Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (AUO) is one of the more common misdemeanor traffic offenses in New York. Many New York drivers don’t realize that driving with a license that has been suspended, revoked, or otherwise withdrawn by the DMV is considered a criminal offense, not merely a traffic infraction.
If you’re facing a charge for AUO in New York, it’s crucial that you contact an attorney before pleading guilty. Pleading guilty will result in you having a permanent criminal record. The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers are prepared to fight to have the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge. Contact the New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you.
Why Is It Important to Fight This AUO Charge?
Discussing your case with a traffic ticket attorney is crucial if you’ve been charged with AUO in New York. If you’ve received a ticket for Aggravated Unlicensed Operator in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree, you may be contemplating paying the fine and moving on. However, it’s important to realize that you will have a criminal record if you plead guilty or are convicted. Regardless of the reasons for your license’s underlying revocation or suspension, you will still face criminal charges. Even if you simply forgot to pay a fine for a minor traffic violation and your license was suspended, you can still face criminal charges under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §511.
In many jurisdictions, you will face arrest if you’re being charged with driving as an aggravated unlicensed operator. In New York City, you will almost always be processed as part of the criminal justice system. The police officer who pulls you over can issue you a desk appearance ticket and release you from the police station. Nonetheless, you can expect to spend between 24 and 36 hours side-by-side with other criminals before you are released.
What If I Didn’t Know My License Was Suspended
Not knowing that your driver’s license was suspended when you are arrested won’t always result in you not being convicted. Prosecutors don’t have to prove that you knew your driver’s license was suspended to convict you of an aggravated unlicensed operator charge. Instead, prosecutors only have to prove that you had reason to know that your driver’s license was suspended at the time of your arrest.
In New York, every traffic summons issued by the state includes a warning that states that if you don’t answer the summons, your driver’s license will be suspended. When the prosecutors can prove that the state sent you a summons, they can usually prove that you had reason to know that your driver’s license was suspended.
The Penalties for an AUO in the Third Degree
The charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree involves driving a vehicle while you know or have reason to know that your driver’s license or privilege to operate a vehicle was suspended or revoked. Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree is categorized as an unclassified misdemeanor. The penalties for an AUO in the third degree include up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail. The penalties are more severe for drivers who commit AUO while driving a vehicle weighing more than 18,000 pounds.
The Penalties for an AUO in the Second Degree
Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree is also considered an unclassified misdemeanor but carries more severe penalties than a third-degree charge. Prosecutors must prove that your driver’s license suspension was caused by a chemical test refusal or a suspension pending prosecution for driving while intoxicated.
The penalties for an AUO in the second degree are a fine between $500 and $1,000 and a jail sentence between 4 and 180 days. You will be required to spend at least seven days in prison or on probation if you are convicted. You may be required to pay a fine of at least $500, and you will either spend time in jail, face probation, or both. The specific elements of an AUO in the second degree include:
- Committing an AUO in the second degree with a conviction of an AUO in the third degree within the last 18 months
- Having a suspended or revoked license due to having refused to take a chemical test of the license is based on chemical test refusal
- Having had a mandatory license suspension pending prosecution for the charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Having had three or more suspensions imposed on at least three separate dates for failure to appear, answer, or pay a fine
The Penalties for an AUO in the First Degree
If you’ve been charged with an AUO in the first degree, it’s essential that you take the charges seriously. This charge is considered a Class E felony, with severe penalties. Under New York law, a driver is guilty of an AUO in the first degree when one or more of the following elements occur:
- The driver committed AUO in the second degree and operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- The driver commits an AUO in the third degree and operating a motor vehicle with ten or more open license suspensions, which are imposed on at least ten different dates for failure to appear, answer or pay a fine
- The driver committed the offense of AUO in the third degree by operating a vehicle while under a permanent license revocation
The penalties for an AUO include a fine between $500 and $5,000 and up to 1 to 4 years of incarceration or probation.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Attorney
The New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers have a proven track record of successfully fighting a wide range of traffic infractions and criminal charges for our clients. If you’ve been charged with first, second, or third-degree aggravated unlicensed operator charges, contact the New York Traffic Ticket Lawyers to schedule a free case evaluation.