Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in New York, also known as driving with a suspended (or revoked) license is a serious crime defined in the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State. Driving with a suspended license can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the individual case. Most often the motorist’s license is suspended for failure to answer one or more summonses but a person’s New York State License can be suspended or revoked because of a DWI, DWAI, an insurance lapse, three speeding convictions in an eighteen month period or accruing more than 11 points on a person’s license to name a few.
If your license is suspended don’t drive. In many cases an attorney experienced in traffic matters can “clear” the license inexpensively and quickly. If you are stopped while driving with a suspended or revoked license in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx or Staten Island you will most likely be arrested and spend twenty-fours in jail waiting to see a judge (arraignment). In Westchester and other suburbs you will probably receive a summons but so not let the summons fool you. The summons may charge you with a felony or misdemeanor for which a jail sentence is required.
The best course of action is to “clear” your license. That means obtaining a driver’s abstract from DMV (we can obtain driver’s abstracts) and resolving each of the issues on your driver’s license. The ultimate goal is to restore your driving privileges with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Judges and prosecutors are reluctant to plea bargain cases where the defendant has not restored his or her driving privileges. Judges and prosecutors are concerned that if you don’t restore your driving privileges you will be back with another VTL 511 charge.
A note about out-of-state driver’s or individuals without a New York State License, you can still be charged under this section. VTL §511 makes it a crime to operate a vehicle if your privileges to operate a vehicle have been suspended or revoked. That means that even if you have never had a New York State Driver’s License if you fail to answer a New York summons or cause DMV to suspend your privileges for some other reason (like a New York DWI) your New York State driving privileges can still be suspended or revoked and if caught driving in New York you are subject to arrest.
The bottom line is, don’t ignore summonses, DMV notices or insurance issues. If you believe your license is suspended do not drive. Check with DMV or a New York lawyer who can check the status of your license or driving privileges. If you are charged with Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License get an attorney involved as early as possible so that you can get your privileges restored and get the best possible outcome.