the related collection charge of $8.50 are charged PER VIOLATION.
For drivers with multiple violations this can really add up. An example:
Collection fee: $8.50
The toll — which is charge for use of the highway — is dischargeable (wiped out) in bankruptcy. The governmental fines (and related collection fees) however are NOT discharged under bankruptcy law.
In my client’s case, she had 234 infractions. Her total non-dischargeable debt for the fines came to almost $14,000!
There are consequences. The unpaid “EZ Pass” violations may or may not result in a withholding of vehicle tags for the offender, but the violations will certainly cause tax refunds to be seized, wages for state government employees offset, and reporting of the debt to the credit bureaus. (This will ding your credit and cause your next car purchase to be at 18% interest!)
If you owe, take care of it and pay it off. If the debt is more than you can reasonably pay off, consider Chapter 13 to force the debt into a payment plan of up to 5 years.
Good luck. Contact our office if you have questions.