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NY Penal Law § 145.70: Criminal Possession of a Taximeter Accelerating Device

A taximeter is a mechanism used in taxi cabs that keeps track of the distance traveled and the corresponding fare the rider would pay. The amount of money that a cab driver can charge a passenger per mile is regulated, and taximeters are calibrated accordingly.  Tampering with a taximeter in a manner that causes it to register a higher fare than allowed by law is a criminal offense. One manner in which to unlawfully increase a fare is to install a taximeter accelerating device in the cab. In New York Penal Law § 145.70(1) the term “taximeter accelerating device” is defined as any device that causes a taximeter to charge a fare that is higher than that which is permitted by local law.  It is against the law to possess a taximeter accelerating device under New York Penal Law § 145.70.

For Example

Keisha jumped into a yellow cab and asked the driver to take her uptown. Keisha travels this route in a taxi at least 4 times every week, so she is well aware of approximately what the fare should be. However, on her trip today, the fare was $6 more than it usually is. Keisha questioned the cab driver about the charge. He simply pointed to the fare and asked her for the money. Keisha paid her fare, but then she reported the driver to TLC. If an investigation reveals that the driver is in possession of a taximeter accelerating device, then he could be facing prosecution for criminal possession of a taximeter accelerating device.

Offenses that are Related

Petit larceny: New York Penal Code § 155.25

Possible Defenses

A possible defense against a charge of criminal possession of a taximeter accelerating device is that you did not have it in your possession for an unlawful reason. Under New York Penal Code § 140.70, there is a reasonable presumption that, if you possess such a device, you have it with the intent to employ it for an unlawful purpose. That said, if you can bring some form of evidence that will demonstrate that you had the device for a lawful reason, then you might have a valid defense against such a charge.

The Sentence

Criminal possession of a taximeter accelerating device is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor. Although, if you are convicted, the judge could sentence you to a 3 year probation term, the judge might also sentence you to a term of up to 1 year in jail.

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