In the state of New York, “Aggravated Unlicensed Operation” (AUO) is a charge against a motorist who was caught driving with their New York license revoked or suspended. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law VTL §511, AUO is considered a misdemeanor. It is a criminal charge and significantly more serious than a mere traffic violation.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation should not be confused with ordinary unlicensed operation. Persons who have never had a license issued by the state or merely an expired but otherwise valid license and are caught driving a vehicle can be charged with non-criminal unlicensed operation. This is just a traffic violation.
There are three degrees of severity with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation that depend primarily on the reason for the revocation or suspension as well as the number of suspensions or revocations active on the driving record. The least severe is the 3rd degree. When charged in the 3rd degree, you face a fine of more than $500, up to 30 days in jail and probation. Charged with a 2nd degree AUO, you will face fines of more than $1,000, a minimum 7 day jail sentence and up to 180 days in prison, or probation. Finally, if charged with AUO of the 1st degree, you are charged with an “E” felony, up to $5,000 in fines, not more than 4 years in prison, or probation.
Revocation and suspension of your driver license are different in New York, but both have the same basic consequence–you cannot legally drive unless you are doing so on a valid, DMV approved restricted basis of some sort. If you are found to be driving after the state has taken away your privilege, you may be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.