In New York, as in other states, you can lose your driving privileges for a number of different reasons. Suspension or revocation can result from certain convictions, driving offenses, and even failing to pay child support. Driving while your license is suspended or revoked is a crime.
This article explains the various reasons for license suspension or revocation and the penalties you'll face if you continue to drive on a suspended or revoked license in New York.
When your license is suspended or revoked, it generally means that the state has taken away your driving privileges. In other words, while the suspension or revocation is in place, you can't lawfully drive.
In many states, "revocation" and "suspension" are used synonymously, they mean the same thing. However, some states use the term "suspension" to mean a temporary loss of privileges and "revocation" to mean the permanent loss of privileges. But even in states where revocation is permanent, the driver can typically apply for reinstatement after a certain period of time.
In New York, a suspension and revocation are the same in most respects. The difference between the two is how you get your driving privileges back. With a suspension, you need to pay a termination fee to regain driving privileges once the suspension period has ended. To get your driving privileges back following a revocation, you'll typically need to reapply for a license and might have to retake licensing tests.
Below are some of the more common reasons a driver might face a license suspension or revocation in New York.
A driver might be looking at a period of license suspension for any of the following reasons:
Depending on the situation, a suspension will be for a definite or indefinite period of time. With an indefinite suspension, the driver will normally need to complete some condition (such as obtaining auto insurance) to lift the suspension.
License revocation is normally the result of some type of criminal conviction. Here are some of the most common reasons a driver's license might be revoked:
But this is just a partial list—there are many other reasons your license can be revoked.
If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. The penalties for a conviction also depend on the circumstances.
In many situations, motorists who drive during a suspension or revocation will be charged with "third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation"—a third-degree misdemeanor. Aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree is the least serious of this category of offenses.
A driver can be convicted of this offense for operating a vehicle on a public highway "while knowing or having reason to know" that his or her driving privileges are suspended or revoked.
A conviction generally carries:
However, for certain large vehicles (with a rating of more than 18,000 pounds), the conviction fines are $500 to $1,500.
In certain circumstances, a driver can be charged with a more serious offense, "second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation." Aggravated unlicensed operation is in the second degree if:
A conviction for this offense is a second-degree misdemeanor and typically carries:
However, where a second-degree unlicensed driving conviction is based on having a prior within the past 18 months, the penalties are:
For either type of conviction, the penalties might be less serious if the judge grants probation.
Aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree is a class E felony and the most serious of the offenses in this category. A driver can be convicted of this offense if driving during a suspension or revocation and:
A first-degree unlicensed operation conviction carries:
The period of time your license is suspended or revoked depends on the circumstances. The procedure for license reinstatement depends on the reasons for the loss of driving privileges and whether your license was "suspended" or "revoked."
For most suspensions, you need to pay a "suspension termination fee" before you can get your license back. The fees are usually $50 or $100.
However, depending on the reason for the suspension, you might also have to complete some other task before you can get your license back, such as paying child support, taking care of a traffic ticket, or paying previously unpaid taxes.
To reinstate your license following a revocation, you generally must request a new license from the DMV and pay a civil penalty and reapplication fee. The civil penalties normally range from $125 to $750, depending on the reason for the revocation. Reapplication fees range from about $65 to $120, depending on the type of license.
If you're arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license, it's a good idea to get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. A qualified lawyer can tell you how the law applies in your situation and help you decide on how best to handle your case.