AUO3, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree, is a misdemeanor in the state of New York. Drivers who are caught operating a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license may be charged with this crime, which carries potential jail time and a hefty fine.
AUO should not be confused with unlicensed operation, a non-criminal infraction. Unlicensed operation applies to drivers who are caught driving without a license. In the case of an AUO offense, the driver is caught driving with a revoked or suspended license.
The Difference Between License Suspension and Revocation
Serious or multiple traffic violations may result in a license suspension or revocation. Suspension or revocation of a license is a consequence wherein operating a motor vehicle is illegal. License holders that have had their license revoked or suspended will lose their driving privileges.
License or Driving Privilege Suspension
When a driver’s license is suspended, he or she will lose the privilege to drive a motor vehicle for a specified period of time. The driver’s license will be returned unless a violation has occurred during the suspension.
Definite suspension orders will:
- Last a set period of time
- Require a suspension termination fee
Definite suspensions can occur due to:
- Excessive traffic tickets (within a specified amount of time)
- Lack of state-required liability insurance
- Violation of junior driver rules
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The second type of suspension is: indefinite suspension order. When a driver has an indefinite suspension, he or she will have their driving privileges reinstated when certain conditions are met. Reasons for indefinite suspension, include:
- Failure to pay a traffic ticket or fine
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to obtain liability insurance
- Failure to report a motor vehicle accident report
- Failure to pay NYS tax debts
- Failure to pay driver assessment fee
Medical suspensions are also possible. Drivers who are not medically capable of operating a motor vehicle may have their license suspended until a doctor medically clears them for driving.
Drivers may have their New York driving privileges suspended even if they are not licensed in New York. An out-of-state driver may have his or her privilege to drive legally in the State of New York suspended while still maintaining the right to drive in another state. Failing to pay a New York traffic ticket or driver assessment fee are two circumstances that can result in suspension of your right to drive in New York.
Driver’s License Revocation
The Department of Motor Vehicles may revoke your license. When a license is revoked, a driver will lose their license indefinitely. A revoked license is a termination of a driver’s license, but this is not an indefinite revocation.
A license that is revoked will have a time limit.
Following the expiry of the revocation period, drivers will need to:
- Request approval from the DMW to obtain a new license
- Take all of the necessary tests to receive licensing in the state
- Pay a reapplication fee
Application may be denied. Drivers that reapply for a license may have to pay a civil penalty as well as fees before driving privileges are given.
Revoked licenses can be a result of driving without insurance, being involved in an accident that resulted in a fatality and being a hazard on the road. Drivers that have received several DUI/DWIs may fall within this category if they’re repeat offenders.
Drivers who are caught driving with a suspended license are typically charged with AUO3 (Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree).
The Consequences of Driving With a Suspended License
Driving with a suspended license is a crime.
The State of New York takes license suspension very seriously. Drivers who violate license suspension terms will face severe consequences, including:
- A minimum of 30 days in jail
- Hefty fines of up to $500
- A potential extension of the suspension term
- Higher insurance premiums
Prior convictions within the last 18 months may lead to a more serious charge of an AUO2 (Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree), but most drivers will face an AUO3 charge if they are caught driving with a suspended license.
Various Degrees of AUO
A driver may be charged with an AUO if he or she is caught driving with a revoked or suspended license, but there are varying degrees of this offense which will determine the severity of the fines and penalties.
- AUO 3rd Degree: A misdemeanor crime. Offenders face up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
- AUO 2nd Degree: A misdemeanor crime. Offenders face up to 180 days in prison (minimum 7 days) and a minimum fine of $1,000.
- AUO 1st Degree: A felony. Offenders face up to 4 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Drivers can be slapped with an AUO3 charge for not paying a traffic ticket, while the other degrees are typically the result of more serious offences.
AUO Common Defenses
Driving with a suspended license is a crime (read more about the consequences of this offense). If you have been charged with an AUO, a lawyer may be able to reduce the charges to a non-criminal infraction or eliminate jail time. In serious cases, such as an AUO 1st degree, a lawyer’s expertise and experience is essential to protecting your driving privileges and minimizing prison time and fines.