AUO – Aggravated Unlicensed Operation
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Warren moved to Florida. He no longer handles cases in NY, but he can refer you to a great lawyer. E-mail [email protected].
We frequently get called by people who have been charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, or AUO, under §511 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Usually this comes about when someone’s license has been suspended because they have an unresolved ticket and the Court sent a notice to DMV. This is generally Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree, or AUO 3rd.
AUO 3rd is a misdemeanor – a crime. Years ago AUO 3rd was a violation, and not considered a crime in New York State. It is a fairly common offense. One typical situation is where the defendant forgets about the ticket. Busy with other things, they simply misplace it, ignore it, or otherwise let it slip. The court eventually notifies DMV which sends a suspension notice to the address on record for the driver. In many of these cases the defendant has changed their address but did not notify DMV of the change – a big problem for out-of-state drivers since there is no process to notify DMV.
Because AUO 3rd is a crime, it is much more serious. It carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail (jail time is rare in such cases), along with fines as high as $500 (plus surcharges), can raise your insurance rates, and has a substantial amount of negative units (a big problem if you get revoked). All of this makes it a pretty good idea to hire a lawyer to help you deal with it – to get your charges reduced to non-criminal violations with lower penalties and that are less likely to affect your insurance and the status of your license.
In the simplest cases, you will have to clear up your unresolved tickets.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Second Degree, or AUO 2nd, is an example of a more complicated AUO case. Still a misdemeanor, it is more serious than an AUO 3rd, and typically involves an alcohol-related suspension or multiple suspensions. The sentence can be up to 180 days in jail, or probation, and/or a fine of at least $500 (the statute does not list a maximum, but for AUO 1st the maximum is $5000). In some cases a lawyer may be able to get your charge reduced to a non-criminal violation, but sometimes the best they can do is a reduction to AUO 3rd with no jail time.
Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the First Degree, or AUO 1st, is a felony and can lead to state prison time. The fine range is from $500 to $5000 (plus surcharges, of course). These cases either involve a DWI while committing an AUO 2nd, or it can occur with no relation to alcohol where you have a lot of suspensions – generally more than ten.
E-mail Warren at [email protected] and he’ll refer you to a good NY attorney to help you.
AUO: Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in New York