It can happen to the best of us. For whatever reason it might be, whether related to a traffic offense or not, sometimes our New York driver’s license gets suspended. In the event that your driver’s license is suspended, it is crucial to understand that you will be prohibited from driving unless you get it reinstated.
No one wants to rely on other people for rides to work or the grocery store, but the ramifications of driving on a suspended license in New York are far too dire to risk it. If a police officer catches you driving while your license is suspended, you can be arrested, compelled to remain in prison over night, and charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree (i.e. violating VTL-511). This means you can face up to 30 days in prison, a fine ranging from $200-$500, or possibly both.
You might think, “So what? That won’t happen. I’ll never get pulled over.” Think again. You can be pulled over for even the smallest infraction (like having a broken tail light or not wearing your seatbelt). Then, once the police officer asks you for your license and registration, you will really be in trouble.
You will find yourself dealing with the ramifications of driving on a suspended license and the fall out from having a criminal record. All of this because you made the imprudent decision to drive while your license was suspended.
If you already were caught driving on a suspended license in New York and were charged with violating VTL-511, make sure to contact an attorney who can try to negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser sentence that might not result in serving jail time or a criminal record. Remember, this may involve paying a higher fine, but it will be worth it in order to avoid imprisonment or having a criminal record that could follow you for the rest of your life.
What if I Didn’t Know My License Was Suspended?
Believe it or not, it is actually quite common for a New York driver to be completely unaware of the fact that his license was suspended. In the event that you were stopped by an officer and eventually charged with violating VTL-511 due to driving on a suspended license, you may (in certain rare circumstances) be able to get out of it if you were not properly notified and had no reason to think that your New York driver’s license was suspended.
Under New York law, you must have knowledge or a reason to know that your driver’s license was suspended before you can be convicted of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle. In other words, if you never received anything in the mail and nothing that occurred in your daily life would have given you a reason to know or believe that your license was suspended, then you truly were not notified of the suspension.
If you can successfully prove that you were not on notice, New York will not usually punish you for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle. However, you will still have to go to court to prove this lack of notice, which can be extremely tricky. If you plan on doing this, it is not advised that you do it alone.
You will need the help of an experienced, capable, and confident attorney who can assist you every step of the way, from the time you were confronted by the police all the way through to your court proceeding.