Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York occurs when someone is pulled over for another traffic violation, such as speeding, VTL § 1180, and the officer finds out that your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked. The main statute is New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) 511, or VTL § 511. This charge is separate and distinct from driving without a license. Aggravated unlicensed driving is a crime (misdemeanor of felony), whereby driving without a license, VTL § 509, is an infraction.

Differences Between Suspensions and Revocations

Suspension or revocation – there is a difference

Although the result is the same – you cannot drive – there is a huge difference in New York State between a suspension or revocation. A suspension has a beginning date and and end date. Contrast, a revocation totally extinguishes your driving privileges for a minimum period, after which you can apply for license reinstatement. To get that license reinstatement, you may have conditions such as temporary conditional driving privileges, completing driver safety courses, or re-taking your road test. 

Whatever the case, if you are charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York, our NY traffic ticket defense lawyers can represent you anywhere in NY State. We can defeat the charges, ensure that you are not convicted of a crime, and guide you through having your NYS driving privileges reinstated.

Common Reasons for Suspensions and Revocations

Often time, a license is suspended for failing to appear in court to other tickets, or failing to pay a fine. Clearing the underlying suspension will be key to defending your Aggravated Unlicensed Operation charge in NY State. In addition, a driver’s license can be suspended under VTL § 510-c for various reasons. For example, a junior license holder, class DJ, can be suspended for 60 days for common convictions. These include hit and run, running a red light, running a stop sign, passing a stopped school bus, speeding, following too closely, or failure to wear a seatbelt.

Further, a NYS driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for a minimum of five years after an alcohol related conviction (DWI and DWAI) for any moving point violation, and can be suspended for a drug conviction or failure to pay child support.

For being convicted of failure to carry auto insurance, VTL § 319, your New York driving privileges are revoked for a MINIMUM of 1 year.

Being convicted of 3 or more speeding tickets that were all WRITTEN within an 18 month period results in a New York State driver’s license revocation for at least 6 months. Accruing 11 or more points in any given 18 month period results in a license suspension until the points drop to fewer than 11.

Various Degrees of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York

There are varying degrees of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York. AUO 3rd Degree, NY VTL § 511(1)(a) is a misdemeanor crime and carries a mandatory fine up to $500.00 plus a surcharge, and a 30 days in prison sentence or probation can be imposed. The elements of AUO 3rd Degree are that the person drove while their license was suspended. Only one active suspension is required.

AUO 2nd Degree, NY VTL § 511(2)(a) is a misdemeanor crime as well and carries a fine from  $500.00 – $1,000.00 plus a surcharge. Further, this crime carriers a MINIMUM sentence of 7 days in prison; up to 180 days in prison; OR probation. In other words, when you are convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree, you will either go to jail or be sentenced to probation. The elements of AUO 2nd are that the defendant has a minimum of 3 separate active suspensions, or that the person drove while the license was suspended refusing a DWI breathalyzer or under suspension pending prosecution of a DWI case.

AUO 1st Degree, NY VTL § 5ll(3)(a), is a very serious class E felony which carries a mandatory fine of between $500.00 and $5,000.00 dollars, and either a jail sentence of up to 4 years or a sentence of probation. The elements of felony AUO 1st is that the defendant had 10 or more active suspensions imposed on ten different dates; OR they were arrested while impaired or intoxicated when under suspension for a breathalyzer DWI refusal or alcohol related offense (driving while intoxicated or driving while ability impaired). 

What to do if Charged With Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York

Often times people charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in New York City have no idea that their license was suspended. People often move and do not update their address with the DMV so warning notices and suspension letters go to the wrong address. While this is not a legal justification defense, it is the pragmatic cause of the underlying suspension.

When you retain a law firm to defend your against AUO charge in NYS, you need a law firm that will provide comprehensive, strategic defense. This includes defending you in the court and also clearing all of your underlying suspensions. It is our overarching goal to negotiate a plea bargain so that you (1) get back on the road legally, and (2) negotiate a plea to a non-criminal resolution.

We Go The Extra Step For Our Clients

We are one of the few non-government entities that have DIRECT ACCESS to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles computer records – with your driver’s license information we can pull your NYS DMV driver’s history, called an “abstract,” and have at our fingertips the underlying causes of the suspensions and advise you on the course of action to take in order to clear them. Then, we will bring this proof into court and attempt to negotiate a non-criminal disposition showing that you fixed the problem. This way you do not have to take your case to trial and risk a criminal conviction, and your fine will be a lot lower. Often times we can do this without the need for you to appear in court.

If you or someone you know was charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York, call us now for a free estimate!