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Traffic Defense Articles

§509 Violations (Often Charged as: §509.1 Unlicensed Operator)

by Seth Azria on 3/19/2020

Unlicensed operator is a common charge in our practice. To be guilty of unlicensed operator means that you drove without being duly licensed. 

§509.1. Consequences of Conviction

  • 0 points 
  • $75-$300 fine
  • $93 surcharge ($88 in city courts) 
  • Up to 15 days in jail  

Charging Scenarios

There are several scenarios where we see 509.1:

  1. driving license expired, (if expired less than 60 days the fine range is $0-$40 rather that $75-$300)
  2. As a roadside reduction, when a person is driving on a suspended license and the, nice, police could have charged a misdemeanor, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). 
  3. A a negotiated reduction. Often defense attorneys negotiate reductions of AUO to unlicensed operator. 

Text of the Statute 

1. Except while operating a motor vehicle during the course of a road test conducted pursuant to the provisions of this article, no person shall operate or drive a motor vehicle upon a public highway of this state or upon any sidewalk or to or from any lot adjacent to a public garage, supermarket, shopping center or car washing establishment or to or from or into a public garage or car washing establishment unless he is duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

  1-a. Whenever a license is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle, no person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle without the proper endorsements for the specific vehicle being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported.

  2. Whenever a license is required to operate a motor vehicle, no person shall operate a motor vehicle unless he is the holder of a class of license which is valid for the operation of such vehicle.

  3. Whenever a permit or license is required to operate a motor vehicle, no person shall operate any motor vehicle in violation of any restriction contained on, or applicable to, the permit or license.

  4. No person shall knowingly authorize or permit a motor vehicle owned by him or in his charge to be operated in violation of subdivisions one, two or three of this section.

  5. No person shall hold more than one unexpired license issued by the commissioner at any one time. The holding of a license of one class and a learner's permit for another class at the same time shall not be deemed a violation of this subdivision.

  6. No licensee shall voluntarily permit any other person to use his license, nor shall any person at any time possess or use any forged, fictitious or illegally obtained license, or use any license belonging to another person.

  7. No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle without being in possession of the appropriate license for the motor vehicle being operated.

  7-a. No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while knowing or having reason to know that he or she is not medically certified, as required, in accordance with the federal motor carrier safety improvement act of 1999 and Part 383.71(h) of title 49 of the code of federal regulations.

  8. No licensee shall fail to notify the commissioner in writing of a change of residence as required by this article.

  9. Whenever notice of disability is required to be given to the commissioner as required by this article, no person shall operate any motor vehicle until such notice has been given.

  10. No person shall hold an unexpired license issued by the commissioner while holding a driver's license issued by any other jurisdiction. This prohibition shall not apply to any license which by its terms is valid only within the jurisdiction of issuance. Nor shall it apply if such person has informed the commissioner of such multiple licenses and the commissioner has determined that it is necessary for such person to hold more than one license to comply with the laws of each of the jurisdictions in which such licenses were issued. The foregoing exceptions shall not be applicable to commercial driver's licenses after December thirty-first, nineteen hundred eighty-nine.

  11. A violation of any provision of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than seventy-five nor more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than fifteen days, or by both such fine and imprisonment except, if the violation consists of failure to renew a license which was valid within sixty days, the fine shall be not more than forty dollars, and except that a violation of subdivision seven or eight of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than seventy-five dollars.

  12. A violation of subdivision two of this section involving the operation for hire of any vehicle as a taxicab, livery as defined in section one hundred twenty-one-e of this chapter, coach, limousine, van or wheelchair accessible van or tow truck within the state without the appropriate license therefor, shall be punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred twenty-five dollars nor more than four hundred fifty dollars. A person who operates a vehicle for hire without the appropriate license therefor pursuant to subdivision two of this section after having been convicted of such a violation within the preceding five years shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred seventy-five dollars nor more than seven hundred fifty dollars. A person who operates a vehicle for hire without the appropriate license therefor pursuant to subdivision two of this section after having been convicted two or more times of such a violation within the preceding ten years shall be punished by a fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars.

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/VAT/509

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