What Happens If I'm Caught Driving with a Suspended License?

Your driver’s license can be suspended for a number of reasons in New York. This means that you are not legally able to operate a motor vehicle without facing the consequences of driving on a suspended license. If you are driving on a suspended license in New York, you may be charged with aggravated unlicensed operation.

Aggravated unlicensed operation is an offense with three degrees attached to it. The least severe degrees, third and second, are charged as misdemeanors while first degree aggravated unlicensed operation is charged as a felony.

Third Degree aggravated unlicensed operation is typically charged when someone is simply found to be operating a motor vehicle with the knowledge that their license is suspended or revoked.

Second Degree aggravated unlicensed operation would probably be charged when the suspension or revocation occurred because of a chemical test refusal or because it was mandatory due to a pending case involving DWI. It can also be charged when one has a prior third degree aggravated unlicensed operation conviction within the last 18 months.

First Degree aggravated unlicensed operation is the most severe and can occur when one is operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It can also be charged when one is under permanent revocation as a result of three DWI convictions, three refusals to submit to a chemical test, or have two prior DWI convictions that resulted in serious injury or death.

Penalties for Driving with a Suspended Licenses

Here are how the penalties for each degree break down:

  • Third Degree: Up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail.
  • Second Degree: Up to $1,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail.
  • First Degree: Up to $5,000 in fines and up to four years in prison.

In addition to these penalties, those convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation of any level of severity can expect to lose their car, have their license revoked, and be subject to probation. Although not a criminal penalty, auto insurance premiums can skyrocket for those with this conviction for years to come as they may be classified as a high-risk driver.