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What Are Driver License Suspensions and Revocations?

License suspensions and license revocations are potentially serious legal matters. Losing the privilege to drive may prevent someone from going to work, driving children to school or other activities, shopping for a family, etc.

It is worth noting that suspension and revocation are considerably different despite the fact that the end result (no driving privileges) is the same.

Suspension- Your license (or privilege to drive) is taken away for a period of time or it is taken away indefinitely pending a particular action on your part (for example, payment of a traffic ticket fine or appearance in a court). You may be required to pay a suspension termination fee.

Revocation- Your license (or privilege to drive) is cancelled. To get a new license, you must re-apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) once the revocation period is over. You may be required to pay a license re-application fee. Your application may be denied if you have a poor driving record or refuse to meet DMV requirements.

Suspensions and Revocations have a number of different causes for all drivers to consider as well as some special considerations for new drivers.

We find that clients with suspension/revocation issues fall into two primary categories. There are individuals who are already suspended/revoked and need assistance having their privileges reinstated and there are individuals who have valid licenses but fear imminent suspension/revocation due to a pending matter.

As New York traffic attorneys, we understand the issues involved with suspensions and revocations. If you are already suspended or revoked, we can help devise a plan that gets you back on the road as quickly as possible while still taking into consideration points, fines, surcharges and insurance rates.

If you are already suspended or revoked but not sure why, contact us to discuss a full license investigation. We will find out exactly why you are suspended or revoked and help you devise a plan to clear your issues as quickly as possible.

If you believe you are on the verge of a suspension or revocation, feel free to consult with us and we will discuss how that suspension or revocation may be avoided.

If you are currently suspended or revoked, do not drive. A car stop for a simple violation may result in a charge of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation driving with a suspended license–a misdemeanor–and you may be arrested.

Causes of Drivers License Suspension & Revocation in NY

There are a number of reasons you may currently be suspended or revoked or may be facing a potential suspension or revocation in New York.

The most common situation is suspension for accumulation of points. If your driving record has too many New York moving violations and accumulates 11 or more points within 18 months, you may face a suspension for a period of time determined either by an Administrative Law Judge or the DMV.

Other reasons include:

Indefinite suspensions. These suspensions remain in effect until you correct the condition that led to the suspension.

  • Failure to answer a traffic summons on time
  •  Failure to pay a fine (other than parking tickets and fines), surcharge, crime victim assistance fee or a suspension-termination fee.
  •  Failure to file an accident report, pay support, or satisfy a court judgment that results from a traffic accident
  •  Submission of a bad check for DMV fees

Mandatory suspension. Suspension is mandatory in the following situations:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a drug (DWAI-Drug) 6 month suspension
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by alcohol (DWAI-Alcohol) 90 day suspension

Mandatory revocation. Revocation is mandatory in the following situations:

  • DWAI committed within 5 years of any previous DWAI 6 month revocation
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) 6 month revocation
  • 3 speeding violations committed within 18 months 6 month revocation
  • Leaving the scene of a fatal or personal injury accident 6 month revocation
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test 6 month revocation
  • Conviction for uninsured operation or permitting uninsured operation 1 year revocation

As for new (probationary) drivers, there are special suspension and revocation issues to be familiar with beyond those mentioned above.

What is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation?

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.

Man getting license taken away

What is Restricted Use Driver License?

In the state of New York, a restricted use driver license can be applied for in person at the local Department of Motor Vehicles office. Drivers are urged to contact their closest DMV before arriving to be sure that the branch accepts these applications.

The Department of Motor Vehicles may issue a restricted use driver’s license to any qualified driver. This is conditional on the driver not having had their license suspended or revoked due to alcohol or drug-related charges.

If a driver has been charged with an alcohol or drug-related crime, they may apply for a conditional driver’s license. To qualify for this type of license, the driver must attend an Impaired Driver Program before applying for the conditional license. That program must be one that is approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Drivers from other states who will be staying in New York for an extended period may apply for either type of license. Conditions and restrictions are the same as for any driver with a New York State license.

To make applying for a restricted use driver’s license easier, the Department of Motor Vehicles has made the application available online. The form can be filled out and printed prior to arriving at the DMV.

If you have any questions about the type of license you may be qualified for, contact your local DMV branch via telephone or in person. An authorized agent will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your license.

License Suspensions & Revocations For New Drivers in NY

New York Traffic Tickets and other driving related issues should be given special consideration by new drivers.

If you are age 18 or older when you pass your road test for a driver license, or obtain a license following revocation, you will be on probation for six months.

While on probation:

  • Your license will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of speeding, reckless driving, following too closely, participating in a speed contest, or two other traffic violations. Following this suspension, your probationary period starts again and you will be on probation for another six months.
  • Your license will be revoked for at least six months if you are found guilty of committing one of the above violations, or two other moving violations during the second probationary period.

Other new drivers may have a junior permit or junior license. While driving with a junior permit or junior license:

  • Your permit or license will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of committing a serious violation (generally three points or more) or two other violations within the first six months after you receive your permit or junior license
  • After the 60 day suspension, conviction of a serious traffic violation or two other violations within the next six months will result in a 60 day revocation.

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