News and Notes

Driver Reinstated Despite 'A' Level Felony Arrest

Posted by Daniel Ackman | Nov 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

In TLC v. Ali, the OATH judge recommended reinstatement following a suspension based on an arrest and a high level drug charge. The driver prevailed based on his excellent record, his lack of criminal record and the fact that he was not arrested until three years after the alleged drug sale and a year after a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Indeed, the driver had turned himself in after learning about the warrant, figuring it was a mistake. This decision is unusual in that the driver was charged with felony, indeed an 'A' felony.

The ALJ concluded that "there was no evidence that the charged crime had anything to do with [the driver's] activities as a licensee. Nor was there any evidence that the crime involved a car or a passenger. Though the alleged crime occurred three years ago, "there was no evidence of any earlier effort to arrest respondent, and his conduct-including the absence of flight and voluntarily going to the courthouse in an effort to clear up the warrant-was consistent with innocence." 

The ALJ concluded: 

"As the court made clear in Nnebe, however, the severity of the crime charged is not the only relevant consideration.  Based on the evidence presented, respondent does not pose a continuing direct and substantial threat to public health or safety. Even assuming, as petitioner's rules require, that respondent participated in a drug sale three years ago, the remaining evidence, including respondent's detailed and credible testimony supported by demonstrative evidence, showed that he does not currently present a continued direct and substantial threat to the public. The evidence established that respondent is a mature, full-time driver, with a spotless safety record, and a lifelong history of law-abiding behavior. Specifically, the unrefuted evidence demonstrated that respondent has safely driven more than 11,000 passengers. There was no evidence that he had ever been arrested, violated petitioner's rules, or received a passenger complaint. Indeed, the unrebutted evidence demonstrated that respondent has received near­perfect ratings from his passengers. Under these circumstances, petitioner has failed to meet its burden of showing that respondent poses a continued direct and substantial threat to the public."

About the Author

Daniel Ackman

D​​an Ackman focuses on civil rights, administrative and constitutional class action litigation. Perhaps best known for representing New York City's taxi drivers in a series of civil rights class action lawsuits, Ackman's cases have resulted in a half dozen City practices being declared unconstitutional.

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