TLC Drivers Prevail in Lawsuit over Automatic License Suspensions based on Arrests

New Federal Court Ruling will Make it Harder for TLC to Automatically Suspend TLC Licenses Based Solely on an Arrest.

In a major victory for TLC drivers, a New York Federal Appeals Court has ruled that the current regulatory scheme that virtually always results in TLC licenses being suspended pending prosecution in virtually all cases is unconstitutional.

Until now, when a person who happens to hold a TLC license is arrested in New York City, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is automatically notified of the arrest. This results in most cases, in the automatic suspension of the person’s TLC license, based only on an arrest and without any further inquiry into the matter.

This experience can be especially problematic for people who receive Desk Appearance Tickets. Currently, when a person is arrested and receives a Desk Appearance Ticket, the case is often scheduled weeks or even months later for first appearance in Court. This means that a person with a TLC license will have his or her license suspended for a considerable period of time before even going to court or the first time. This represents a significant hardship frequently out of proportion to the gravity of the case.

While it is possible to challenge the automatic suspension at an administrative hearing, the result of that administrative hearing was always still subject to review by the TLC - and the TLC virtually always recommended suspension pending the outcome of a criminal case, even when the driver was able to win the hearing.

The ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is available to review here.

Going forward, the Government will be required to develop a meaningful means to challenge these formerly automatic suspensions pending prosecution for TLC drivers. The Government is no longer simply going to be able to rely on the fact of an arrest to suspend a person’s ability to drive with a TLC license. Going forward, the Government will need to establish some sort of rational, specific reason related to the defendant to suspend a TLC license.