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What happens if I get caught driving without a license in New York State?
There are many different offense levels associated with driving without a license in New York State. They range from traffic infractions all the way up to felonies, which can result in state prison time. The good news is that The Militello Law firm represents people with all types of unlicensed driving charges, and an experienced attorney can typically take care of this problem for you.
One common scenario is when a person who doesn’t have any type of license as a result of a DWI suspension or revocation gets into a car and drives without a conditional license, that person is violating Vehicle and Traffic Law 511(2), which is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a motor vehicle in the Second Degree (AUO 2nd) – a misdemeanor. If you operate a motor vehicle in New York State and you have reason to know that your privilege to operate that motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked as the result of a DWI offense, you could be found guilty of this misdemeanor, and you can face fines and even a mandatory 10 days in jail.
If you have a conditional driving privilege and you are caught driving outside your allowed time periods or outside the boundaries of where you are allowed to drive (for example, instead of driving to work, you are driving to Buffalo for a Bills game), you should not be charged with an AUO. VTL § 1196(7)(f) states that it is a traffic infraction (a non-criminal violation) to operate a motor vehicle for any use other than that authorized by VTL § 1196(7)(a) (the section of VTL authorizing the issuance of a conditional drivers license for certain purposes). Instead of the AUO, you should be charged with a traffic violation.
A bigger issue that arises if you are caught driving outside the bounds of a conditional license while you are on probation or while you have a conditional discharge pending, is that your conduct may result in not only a violation of VTL 1196 (not so serious), but also either a Violation of Conditional Discharge (pretty serious) or a Violation of Probation (extremely serious). I discuss these violations in another article on this site.
If a court or the DMV suspends or revokes your license, it’s important that you not drive until your lawyer helps you get a valid license. If you are facing a charge of AUO, Contact us at (585) 485-0025 for a free telephone consultation and case evaluation.