Driving on a Suspended License in New York

Criminal charges for operating a vehicle during a license suspension or revocation.

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.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Some of the violations, convictions, and other reasons a New York drive could face license suspension or revocation include:

  • vehicular homicide or assault
  • leaving the scene of an accident (hit-and-run) without making a report of it
  • getting three or more speeding convictions within 18 months
  • speed contests and racing
  • getting three violations for overtaking and passing a school bus
  • abandoning a vehicle
  • assault against a traffic officer in New York City or Buffalo
  • certain drug crimes
  • failing to exercise due care while driving
  • driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • persistent or habitual violations of traffic laws
  • failing to appear in court or pay a fine for a ticket, and
  • failing to pay child support.

But this is just a partial list—there are many other reasons your license may be suspended or revoked.

Reinstating Your License

The period of time your license is suspended or revoked depends on the circumstances. After your period of suspension or revocation, you typically must pay a reinstatement fee and might need to meet other requirements before you can lawfully drive again. Reinstatement fees normally range from $50 to $100 depending on the reason for the original suspension or revocation.

Charges for Driving While Suspended or Revoked

If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending 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. A conviction carries $200 to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail.

However, in certain situations, you may be charged with a more serious offense, “second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.” For example, if the original suspension or revocation was related to a DWI, the driver would normally be charged with second-degree unlicensed operation. A conviction for this offense is a misdemeanor and, depending on the circumstances, carries:

  • a minimum $500 fine and a maximum 180 days in jail, or
  • $500 to $1,000 in fines and seven to 180 days in jail.

If you are driving under the influence while your license is suspended, you have a specified number of previous convictions, or certain other aggravating conditions apply, you can be charged with “first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.” The charge is a class E felony and carries $500 to $5,000 in fines and up to four years in prison.

Legal Help for Charges of Driving While Suspended or Revoked

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.

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