Driving Without a License
If you are ticketed for driving without a license in NY due to having a suspended license, you can be arrested and you will face one of three charges. Each of these charges are considered a misdemeanor, meaning that they are a criminal offense. A conviction under this offense will give you a criminal history and will be attached to your permanent driving record.
There are three distinct charges that can fall under this law. Each one has different circumstances and penalties attached.
- Aggravated Unlicensed Driving VTL 511 (1). This is a misdemeanor offense and it is defined as a person knowingly operating a vehicle while their license is under suspension for failure to answer, failure to appear, or to pay a fine. Only one suspension without any priors is needed to be charged with this offense.
- Aggravated Unlicensed Driving VTL 511(2). This charge is used if a person is knowingly operating a vehicle while their license is suspended and there are at least three active suspensions from three separate dates currently on file for failure to pay, appear, or pay fine. This level is also used if the driver has their license suspended for refusing to submit to testing for a DUI/DWI or has a pending a DUI/DWI case. This charge carries a minimum jail sentence of seven days and up to a $500 fine.
- Aggravated Unlicensed Driving VTL511(3). This is the most serious of all three charges and is considered a Class E misdemeanor. To be charged, there must be ten or more active suspensions from ten or more separate dates against the driver at the time the charge is issued. This charge requires an indictment by the Grand Jury and carries a one to three year jail sentence if convicted.
Many people incorrectly believe that if they clear up any matters that caused their license to be suspended before they attend Court on one of these charges that the case will be dismissed. While it may give you a more favorable appearance in the eyes o the judge, it does not clear you of these charges.
Misdemeanor is a crime and it gives you a criminal history. It is in your best interest to hire a defense attorney before going to court in an effort not to be completely charged with this crime. While hiring an attorney cannot guarantee that you will not be convicted, it greatly improves your chances.
Having a criminal record can impact your life in many ways. It can cause issues with your employer or prevent you from getting a different job. It can impact who will rent to you or where you may have to live. It can even impact you financially. Make sure that if you are facing this type of charge you have god legal representation.
When to Seek Legal Council
As with any other serious offense, those charged with Driving Without A License In NY should seek legal advice from a competent lawyer specializing in such cases. New York’s laws are strict, and some charges are quite serious. For example, 1st degree aggravated unlicensed operation charges are considered felonies. An experienced attorney will be able to guide defendants through the process, explaining the legal bases for defense and ironing out the details of any sentencing.