Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) Defense Lawyers in Westchester County, NY
What Happens if I Did Not Know that I was Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License?
Anyone driving with a suspended driver’s license in New York can be charged with the crime of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). That is worth repeating, AUO is a criminal offense in New York, even though it is charged under the Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) and is often given to drivers as part of a regular traffic stop.
Understanding the Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License
- Criminal record: Driving on a suspended license is classified as a criminal offense in New York charged as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). There are three classifications of AUO in New York State. First Degree AUO is a felony crime. Second and Third Degree AUO are misdemeanors crimes. A conviction means having a permanent criminal record, which can affect many aspects of a person’s life from employment to housing opportunities, and even immigration status.
- Jail time: As these are criminal offenses, there is a risk of jail upon conviction. Drivers can spend up to 30 days in jail for AUO in the 3rd Degree; up to 180 days in jail for AUO in the 2nd Degree; and up to four years in jail for AUO in the 1st Degree.
- Fines: Fines for driving on a suspended license in New York are applied as follows: Third-degree AUO can cost $200 to $500. Second-degree AUO can cost $500 to $1,000. In the most severe cases, first-degree AUO can cost $1,000 to $5,000.
- Auto Insurance: Driving with a NY license suspension can result in an increase in your insurance premiums. Rates can go up by as much as 40 percent and you might be classified as a high-risk driver.
The Difference in Degree of AUO
1. AUO in the 3rd Degree: Operating a motor vehicle with knowledge that their license has been suspended or revoked.
2. AUO in the 2nd Degree:
- Previous AUO in the third degree conviction within the last 18 months;
- Suspension or revocation is based upon a chemical test refusal;
- Suspension was a mandatory suspension pending prosecution for a DWI;
- Has three or more suspensions imposed on at least three separate dates for failure to appear, answer or pay a fine.
3. AUO in the 1st Degree:
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, along with a previous second-degree AUO;
- Committed the offense while having in effect 10 or more suspensions, imposed on at least 10 separate dates for failure to answer, appear or pay a fine;
- Committed the offense while under permanent revocation resulting from three DWI convictions or three refusals to submit to a chemical test (or any combination thereof), as well as from two DWI convictions resulting in serious injury or death.
Defending Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO)
Generally, drivers holding a license from a foreign country, state, territory, or federal district permitting him/her to drive in New York, cannot be convicted of driving while suspended in New York.
For New York driver license holders, a quite successful defense is called the “lack of knowledge” defense. Under the law, to be convicted for driving with a suspended license in NY, the driver must have known or should have known that the license was suspended. If a driver can demonstrate, with evidence, that they honestly had no idea that the license was suspended because they did not receive any written notice of the suspension (i.e. mail, e-mail, etc.) or did not receive any verbal notice of the suspension (i.e. phone call, etc.). Without that notice, the driver could not have been expected to know that the license was suspended.
Why Hire a Westchester AUO Defense Lawyer from Riebling & Payton, PLLC?
The attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC have successfully defended hundreds of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation offenses throughout Westchester County. We understand the complexities involved in handling these infractions and have a proven track record in attaining favorable resolutions, including reduction in charges, lowered fines and in many cases, outright dismissals.
Our criminal defense lawyers have provided clients with comprehensive case strategies, resulting in favorable results time and again. During a complimentary case consultation, we will discuss your options and allow you to make an informed decision.
We offer after-hour appointments in order to best work with your schedule.
Get your free case consultation with our aggressive defense team today – (914) 712-6878. With offices located in Mount Kisco, NY and White Plains, NY we are available to all of Westchester.