FAIRFAX, Va. — A Fairfax County judge has dismissed a case against a woman who was charged more than $10,000 in fees and penalties for late payment of $12 in tolls.

The judge ruled this week that the toll company, Transurban, could not collect the penalties because the statute of limitations had expired. The company did not initiate proceedings until more than a year after the violations.

Toni Cooley of Fredericksburg took 11 trips on the Capital Beltway’s Express Lanes in 2012 that went unpaid because of a problem with her account. She paid the $11.70 in tolls, but refused to pay $300 in late fees. The fees then escalated to where Transurban sought more than $10,000.

Defense lawyers say thousands of drivers facing similar penalties could potentially benefit from the precedent.

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