What Are My Options If I’m Caught Driving with a Suspended License?

Written By: Benjamin Goldman, Esq.

In the state of New York, driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor – a crime. If you’re charged and convicted, you will walk away with a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. It’s no surprise, then, that drivers who are caught driving with a suspended license want to know what their options are.

Represent Yourself

If you’re charged with an AUO3 (Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the Third Degree), the most common charge for driving with a suspended license, you will need to appear in court at the specified date and time on your citation.

Unless you request to do so, the court will not allow you to represent yourself. Because the charge is a misdemeanor, you will be in Criminal Court, so keep this in mind if you choose to take this route.

Self-representation is risky. Many drivers find themselves in an impossible situation with two unfavorable options. It’s not uncommon for the prosecutor to say that he cannot agree to a lower charge, so the driver is left with the option of: a) pleading guilty to the AUO charge, or b) going to trial and likely be convicted. Prosecutors are not likely to admit that an AUO charge is baseless, unless a compelling argument to the contrary is made by an experienced lawyer.

Hire a Lawyer

The consequences of an AUO conviction can have a permanent effect on your life. A criminal record will stay with you for the rest of your life, and you face possible jail time.

Hiring a lawyer is the smart option. An AUO3 is a misdemeanor, not a simple non-criminal traffic violation. Representation from an experienced lawyer will give you the best chance of having the charges reduced and preventing the offence from going on your record.

A lawyer will also be familiar with New York laws as well as the local judges, so he will know the best strategy to argue your case and the best technical ways to get your charge dismissed or reduced. The prosecutor will also know that he will have to face an experienced attorney if the matter goes to trial, and will have more of an incentive to offer an appealing plea bargain.

If you’re charged with an AUO3, you have limited options. While you can represent yourself, you stand a great risk of being convicted, which will likely lead to you having a criminal record and facing jail time. Hiring a lawyer is advised as he or she may be able to reduce the charges or have them dismissed altogether.