Can You Drive With a Suspended License in NY?

February 15, 2020

A driver’s license is necessary for everyone who needs their vehicle to go to work or run other daily errands. But once suspended, you have no right whatsoever to be on the road. Driving with a suspended license NY is a jailable misdemeanor. You may also get fined or lose your driving privileges.

Sometimes you may mistakenly assume that your suspended license was reinstated because the suspension period has passed. What happens when your suspension period has ended is that you must pay the termination fee first and get a valid driver’s license before you resume driving.

Vehicle and traffic laws are very clear on drivers’ license violations. Before you hit the road while your license remains suspended, you should know that you are committing a crime.

Reasons Why Your Driving License Will Get Suspended

Several instances can lead to your driver’s license suspension in NY. Most drivers in New York get many tickets for speeding or drunk driving, but these are not the only reasons. If you are convicted, your license can be suspended due to the following reasons:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – This is a violation of traffic laws and will result in automatic suspension of your license for 90 days or more. Excessive content of alcohol in your blood will cause longer suspension.
  • Causing an accident – Your license could be suspended if you cause an accident.
  • Driving without automobile liability insurance – Driving without insurance is a felony that can lead to driver license suspension in NYC.

Other reasons include;

  • Reckless driving
  • Having 3 speeding tickets in 18 months
  • Not sticking to the rules that govern young drivers
  • Failing to pay a traffic ticket or failing to appear in court
  • Failing to report a car accident
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Owing taxes to the New York State

Penalties Imposed on Those Driving With a Suspended License in New York

Driving with a suspended license in New York is known as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO), which is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a mandatory surcharge, a fine and possible 30-day imprisonment, or probation.

Here are consequences for driving while still under suspension;

A Jail Term

If you are caught driving while still suspended, you will be convicted and jailed. Driver license suspension NYC can land you 30 days to four years jail term. Third-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) warrants for 30 days jail sentence, second degree 180 days while first-degree AUO, which is regarded as a felony, will get you up to four years jail time.

A Criminal Record

Driving on a suspended license is a criminal offense in New York. You will be charged for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, and once convicted, you have a permanent criminal record. This will affect your life in many ways, including your housing opportunities, immigration status, and employment.


The fine imposed on drivers convicted for driving while their license is still suspended depends on how severe the charges are. First-degree AUO can cost you a fine of up to $5,000, second-degree AUO up to $1,000, and third-degree up to $500.

Increase in Auto Insurance Premium

Driver license suspension can lead to a rise in your insurance premiums. The amount will vary, and the rates can hike at a 40% margin. You may also be classified in the category of high-risk drivers, which may get your insurer to drop you.

Reinstating Suspended Driver’s License in NY

It is common for you to get pulled over when driving with a suspended license. Additionally, you will also need to deal with the charges for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation. Afterward, you may need to reinstate your suspended license.

The procedure for reinstating your driver’s license will depend on the reason that got it suspended in the first place.

Here are the reasons and requirements for license reinstatement in New York;

  • If your license was suspended due to the non-payment of the NY traffic ticket fine, you would have to go to court and pay the penalties.
  • If your license suspension was caused by failure to respond to a ticket from NY traffic, you need to pay a Suspension Termination Fee to the court. Your suspension will be lifted, but you will still need to contest the underlying traffic ticket.
  • If the suspension was imposed because you failed to pay child support, you would need to settle your child support and later contact the Motor Vehicle Department to lift the suspension.
  • For license suspension because of a medical condition, you can request a hearing where the department of motor vehicles’ medical review unit and the NYS Department of medical health’s consultant will get it terminated.
  • If the driver license suspension NYC was due to driving without insurance, you will pay the penalty to the DMV for those days you were not insured. They will then lift the suspension as long as the lapse was under 90 days.

When you are charged for driving with a suspended license NY, you may need an attorney since your freedom, employment, and a lot of other aspects of your life are at risk. A traffic and criminal defense attorney will help to protect your rights and ensure the best outcomes for your case. They will also explain the legal process and assist you in preparing a solid defense against the charges you will be facing.


Whatever reason that got your license suspended, you must know that you should not drive until your license is reinstated. If you are caught and charged for driving with a suspended license in NY, you’ll likely pay hefty fines or serve a jail term.

Driver license suspension in NYC is in itself inconveniencing, but getting charged for driving with a suspended license in more worse. You don’t want to risk having a permanent criminal record.

For the most part, all you need are good driving lessons to avoid getting your NY driving license suspended. Getting a driving license doesn’t have to be an arduous process. Register for our 5-hour class today to pass a driving test and get your license in no time!