The settlement unit is part of the TLC’s prosecution division, which helps to protect public safety and hold licensees accountable for following TLC rules.
When a driver receives a summons, he or she has the option to plead guilty and accept a settlement. If licensees accept a settlement, it can save them the time of attending an Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) hearing, and may lead to a lower penalty. Respondents who do not wish to settle a summons can appear in front of an OATH judge for a hearing.
The settlement unit team, made up of seven members, answer all licensees’ questions about the prosecution process, as well as TLC rules. Translation services are available for all licensees, as it is important that they be able to understand their case as clearly as possible.
“We are here to answer all their questions, and explain a summons to them,” said Kehkeshan Hafeez, the Settlement Unit’s Supervising Attorney. “We consider many different factors in settling a case, such as how long has the respondent been licensed, how many prior violations the licensee has, the seriousness of the violation itself, and the risks it poses to the public.
She added that some TLC violations have a greater effect on public safety, and therefore carry escalating penalties to deter licensees and reduce repeat violations.
“Drivers are held to a higher standard, because they transport the public,” she said.
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