ASK A COP — What are the consequences for those who refuse to pay tolls?

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Mark asks: I have a cousin who lives in Houston who constantly drives on toll roads but NEVER pays his toll fee. He believes the toll fee is just a scam to get people to pay money to travel down a road that should be free like all other roads. He has amassed at least $2,000 in toll fees and has absolutely no plans on paying them. Cliff even says there’s nothing anyone can do to him. Is he correct?

Answer: Toll roads are found mainly in our larger metropolitan cities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and they are there to aid the traffic flow off of some commonly traveled highways, but it’s NOT free. There’s a tow fee attached to being able to gain access to the tow way. Normally warrants are not issued to chronic violators of the tow road, but fees are compiled every time any vehicle enters a tow road without a registered sticker.  Under current law, a toll user can face criminal charges after 120 days/6 months of late payment. And drivers who accumulate 100 or more unpaid toll charges within a 12-month period can be listed as habitual violators. This might block drivers from renewing their vehicle’s registration or ban them from toll roads. It’s also reported the amount owed could be reported on your credit file. It’s always best to pay the tow or stay off of the highway that’s providing the tow road. Criminal charges can be filed, but TxDot advised they haven’t filed a criminal charges against anyone since 2017.

Dab asks: Can a vehicle that is parked, stopped and has absolutely no movement at all to receive a ticket for open container? My friend told me she and her fiancé were parked on a street to settle a dispute. Apparently, someone called the police because they didn’t recognize the strange vehicle parked in front of their house. My friend admitted they had an open, half full can of beer resting in the console, but no one was currently drinking the beer when the officer arrived. If no one is driving the vehicle, is it still illegal to have an open container in a vehicle?

Answer: Alcoholic drinks can be your choice, just NOT behind the wheel or passenger compartment area of a motor vehicle. If you are in a motor vehicle, no matter if it is in motion or stopped, ALL persons should make their choice to NOT consume ANY alcoholic beverages. Absolutely, it is ILLEGAL to have an open container of alcoholic beverages in the passenger car of a motor vehicle, even if the vehicle is parked.

Cal asks: I was in a public office and overheard two ladies talking about the right to travel in Texas and no driver’s license is necessary. I never heard of such, so I took it upon myself and researched on the internet and found documents that supported their conversation. If someone is traveling in Texas, do they need a driver’s license, or can they legally travel in Texas without a license?

Answer: Sometimes we have to be very careful when we eavesdrop on someone’s conversation. I said it before on The Breeze Radio and I’m saying it again, you will need a driver’s license in Texas to legally operate a motor vehicle in Texas. The state of Texas will not permit anyone who has not proven their competency of state laws or skills behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, to drive on its roadway. Having a license in Texas is not a RIGHT, it is purely a PRIVILEGE. Anyone can start a blog online or publish an article, but that DOESN’T make the article is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you are traveling (driving) a motor vehicle, you will need a driver’s license.

Join Me, Officer Rickey Antoine and the crew of Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I. Washington and Tejas “Lil Man” Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM, The Breeze radio station every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. Tune in via the Internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in questions live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to rickey.antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for voice mail or mail them to 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can always approach and “Ask A Cop!”