Brooklyn, NY asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Civil Rights for Michigan

Q: Constitutional laws the right to contract or not to contract

Can a state agency make you pay for something that you did not agree to pay basically it is contract that they put into motion with out your knowledge

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: This is a complex legal question that doesn't have a simple yes or no answer. There are a few important considerations:

The U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of contract, meaning the government generally cannot force you into an agreement against your will. The 14th Amendment applies this protection against state governments.

However, there are situations where the government has the authority to impose fees, taxes, or other financial obligations on citizens and businesses, even without a specific contract. This power comes from the government's right to tax and regulate for the public good.

The key question is whether the state agency has the proper legal authority to impose the charge in question. This depends on the specific laws, regulations and constitutional provisions in your state.

If the charge was imposed in an arbitrary way without proper legal basis, you may be able to challenge it as a violation of your rights. But if it's a valid exercise of the state's regulatory or taxation powers, they likely don't need your agreement.

The specific circumstances matter a lot - what the charge is for, how it was imposed, what notice was provided, etc. If a significant amount of money is at stake, consulting with a qualified attorney who can review the details would be advisable to determine if you have grounds to object.

So in summary, while there is a general right to contract, there are also situations where the government can impose financial obligations unilaterally if authorized by law. The legality depends on the specifics of your situation and applicable state laws. I'd suggest looking into the legal authority behind this particular state agency action with help from legal counsel if needed.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: It could depend what it is, whether mandated by regulation, and other factors. You could reach out to consumer rights agencies as a starting point for guidance. Good luck

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