Stop blocked vehicle registration due to HCTRA toll road fines

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Posted on Aug 27, 2015

If you have your vehicle registration blocked because of unpaid HCTRA or Harris County Toll Road Authority fines, HCTRA is currently releasing the block if you file bankruptcy.

The filing of a bankruptcy case causes an "automatic stay" or federal court order to go into effect, which prevents among other things, "an act to exercise control over property of the estate," which is prohibited by 11 U.S.C. Sec. 362(a)(3).

This does not necessarily mean that the fines are discharged in bankruptcy, although our understanding is that is how HCTRA is currently treating them.

Part or all of the toll road fines could be determined to be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy pursuant to a different section of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. Sec. 523(a)(7). See In re Holder, 376 B.R. 802 (S.D. Tex. 2007) (traffic violation surcharges by Texas Department of Public Safety found to be non-dischargeable).

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