UBER lawyer NYC
HOW TO FIGHT TLC and taxi VIOLATIONS IN NYC
If you drive an Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab, Black Car, or any other type of taxi, you may receive a ticket from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC violation). In addition to receiving points that may affect your privilege to drive in New York, you may also face losing your TLC license, which can destroy your livelihood. Typically, you will receive a summons directing you to appear at the OATH hearings division located at 31-00 47 Ave in Long Island City, Queens, NY. This court handles TLC matters and is different from the Traffic Violations Bureau courts that handle typical traffic violations.
One of the most serious TLC tickets you can get is for Administrative Code 19-506(b)(1).
There are several reasons why this ticket is so serious. First, it is often issued two at a time and the maximum fine is $2,000 per ticket. One is a ticket issued to the owner of the vehicle and one is issued to the driver.
In total this ticket can cost you $4,000.
Second, there is a possibility of a jail sentence as well as having the vehicle confiscated. For all of these reasons, it is a good idea to hire an attorney.
These tickets are often issued by undercover TLC officers who hail taxis and appear to be legitimate passengers. Currently, there are many undercover TLC officers issuing these tickets at airports especially at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport. Typically, the undercover officer will enter the vehicle after having placed his bag in the trunk. The undercover officer will then request that the driver take him to a particular destination and offer money. Once the driver agrees, a different officer will approach the vehicle and issue the summons.
A skilled lawyer may be able to help you fight these tickets, avoid jail, and reduce fines. One line of defense is to argue that the driver never actually agreed to drive the officer and that the officer simply entered the vehicle. This can be a powerful defense if a driver’s first language is not English. Often times, the officer will enter the driver’s taxi without the driver’s permission. In the case of an Uber or Lyft driver, the driver may be able to produce evidence to show that they had reason to believe that the TLC officer was a passenger who booked a ride through the app and that the driver mistakenly took the officer for a valid passenger.
In certain instances, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement on one ticket and fight the other. For example, if the driver does not own the vehicle, a good strategy may be for the lawyer to negotiate a plea to one ticket and fight the other ticket related to the owner. The driver could then testify that the owner was unaware that his or her vehicle was being used at all, let alone for an unlicensed vehicle for hire. There is a rebuttal presumption that the vehicle owner permitted the use of his vehicle for illegal for-hire activity as is clear from TLC v Samfes Yo Corp. [pdf], however, a skilled attorney may be able to present evidence that the owner, in fact, was unaware.
In short, there are many strategies and tactics to consider when issued a TLC ticket. As a former prosecutor, I am very familiar with police officer testimony and will fight to make sure you get the best possible outcome.