What is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York?

by Seth Azria on 2/14/2011
A Criminal Charge Based on Driving with a Suspensded Licence 

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation or “AUO” is a misdemeanor, and therefore a crime under New York law. 

A person is guilty of the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the 3rd degree when a person operates a motor vehicle upon a public highway while knowing or having reason to know that their license or privilege of driving has been suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by the DMV.

AUO Charges May Come as a Surprize 

AUO charges sometimes come as a surprise to our clients because an unresolved ticket from years ago has caused a suspension without the driver actually knowing about it. Sometimes people move, forget to update their address with the  DMV or otherwise do not receive a suspension notice. The DMV mailing a notice to address they have on file gives a driver reason to know that they have suspended. Other times, the drivers just can’t afford not to drive and take a chance. 

Whether you were actually aware of the suspension or not, being charged with AUO means that you will personally have to appear in court for an arraignment before a judge. And because the charge is a misdemeanor crime, you will need a lawyer to represent you. Judges will often advise defendants attending that initial court appearance without a lawyer to find a lawyer or will assign a lawyer if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer. This is because misdemeanor and while a person may represent themselves in criminal proceeding, it is not advisable to so. As the old proverb advises: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

Penalties for AUO in New York

The penalty for an AUO  in the 3rd Degree conviction is a fine of $200-$500, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both.  Multiple AUO offenses or numerous suspensions pending can result in a AUO Second Degree, which is punishable by a fine of not less than $500, prison of up to 180 days, or probation. An AUO related to alcohol can be elevated to the first degree, which is a class-E felony.

As your lawyers, we will appear with you in court, help you identify and resolve the suspensions on your license, and negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor. Our goal for AUO cases is to first to spare our client a criminal convictions and ensure that their license is clear to drive. If you have been charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation please call us at (315) 364-1155 for a free evaluation of your charges and driving record. 



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