The Three Degrees of AUO

Certain crimes are progressive in their punishments. While the offense itself may seem minor and have little impact on others, lawmakers nonetheless want to discourage individuals from committing the crime. To achieve this, lawmakers provide punishments that progressively worsen the more a person commits the offense.

Generally speaking, this is how the traffic laws regarding Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, or AUO, operate in New York. The offense of AUO itself does not seem especially heinous, but individuals who are charged with multiple instances of this traffic violation soon find that the consequences become severe.

The Crime of AUO

Aggravated unlicensed operation is more serious than simply driving your car without a license. Instead, AUO traffic tickets are issued to individuals caught driving in public when they know or have reason to know that their driving privileges were suspended, revoked, or withdrawn by the State of New York.

Punishments for AUO depend on which one of the three degrees of AUO you are convicted of. The options are as follows:

Third-Degree AUO

Traffic tickets are issued for third-degree AUO when the other two levels of AUO do not apply to the situation. You violate the traffic laws and commit this offense if you are caught driving when you knew or should have known your privileges to drive were suspended, revoked, or withdrawn.

Aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree is a criminal misdemeanor that is punished by up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. The fine is increased if you are stopped driving a large commercial truck.

Second-Degree AUO

You commit AUO in the second degree if you commit third-degree AUO while:

  • Your last AUO conviction was less than 18 months ago
  • Your license was suspended or revoked because of a refusal to submit to alcohol or drug testing or for driving under the influence
  • You had three or more suspensions due to failing to appear in court and answer traffic tickets

Suppose that you are guilty of AUO in the second degree because you had multiple prior AUO convictions. In that case, you face a misdemeanor conviction that can result in up to a $500 fine and a term of imprisonment in jail of up to 180 days. 

For all other second-degree AUO convictions, it is still considered to be a misdemeanor, but you could face a minimum jail sentence of seven days, up to a maximum of 180 days. You also face a fine between $500 and $1,500.

First-Degree AUO 

Lastly, you commit the traffic violation of AUO in the first degree if you commit the offense:

  • While committing second-degree AUO under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • You commit third-degree AUO while having ten or more suspensions due to a failure to appear or failure to answer
  • You commit AUO in the third degree while your driving privileges are permanently revoked in connection with a DUI conviction
  • You operate your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs while having a conditional license

A conviction for third-degree AUO is a class E felony, which can result in a sentence between two and five years and a fine between $500 and $5,000.

Contact an Attorney With New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers

Aggravated unlicensed operation is a serious criminal matter that can result in significant penalties even for a third-degree AUO conviction. 

If you are stopped and arrested or ticketed for this offense, call the Central New York law firm of New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers for prompt assistance and aggressive advocacy. We will get to work looking for the best way to defend against this serious allegation and minimize your risk of jail and hefty fines.

David Hammond, Esq. is a traffic offense lawyer and prosecutor that has over a decade of experience fighting for the rights of service members and their families. He served nine years and went on two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer. He then joined the Reserves and moved to Syracuse to be near his family. Not only does he defend the rights of Central New Yorkers, but he also has a veteran-focused practice. David represents servicemen and women before the military appellate courts and takes cases to fix service members’ military records. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact David by clicking here.