Have You Been Charged With Obtaining Entry Into Bus, Rail Vehicle, or Station by Unlawful Means in Georgia?
There are a number of ways people can get around if they don't have a vehicle. Georgia has many public transportation options such as Marta buses, Marta trains, etc. These places strive to help people get around if they can't afford a vehicle of their own. Some issues arise when people use these transportation options illegally by altering coins or tokens to obtain entry. If you have been charged with a crime in Georgia, contact our offices now for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law on Altering Fare Coins, Tokens, Stored Value Cards, Transfers, Transaction Cards and Tickets Without Consent
O.C.G.A. §16-12-120.1 presents five ways in which a person can be convicted of violating the statute. They include when a person:
- Sells, makes, or possesses any coin, token, stored value card, transfer, transaction card, ticket, or any other fare medium which has been altered from its original condition contrary to its intended use to enter or gain entry into or on any bus, rail vehicle, or station;
- Sells or exchanges any token, stored value card, transfer, transaction card, ticket, fare medium, or similar article which was obtained by fraudulent or illegal means and which is used or to be used as payment for entry into or on any bus, rail vehicle, or terminal without the express consent of the public transit agency owning or operating such vehicles or stations;
- Offers entry or provides entry into or on any bus, rapid rail car, or station to any person without the payment of the proper fare to the public transit agency owning or operating such vehicles or stations;
- Gains entry into or on any bus, rapid rail car, or station without the payment of the proper fare; or
- Gains entry into or on any bus, rapid rail car, or station through the use of a coin, token, transfer, transaction card, ticket, or any other fare medium which is the property of another person when the use of such medium is limited by its terms to a single user.
Penalty for Obtaining Entry Onto Bus, Rail Vehicle, or Station by Unlawful Means in Georgia
A person convicted of violating O.C.G.A. §16-12-120.1 will be guilty of a misdemeanor. In Georgia, misdemeanor convictions carry a penalty of up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
Never plead guilty to a crime even if it seems like the consequences are minimal! Always speak to a Georgia Criminal Attorney before deciding to plead guilty.
Defenses in Georgia
Consent: If you had express permission from the agency owning the vehicle or station to sell, transfer, or exchange the item, that is a sufficient defense.
The alteration was unintentional or unknown: If you presented coins, tokens, or a ticket that had been altered without your knowledge, then you did not violate the statute. However, you will still need the help of an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to help demonstrate your innocence.
What is Not a Defense
I tried but was unsuccessful in obtaining entry; therefore, there was no crime: O.C.G.A. §16-12-120.1 criminalizes not just obtaining entry but an attempt to gain admission through altered fare or without proper payment, etc.
Many people just plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, but they do not think it is a big deal or think they have no other option. That is definitely not the case. Never plead guilty without first speaking with an attorney. The Lawyers at Lawson and Berry have over 50 years of criminal defense experience. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and see how we can assist you.