By Michael Spevack
Hello everybody… This month, I want to talk about the importance of TLC’s power to settle or withdraw violations against a driver. This power is so strong and important to drivers that I want to discuss it again, despite having written about it in the past.
New York City Charter chapter 65 created the TLC and provided it with its power to regulate our Industry. This power is all-encompassing, when it comes to taxi and for-hire vehicle (FHV) activity in New York City. Of particular importance is section 2303(b)(11) of Chapter 65 of the charter, which provides that TLC shall have the power to, among other things, take on the “[t]he formulation, promulgation and effectuation of rules and regulations reasonably designed to carry out the purposes, terms and provisions of this chapter.”
The purpose of this article is not to discuss 2303 of the Charter and TLC’s power, but to make clear that TLC and its agents, namely TLC prosecutors, have very broad authority with regard to TLC-licensed drivers – including the authority to decrease penalties in TLC rules against drivers.
Rule 35 section 68-20 governs settlements and withdrawals of charges by TLC. The TLC may resolve and dispose a ticket against a driver by settlement of such charge or charges. 35 RCNY section 68-20(a)(2) provides that “[t]he settlement agreement may provide for penalties different than the penalties provided for in these Rules.” This means that TLC may decrease (or… gulp, increase) penalties against a driver in any settlement agreement between a driver and TLC – an extremely powerful provision.
TLC prosecutors, as agents of the Taxi Commission, basically have in their discretion total authority to disregard TLC rules, except for certain mandatory penalties in the NYC Administrative Code having to do with service refusals, overcharges, etc., and impose a lesser penalty in virtually every TLC case. So, it is essential to know how to negotiate with TLC prosecutors to find out what TLC is willing to reduce charges to in any given situation.
35 RCNY section 68-20 also allows TLC to withdraw charges completely against a driver if the agency feels it is justified in the interests of justice. This could be a lifesaver to a driver charged by TLC.
If you have a TLC ticket, I strongly recommend consulting a qualified TLC lawyer or representative to help minimize the impact of such a ticket. I am available for a free initial consultation, if you receive such a ticket.
Thank you for reading my article. Until next month, be well…