Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, September 29, 2023

Some felons may soon get behind the wheels of taxis, limos

People convicted of certain felonies can already tow your car, and soon they may be able to drive your taxi or limo as well.

The Gainesville City Commission passed a law Oct. 8 making roam towing permits available to certain felons after a 10-year waiting period. On Monday, the commission will vote whether to do the same with vehicle-for-hire permits.

Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa is chairwoman of the Public Safety Committee, which proposed the ordinances.

Since people are in similar situations whether riding with tow-truck, taxi or limo drivers, she said, the committee wanted the laws to "match."

"We wanted to decide on a certain standard of safety," she said. "At the same time, we didn't want to be overly punitive because you did something 25 years ago."

Those convicted of violent felonies like murder and rape will still never be allowed to get permits.

The 10-year waiting period is for those convicted of other felonies or first-degree misdemeanors involving cars, such as theft, carjacking or chop-shop involvement.

People convicted of driving under the influence would have to wait five years for a permit.

At a reading of the vehicle-for-hire ordinance Nov. 26, Commissioner Jack Donovan said he would consider tentatively cutting the 10-year waiting period to eight or five years. He suggested the commission look back on the law at a future date to see if the waiting period was "punitive rather than protective." Mastrodicasa said that might be an option.

"What we're trying to do is give people a chance," she said, "to say, 'You've done your time, you can move forward and have your job.'"

To come up with the conditions of both ordinances, Mastrodicasa said the committee relied on recommendations from the Gainesville Police Department and industry workers.

"Everyone seemed cool with it," she said.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

The towing ordinance was originally spurred by a Superior Towing employee who was convicted of a felony at age 18.

Now, 20 years later, he has been a driver for 13 years and would have otherwise lost his permit.

At the Nov. 26 commission meeting discussing the proposed vehicle-for-hire law, no one raised complaints about the felony restrictions, though limo drivers brought up new fees and decal requirements.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.