Many people make extra money or even a full-time living through Uber and Lyft, but currently, the Department of Transportation is cracking down on these individuals to ensure that they are obeying the law.
There are licensing requirements as well as special rules that must be followed in order for Uber and Lyft drivers to provide transportation services, and those who do not follow the laws are subject to criminal prosecution.
By understanding more about what this type of sting operation entails and what the rules and requirements are for using the Uber and Lyft apps as drivers, you can reduce the chance of getting caught up in a sticky legal situation.
What the Law Says
In order for Uber and Lyft drivers to legally use their vehicles as a taxi type of service, all of the transportation must be pre-arranged. More than that, the services must be paid for through the app. When this does not happen, the driver can be charged with a crime for illegally operating a taxi service and may face a number of legal penalties if convicted.
A Closer Look at the Sting Operation
The reported sting operation includes law enforcement officials posing as Uber or Lyft customers.
- They reportedly flag down Uber or Lyft drivers, hop in the back of their car and ask them to take them down the street for cash.
- They make it clear that they are operating outside of the app and will be paying with cash, and
- When the driver agrees to take the person down the street for cash, he or she is charged with the crime of illegal operation of a taxi service without a license or permit.
What May Happen to Uber and Lyft Drivers
The laws for illegal operation of a taxi service vary by state, so it is important to understand the laws in your state as well as the penalties for failing to comply with the law.
- In some states, drivers have had their vehicles impounded for up to 30 days, and this means that they have been unable to earn a living through the use of their own vehicle or to use their vehicle for personal transportation.
- This can be financially distressing to many individuals.
- In addition, you may have a conviction for the crime, which may be a criminal misdemeanor or another type of crime.
What to Do If This Happens to You
If you are one of the many thousands of Uber or Lyft drivers around the country, you may be particularly concerned about this potentially happening to you.
- Some drivers have claimed that they felt entrapped and did nothing wrong. For example, some only stopped their vehicle because the person seemed distressed and looked like she needed help.
- Then, the individual hopped into the car without being invited in and demanded a ride.
Regardless of whether you felt entrapped into the crime or not, some people may benefit from speaking with a law firm to discuss their rights and to learn if their rights have been violated through the actions of the Department of Public Transportation. If so, you may be able to:
- Build a strong legal defense against the charges that you are facing
- Get your car back more quickly
- Avoid having to pay fines or deal with other legal consequences
Uber and Lyft drivers provide an important service to the general public, making it easy and affordable for individuals to get from one location to another in their local area. However, some do accept cash offer rides on the side, and because of this, law enforcement officials are targeting all Uber and Lyft drivers in a sting operation. Contact an attorney if you have been the target of a sting operation.