What is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York State?

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) is a New York State moving vehicle violation that means you were caught driving while you had a suspended or revoked license. In New York State, AUO is not an ordinary traffic violation, it is a criminal offense (either a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the degree of the charge).  As such, this charge must be taken seriously and defended vigorously to protect your record and your future.

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Lawyer Susan Veltry, Suffolk County, Nassau County New York

Veltry Law, PC has been defending Aggravated Unlicensed Operation charges and assisting our clients with reinstating their driving privileges for over 30 years.  Call us 24 hours per day/7 days per week at (631) 234-5678 for your free consultation.

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation  -  All of your Questions Answered

What exactly is an Aggravated Unlicensed Operation charge?

Simply stated, aggravated unlicensed operation is driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Why is my license suspended?

There are several reasons your license may be suspended including:

  • Unanswered tickets
  • Unpaid fines
  • Unpaid DMV penalties
  • Insurance lapses
  • Accumulating 11 or more points or 3 speeding violations in an 18-month period
  • Unpaid child support
  • DWI conviction

What is the penalty for an Aggravated Unlicensed Operation conviction in NY?

 Violation Crime Class Maximum Fine Maximum Jail/Prison Sentence
AUO 3rd Degree Misdemeanor $500 plus surcharges 30 days jail
AUO 2nd Degree Misdemeanor $1,000 plus surcharges 180 days prison and/or probation
AUO 1st Degree Felony $5,000 plus surcharges 4 years prison and/or probation

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) of a motor vehicle is a crime and not just a routine traffic infraction. If a motorist is observed operating a vehicle while their license is suspended or revoked, they will be prosecuted with an AUO.  The severity of the fines and punishments will vary depending on the degree of the infraction. More details on this below.

According to Vehicle & Traffic Law section 511, the severity of the offense depends on the underlying cause of your license suspension or revocation, and the circumstances surrounding your charge and arrest.

What is aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree in NY (Misdemeanor AUO)?

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the third degree is a criminal misdemeanor, and the least severe of all AUO charges.

If it is determined that you were driving on a public road "while knowing or having reason to know" that your license was suspended or revoked but you do not meet the requirements  of AUO of the second-degree or first-degree versions, you will be charged with AUO in the third-degree.

This charge typically arises from a previous failure to appear in court for a prior offense, to respond to a prior ticket, or to pay a past fine.

The following penalties are possible upon a conviction of third-degree AUO:

  • A fine of $200 to $500, or $500 to $1,500 if you're driving a car with a gross vehicle weight over 18,000 pounds.
  • Mandatory surcharges
  • 30 day maximum sentence

What is aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree in NY (Misdemeanor AUO)?

A second-degree AUO is a criminal misdemeanor. Any of the following circumstances will result in an AUO in the second degree charge against you:

You were recently found guilty of an AUO within the past 18 months;

A driving infraction caused by alcohol or drugs resulted in the suspension or revocation of your license;

Your denial of a chemical test resulted in the suspension of your license;

Your driving privileges were suspended while you were being investigated for drunken or drug-related driving;

You've had your license suspended three times or more for failing to respond to a traffic ticket, show up in court, or pay the fine at least three times.

You can expect the following penalties in the case of a Second degree AUO conviction:

A fine of $500 to $5,000

Mandatory Surcharges

70 to 180 days of imprisonment


What is aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree in NY (Felony AUO)?

AUO in the first degree is a class E felony and is the most serious degree of the AUO charges. You will be charged with first degree AUO if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • You commit an AUO in the third degree with ten or more failure to answer suspensions, pay a fine or appear
  • You commit a second degree AUO  while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • You commit a third degree AUO while your license was permanently revoked related to a prior DWI
  • While you have a conditional license, you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

A conviction can result in the following penalties:

  • A $500 – $5000 fine
  • Mandatory surcharges
  • A prison sentence related to the specific violation conditions
  • Probation

Collateral Consequences of AUO Convictions

Criminal charges resulting from Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) convictions reach far beyond the restrictions and penalties imposed by the court system.  Important collateral consequences that will affect your life are:

  • Employment
  • Adoption
  • Housing
  • Professional licenses
  • Welfare
  • Immigration
  • College applications
  • Eligibility for Financial aid

An Aggravated Unlicensed charge in Suffolk and Nassau County in Long Island and in New York City require an Experienced Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Attorney

An Aggravated Unlicensed Operation arrest does not always result in jail time, however, it is a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge which must be fought aggressively if you intend to protect your future.

What are some of the Other Collateral Consequences of an Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Conviction?

A criminal record resulting from an AUO charge can affect you in several other ways including:

  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Employment opportunities
  • Professional licenses
  • College applications
  • Financial aid eligibility
  • Housing applications
  • Adoption applications
  • Welfare eligibility
  • Immigration status

How do you Defend an Aggravated Unlicensed Charge?

We begin by assisting you in resolving all the issue that are causing your suspension such as:

  • Restoring any unanswered tickets to the court’s calendar
  • Paying any outstanding fines or entering into a payment plan to do so
  • Paying unpaid DMV penalties
  • Negotiating a payment arrangement with child support enforcement

Once we resolve your suspensions, we conference your case with the prosecutor in an effort to negotiate a reduction of your criminal charge to a non-criminal traffic violation.

What if I cannot clear all my Suspensions by my Court Date?

An experienced attorney can often conference your case with the prosecutor to negotiate a reduced plea to your AUO charge even before all your license suspensions are cleared by outlining our plan for reinstating your license.

What if I Missed my Court Date?

We can restore your case to the court’s calendar, even if a warrant has been issued, and move forward with negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce your current charges from a criminal charge to a non-criminal traffic violation.

Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Lawyer - Available 24/7

Veltry Law, PC has been successfully defending aggravated unlicensed charges for over 30 years.  We know what needs to be done to restore your driving privileges quickly and defend your criminal charges in order to protect your license as well as your future.

Please feel free to call Veltry Law, PC for a free consultation 24 hours per day/7 days per week.

What will you get from your free informative phone consultation?

  • We will run your driver's abstract free of charge;
  • We will let you know exactly what issues are causing your license suspension;
  • We will provide you with a simple detailed plan to reinstate your suspended license as quickly as possible; and
  • We will explain to you exactly how we intend to defend your aggravated unlicensed charge.

VELTRY LAW, PC, a Suffolk County, Nassau County, Long Island New York Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Traffic Attorney


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Aggravated Unlicensed Operation Lawyer Susan Veltry, Suffolk County, Nassau County New York

Contact Us 24/7

Underlying suspensions must be remediated and is a key to resolving your case with a non-criminal disposition. Veltry Law, PC has been successfully defending aggravated unlicensed charges for over 30 years and will assist you through every step in the legal process.  We know what needs to be done to restore your driving privileges quickly and defend your criminal charges in order to protect your license as well as your future. Feel free to refer to our simple Suspension Chart for all of the reasons why your license may be suspended.

Please feel free to visit our website, or call Veltry Law, PC at (631) 234-5678 for a free consultation 24 hours a day/7 days a week.