There are different levels of criminal offenses in New York state, generally grouped into two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Within those two categories, there are different levels or classes of offenses. When a driver has had his or her driving privileges revoked or suspended and is caught driving without a license, the crime is referred to as “Aggravated Unlicensed Operation”, or AUO. Here is how different types of AUO are treated under the law:
If you were charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the third degree, or AUO3, for driving after your New York driver’s license was already suspended or revoked, you have been charged with a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are less serious than felony charges, however AUO3 is still a serious crime in New York and comes with monetary fines of $200 – $500, a mandatory surcharge, and the possibility of up to 30 days in jail, or probation.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the second degree, or AUO2, is still a misdemeanor but is a more serious charge than an AUO3. If you were convicted of an AUO3 and within 18 months you are again convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license, you will be charged with AUO2. AUO2 charges carry monetary penalties starting at $500, a mandatory surcharge, and mandatory imprisonment or probation of up to 180 days.
If the original reason for the license being suspended or revoked was because of an alcohol- or drug-related violation, or because you refused to take a chemical test, or if you had three or more suspensions for failing to respond to different traffic tickets on different dates, an AUO2 conviction will mean you will pay a mandatory fine of between $500 – $1,000 and will face mandatory imprisonment or probation of between one week and 180 days.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the first degree, or AUO1, is a felony. If you were impaired or intoxicated and were driving with a license that was already suspended or revoked because of an alcohol- or drug-related offense, or if you have had ten or more license suspensions imposed on at least ten different dates because you did not respond to traffic tickets, you will be facing AUO1 charges.
AUO1 charges come with mandatory fines of between $500 – $5,000. In addition, drivers face mandatory imprisonment or probation of up to four years. In addition, your vehicle may be seized or forfeited if you were convicted of AUO1.
As you can see, the potential risks of driving after your New York license was suspended or revoked are severe; convictions come with steep consequences. In addition to these penalties, drivers will also have to pay higher automobile insurance rates for years to come.
If you have been charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, it is important to contact a knowledgeable, experienced attorney right away. Your attorney can help you understand what the charges mean and can help you take the necessary next steps to restore your driving privileges as quickly as possible.