Last Friday, July 21st, Newark resident Antonio L. Laracuente, 37, was caught passing through an EZPass toll on the George Washington Bridge without paying. Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said than an officer spotted him driving though a lower-level toll at 7:45 a.m. in his 2012 Honda Acord when the EZPass signboard read “toll unpaid”.
After stopping Laracuente, Officer Colman O’Reilly discovered that driver Laracuente had no valid driver’s license, nor a valid EZPass transponder or account. Further investigation showed that Laracuente’s license had been suspended, and an outstanding warrant for his arrest had been issued. Apparently, Laracuente had accrued over $44,445 in outstanding traffic fines and tolls.
Authorities went on to charge Laracuente with theft of service, driving with a suspended licence, toll evasion, and various traffic violations. For more information regarding this story, you can view the NJ.com article here.
Union County Traffic Violations Attorney Discusses Theft of Service Charges and Penalties
Depending on the ultimate degree of the crime, the penalties Laracuente faces from a theft of service charge may be the most serious of the charges he faces. As the severity of a theft of service charge depends on the total amount of what was stolen, Laracuente’s avoidance of tolls will most likely call for 3rd Degree theft of service charges, a criminal crime whch carryies up to $15,000 in fines and 3-5 years of imprisonment. Laracuente will almost certainly wish to consult with an experienced Union County criminal defense attorney in order to help him negotiate for a lower degree charge, helping him to lower the severity of the charges, and thereby reducing the monetary penalties and potential jail time.
Theft of Services is described in N.J.S.A 2C:20-8, and as already noted, the severity of a theft of services charge depends on the value of the property stolen, and theft of services charges are broken down as such:
- Disorderly Persons Offense: For thefts involving property value of less than $200, fines up to $1,000 and up to 6 months imprisonment
- 4th Degree Offense: For thefts involving property value between $200 and $500, fines up to $10,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment
- 3rd Degree Offense: For thefts involving property value between $500 and $75,000, fines up to $15,000 and 3-5 years imprisonment
- 2nd Degree Offense: For thefts involving property value over $75,000, fines up to $150,000 and 5-10 years imprisonment.
Should I Hire an Attorney for my Traffic Offense Charges in Union County?
Many traffic violations such as speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license carry increased fines and potential jail time with each subsequent offense. Beyond this, New Jersey also operates on a point-based system, where different violations add a certain amount of points to your license, and upon reaching 12 points, driving privileges will be revoked.
For both of these reasons, it can be extremely beneficial to hire an experienced Union County traffic violations attorney any time you are charged with a violation. Your attorney can help reduce the charges against you, resulting in reduced monetary fines, potential jail time, and points on your license. If you are concerned about maintaining your driving privileges in New Jersey, or paying excess fines and fees, it is highly recommended that, at the very least, you consult with an attorney before your court date to discuss the options available to you.
Contact a Linden, NJ Traffic Violation and Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we have extensive experience defending clients across Westfield, Summit, Elizabeth, Linden, and the greater Union County area from traffic violations and criminal charges of all kinds.
We are prepared to thoroughly investigate your unique situation, work to contest the state’s evidence against you, and help you protect your financial and legal future. Not only may your driving privileges, financial stability, and freedom be at stake, any criminal convictions against you will be placed on a permanent criminal record, potentially affecting your current and future employment opportunities.
Whether you have been charged with a DUI, reckless driving, driving with a suspended or revoked license, or theft of services, our firm is ready to begin helping you today. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Attorney Edward Cooper, please contact us online, or through our Linden, NJ office at (908) 481-4625.