North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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September 20, 1977

Subject:

Municipalities; Regulation of Taxis; Operators' Permits

Requested By:

Mr. Joe Chandler City Attorney Elizabethtown, N.C.

Question:

Does G.S. 160A-304(a)(2) prohibit the issuance of taxi operator's permit where the applicant therefor has a prior conviction for possession or sale of intoxicating liquors?

Conclusion:

No.

G.S. 160A-304(a), in relevant part, reads:

"§ 160A-304. Regulation of taxis. -- (a) A city may by ordinance license and regulate all vehicles operated for hire in the city. The ordinance may require that the drivers and operators of taxicabs engaged in the business of transporting passengers for hire over the public streets shall obtain a license or permit from the city. The following factors shall be deemed sufficient grounds for refusing to issue a permit or for revoking a permit already issued: . . .

(2) Violation of any federal or State law relating to the use, possession, or sale of intoxicating liquors or narcotic or barbiturate drugs; . . ."

The provisions of the statute are in the nature of a guide as to what may be considered by the various municipal authorities in the ordinancing process for the regulation of taxis. It does not mandatorily prohibit the issuance of a permit nor deprive the municipal authorities of their discretionary authority in the regulation of taxis. The legislature has delegated to the various municipalities of the State the power to license, regulate and control the operators and drivers of taxicabs and leaves to the sound discretion of municipal authorities what ordinances or regulations are reasonably necessary for the protection of the public or better government of the municipality.

In the event an applicant for a taxi license or permit falls within the purview of G.S. 160A-304(a), due note should be taken thereof before a license or permit is issued. However, if it is determined that the issuance of a permit to such applicant will not expose the public to unnecessary risk and is in the public interest, a license or permit may issue. It would be to the best interest of the issuing agency for the facts surrounding such issuance to be documented in the permanent records.

Rufus L. Edmisten Attorney General

William W. Melvin Deputy Attorney General