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Suitability Standard

Knowledgeable Massachusetts Attorney Representing Uber and Lyft Drivers in Administrative Hearings

Have you applied to drive for Uber or Lyft but received notice that the TNC Division denied your background check clearance certificate? Are you a current rideshare driver who was suspended after being arrested or receiving a traffic ticket? If so, it is important that you understand your rights and how to effectively pursue them. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy represents Uber and Lyft drivers in administrative hearings in front of the TNC Division, helping them reverse suspensions and denials of background check clearance certificates. Attorney Murphy commands an impressive knowledge of the rideshare driver suitability standard and can ensure that your application was not improperly denied.

What Is the Suitability Standard?

Under Massachusetts law, a person can only become a rideshare driver after they meet certain criteria. One of the requirements of becoming a Massachusetts rideshare driver is that the Transportation Network Company Division (TNC Division) must determine that you are “suitable to perform” rideshare services. To determine whether a driver is suitable, state law requires initial and periodic background checks.

While you don’t need a perfect criminal record or driving history to become a rideshare driver, there are criminal convictions that will prevent you from doing so. Additionally, if you have a major traffic violation on your driving history—or too many minor traffic tickets—the TNC Division will deem you unsuitable.

This suitability standard is often the source of headache for prospective rideshare drivers, as it is hardly a model of clarity. Below are some of the disqualifying traffic violations that will cause the TNC Division to deny your background check clearance certificate.

Minor Traffic Violations: If you received more than four minor traffic violations over the past three years, you may be deemed unsuitable. The list of minor traffic violations is contained in 211 CMR 134 Appendix A, and includes:

  • Hit and run accidents,
  • Blocking a crosswalk,
  • Driving in the breakdown lane,
  • Failure to signal,
  • Following too closely,
  • Improper use of a horn,
  • Racing, and
  • School Zone speeding violations.
Major Traffic Violations: If you have a single major traffic violation, the TNC Division will not allow you to become a rideshare driver. Major traffic violations include:

  • Reckless driving,
  • Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury,
  • Operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
  • Vehicular homicide,
  • Driving on a suspended or revoked license, and
  • Refusing to stop for a police officer.

The TNC Division will also review your criminal record before issuing a background check clearance certificate. The suitability standard provides that you cannot become a Massachusetts rideshare driver if, within the past seven years, you have a conviction for any offense that is punishable by more than 2.5 years. For example, felony fraud, breaking and entering, violation of a harassment protection order, identity theft and assault and battery are all seven-year disqualifying offenses.

Additionally, if you have been labeled a “habitual traffic offender,” you are ineligible to drive for Uber or Lyft for ten years.

Finally, there are also certain convictions that forever bar you from becoming a rideshare driver in Massachusetts, including:

  • Robbery,
  • Carjacking,
  • Two or more OUI offenses,
  • OUI resulting in serious bodily injury,
  • Sex offenses, and
  • Any violent crime punishable by more than ten years in prison.
Did the TNC Division Deny Your Request for a Background Check Clearance Certificate?

If you recently applied to drive for Uber or Lyft but were denied a background check clearance certificate, you have the right to appeal the Division’s decision. However, you have just 30 days to file your appeal. At the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, we can help you reverse an adverse finding by the TNC Division. Attorney Murphy is an experienced lawyer who proudly represents Uber and Lyft drivers in all types of administrative proceedings, including those challenging violations of the suitability standard. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Boston rideshare administrative appeals lawyer today, call (617) 367-0450. You can also reach Attorney Murphy through the firm’s online contact form.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
★★★★★
"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
★★★★★
"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
★★★★★
"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User