Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in New York
One of the more common, and fairly complex, misdemeanor traffic offenses in New York is the aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §511 criminalizes the unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, otherwise known as an AUO. What many drivers don’t realize is that driving while their license is suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by the DMV is a criminal offense.
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If you are convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation, you will have a criminal record. Furthermore, this is a criminal offense regardless of the reason for the underlying suspension or revocation. In other words, you would face criminal charges whether your license was suspended because you forgot to pay a fine for the most minor violation or because you were convicted of driving while intoxicated.
In many jurisdictions, you will be arrested. Yes, formally arrested. In New York City, you will almost certainly be “put through the system." Despite the fact that the law allows the police to issue you a desk appearance ticket and release you from the police station, in New York City, you can expect to spend between 24 and 36 hours side-by-side with accused murders, rapists and other hardened criminals.
Keep in mind that the prosecutors do not need to prove that you knew that your license was suspended but rather that you knew or HAD REASON TO KNOW. Each traffic summons issued in the State of New York has a warning that says that if you fail to answer the summons your license may be suspended. That warning creates a basis to allege that you should have known that you were driving with a suspended license.Penalties for AUO in the 3rd Degree
Aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree is what is referred to as an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by:
- $500 in fines
- Up 30 days in jail
The penalties are more severe if you commit AUO while driving a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 18,000 pounds. A person is guilty of AUO in the third degree if they:
Drive a vehicle while they know or have reason to know their license or privilege to operate a vehicle was either suspended or revoked.Penalties for AUO in the 2nd Degree
Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree is also an unclassified misdemeanor but as described below carries more serious penalties than AUO in the third degree.
If you are convicted AUO in the second degree because you had been convicted of AUO in the third degree within the last 18 months, the punishment is:
- A fine of not less than $500
- Up to 180 days in jail or probation
Potential inclusion in a drug and/or alcohol program
If you are convicted of AUO in the second degree because your license suspension was the result of a chemical test refusal or a suspension pending prosecution for driving while intoxicated, the punishment is:
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000
- 7 to 180 days in jail or probation (Yes, conviction of this crime requires the Court to sentence you to a minimum of 7 days in jail or a sentence of probation).
Therefore, to summarize, you will pay a fine of at least $500 and you will either go to jail or get probation, or possibly both.
A person is guilty of AUO in the second degree when:
- They commit AUO in the 3rd degree and has been convicted of AUO in the third degree within the last 18 months;
- The suspension or revocation is based upon a chemical test refusal;
- The suspension was a mandatory suspension pending prosecution for charge of driving while intoxicated.
- They have three or more suspensions imposed on at least three separate dates for failure to appear, answer or pay a fine.
Aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree is a Class E Felony. If you are convicted, the punishment is:
- A fine of between $500 and $5,000
- 1 to 4 years incarceration or probation
So you will be fined and either do jail time or receive probation. Additionally, you will have a felony criminal record.
A person is guilty of AUO in the first degree when one of the following occurs:
- They commit the crime of AUO in the second degree (as described above) and operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in violation of VTL § 1192(1), (2), (2-a), (3), (4) or (5);
- They commit the offense of AUO in the third degree and operate a motor vehicle while they have ten or more open suspensions, which are imposed on at least ten different dates for failure to appear, answer or pay a fine;
- They commit the offense of AUO in the third degree and operate a vehicle while they are under a permanent revocation as set forth in VTL § 1193(2)(b)(12).
If you have been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation (VTL § 511), you are facing a serious criminal charge. In fact, aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree is an E Felony. If you are convicted of AUO in the first or second degree, in addition to a fine, you WILL go to jail or be placed on probation or both.Tell Our New York Traffic Crime Lawyers About Your Criminal Case Today
Tilem & Associates, PC is ready to help you with your aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle case. As a trusted White Plains firm, you can feel confident placing your case and your future in the hands of our legal team. Get your free case evaluation with a top-rated defense attorney at our office before it is too late.
Serving people in many areas of New York, our knowledgeable traffic crime lawyers can be reached by phone at 877-377-8666 so call today!