The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) issues licenses for driving cabs or for-hire vehicles in the five boroughs. There are many reasons why a driver may have his/her TLC license suspended. A possible suspension is no joke—it affects one’s livelihood. Moreover, NYC TLC employs experienced prosecutors to investigate every case.
TLC License vs Driver’s License Suspension
The NYC TLC cannot suspend a person’s driver’s license. However, it can suspend or revoke the hack license, thus denying the ability to drive for a living. The TLC’s standards for suspending hack licenses is much lower than it is for a NYS driver’s license. In other words, the number of traffic violations needed to face a TLC suspension is much lower. In addition, there are things that can result in a suspension of the TLC license that would otherwise have no effect on one’s driver’s license.
Reasons for TLC Suspension
There are many ways that a professional driver can have his/her TLC license suspended. Some of the most common include:
- Points. The NYC TLC will suspend any license that accrues between 6 and 9 points in a 15-month period. After 10 points or more, the license will be revoked (must reapply at a later date). See the sidebar for more details on the TLC and points.
- Criminal charges. Under Rule 80-08(c)(3)(iii), TLC drivers must report any pending criminal charges. Although the driver is innocent until proven guilty in court, the TLC has the discretion to deny or suspend a license until the case is resolved.
- Accidents. A TLC hack license can be suspended if the driver is involved in a serious accident (involving injuries or death), an accident in which he/she is found negligent, or if he/she does not file a report following an accident.
- Various other violations. Some traffic offenses and TLC rule violations can also result in a suspension of the hack license. For example, using a cell phone or other electronic device [80-14(g)(1)], working too many hours [80-14(f)(3)], and locking passenger doors [80-15(c)(1)] all carry a possible suspension upon conviction of a first offense.
Notes on TLC Points
There are several key differences in the way the TLC calculates and handles points versus the NYS DMV:
- The NYC TLC only has a 15-month lookback period for points, versus 18 for the DMV.
- Drivers are at risk of a suspension after just 6 points, rather than 11.
- Points assessed by other states count toward a TLC driver’s total. NYS does not assess points for out-of-state violations.
- The 15-month period is calculated from the date of conviction, not the date of violation.
- When a TLC driver is charged with multiple violations from the same instance, only the highest-point violation counts against the hack license. For example, a driver charged with speeding 15 mph over the limit (4 points) and disobeying a traffic signal (2 points) on the same day and time will only be assessed 4 points on the hack license, despite getting 6 points on the NYS driver’s license.
- TLC drivers can take a TLC defensive driving class to reduce the total points on the hack license by 3. The DMV will not reduce points, but will increase the point threshold for a suspension by 4 for the same class.
The NYC TLC License Suspension Process
If the NYC TLC is considering suspending or revoking a hack license, it will often request a hearing before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). Prior to the formal hearing, the driver and a TLC representative will first attend a conference with the judge to discuss the matter. The conference is an effort to resolve the matter before a full hearing. If the judge decides the matter does not need to advance, the case is closed and a decision is made. If the matter cannot be resolved, a full hearing is scheduled. At the hearing, an attorney for the TLC will explain why the hack license should be suspended or revoked. The driver will have a chance to present his/her side of the case. Eventually, the judge will make a ruling and determine if the license is suspended or revoked, and if so for how long.
It is crucial for the driver to have an attorney present at the conference and the hearing. For starters, the TLC will have its own attorneys present to offer evidence and arguments. Having an attorney in the driver’s corner evens the odds and gives him/her the best chance at keeping the hack license.
Where Will the TLC Suspension Hearing Take Place?
Office of Administrative Trials & Hearings, 40 Rector Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10006
How to Fight an NYC TLC License Suspension
In order to preserve one’s ability to generate income, a TLC driver must make every effort to combat a possible suspension. That means hiring an experienced attorney to represent him/her in the pre-hearing conference and at the formal hearing. A skilled attorney will know the OATH office and TLC rules and be able to formulate the best possible strategy for maintaining the hack license. He/she may also be familiar with the TLC attorneys and OATH judges, and this rapport means his/her arguments will be taken seriously and given all due consideration.
Who Should TLC Drivers Contact?
If you or someone you love is facing a possible suspension of their TLC license, consult with an attorney right away. Rosenblum Law has many years’ experience helping TLC drivers throughout New York City fight traffic tickets and content TLC violations. Email or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation about your case.