When a New York motorist drives while knowing or having reason to know that his or her license has been suspended or revoked, the charge is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). If you’re charged in New York City or on Long Island with AUO, get help from a Nassau County criminal defense attorney.
Why would you need to ask a criminal defense lawyer to help you with a traffic charge? Because in the State of New York, if you drive while knowing or having reason to know that your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, it’s a criminal offense, and in some cases, it can be charged as a felony.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation is not charged because someone simply does not have a driver’s license. You can only be charged with AUO if you previously had a driver’s license and if that license was subsequently revoked or suspended.
How Does New York’s Driver Violation Point System Work?
New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles uses a “Driver Violation Point System” to assign points to your driving record for traffic violations. Drivers who receive six or more points on their records in an 18-month period must pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee.
But if you compile eleven or more points in an 18-month period, the Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend your driver’s license. If your license is suspended by the State of New York, no other state will grant you a license until you have resolved the matter in this state.
The Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC) is an agreement among 45 states to share information about tickets, driving offenses, and auto insurance. If you live in another state, any traffic charge or violation in New York will appear on your driving record in your home state.
What Are The Various AUO Charges?
The law in New York recognizes three “degrees” of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.
AUO in the third degree is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of $200 to $500 and/or up to thirty days in jail. AUO in the third degree can sometimes be reduced to an infraction – which is not a criminal offense – if the driver promptly renews the license and presents it to the court.
AUO in the second degree is a misdemeanor charge punishable upon conviction with a minimum fine of $500 and up to 180 days in jail or on probation. Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the second degree is the charge whenever any of the following apply:
- Someone drives while knowing or having reason to know that his or her driver’s license is revoked or suspended, and that person has been convicted for AUO – or for another criminal offense that consists of or includes the same elements that constitute an AUO offense – within the immediately preceding eighteen months.
- The driver’s license revocation or suspension was triggered by a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction or by a pending DWI charge.
- The driver’s license revocation or suspension was triggered by the driver’s refusal to take a chemical test for driving while intoxicated.
- The driver has at least three pending license suspensions on separate dates for failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine.
What About First-Degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation?
First-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation is a Class E Felony. Upon conviction, an offender can be fined from $500 to $5,000 and ordered to serve probation, time in jail, or up to four years in prison. First-degree AUO happens whenever any of the following circumstances apply:
- A driver commits Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the second degree, but the driver does so while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.
- A driver commits Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the third degree, but the driver has ten or more pending suspensions imposed on separate dates for failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine.
- A driver commits Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the third degree, but the driver has had his or her driver’s license permanently revoked.
Of course, if you are charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, it does not mean that you will be convicted. It’s like any other criminal charge. The state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but a good lawyer can fight to have the charge dropped or have you acquitted.
When Is A Driver’s License Suspended In New York?
If your New York driver’s license is suspended, you will eventually have to pay a fee for lifting the license suspension. A suspension of your driver’s license in New York can happen for any of the following reasons:
- Eleven or more points are placed on your driver’s license within an 18-month period.
- You fail to pay or respond to a fine, a ticket, or a Driver’s Responsibility Assessment fee.
- You fail to pay court-ordered child support or New York State taxes.
- You are convicted of a drug crime, DWI, a serious traffic offense, or multiple offenses.
- You drive with no auto insurance coverage in the state of New York.
Are There Different Types Of Driver’s License Suspensions?
There are actually two types of driver’s license suspensions in New York: “definite” and “indefinite.” A definite license suspension has a specific end date, but with an indefinite suspension, you must do something – such as pay a fine – before the suspension can be lifted.
But “resolving” a traffic case in New York does not always mean paying a fine. Paying a fine is, in effect, pleading guilty. Whether the charge is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation or something less serious, let an attorney with traffic law experience contest the charge on your behalf.
Do Not Try To Be Your Own Attorney
Especially in first-degree AUO cases, the state may offer you no chance to plead to a lesser charge. If you’re charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, fight the charge, but do not try to act as your own attorney. Too much is at stake, and anything you say can be used against you.
If you are dealing with any New York traffic ticket, with any traffic-related criminal charge, or with the consequences of an out-of-state ticket, get legal help at once and schedule a consultation with a good New York traffic attorney. That is your right.
A lawyer who routinely deals with AUO cases and other traffic offenses can bring your case to its best possible outcome. If you’re charged with AUO on Long Island or in New York City, let a Nassau County criminal defense attorney represent you and fight for the justice you need.