Driving Without A License in New York

Published by 23 Comments

Vehicle and Traffic Law section 509-1 states that if someone is convicted of driving without a license in New York State they will be charged a fine between $75 and $300 and/or 15 days in jail.  Unlicensed Operation of a motor vehicle is a traffic infraction which is not a crime.  Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, i.e. driving on a suspended license, is a misdemeanor; this means that you are being charged with a crime that will be on your criminal record forever as there is no expungement of criminal records in New York State.

Places You Are Permitted to Drive Without A license

You can drive without a license on private property, but you cannot operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license in a shopping center, public parking lot, car wash (includes bring it the vehicle in and out of the carwash), etc.

Lending someone Your Car or License

If you knowingly lend someone without a license your motor vehicle and they get caught by the police and charged with driving without a license you can also be ticketed. In New York State you are not allowed to hold more the one unexpired license at any time.  So it is important to note that it is illegal to lend someone you driver’s license to hold onto or to use as an ID so they can buy cigarettes or alcohol.

Driving a Vehicle Out-Of-Class

Even if you possess a license if you drive a vehicle that you are not permitted to operate, such as a large truck or a motorcycle, you can also be charged with VTL 509.

Driving with A Suspended License

If you are caught driving with a suspended license, even if you are not aware you license is suspended, you will be facing a much more serious offense  call aggravated unlicensed  operation (AUO) as explained above.

Hiring a lawyer

Because of the severity of the offence of driving with a suspended license, it is important to contact a traffic ticket lawyer who can help you fight your ticket to avoid being convicted of a misdemeanor, which is a crime that will be on your record for the rest of your life.

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This post was written by Adam Rosenblum

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  • KC
    November 22, 2017

    I was involved in a car accident sue to the other drivers fault.I was driving with a 19 year old with a license but i got a ticket for driving without a license since they weren’t over 21 years old. im not sure what to do whether to fight the ticket or plead guilty. im scared that they are going to revoke my license until im 21.

    • Chris Chris Han
      December 8, 2017

      KC – I suggest contacting us for a free consultation at 888-883-5529. I would like to clear up certain facts of your situation before providing additional information.

  • val
    June 12, 2017

    Hello, I’m from NY and I was charged with a NYS v and t. I was driving without a license or permit (I’m 16) and crashed. What should I do?

    • RLF Attorneys
      June 14, 2017

      Val – please contact us at 888-883-5529 to clarify what you are specificially charged with hee.

    • RLF Attorneys
      June 14, 2017

      Val – what are the specific charges alleged against you.

  • SL
    June 3, 2017

    I was arrested for driving on an expired NY permit but I have a valid international license…

    now I have a court date for VTL0509 04

    whats do I do?

    • RLF Attorneys
      June 12, 2017

      Due to the potential consequences of this offense, I strongly suggest you contact us at 888-883-5529 to discuss further.

  • Felise
    March 25, 2017

    Hi my cousin was involved in a car accident in Long Island and was charged with unlicensed operation (he showed them his Vincent Ian license and was so shock up forgot to show them his international license) what should he do? His hearing in in May. Should he plead guilty? Seeking advice

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 31, 2017

      Felise – if this violation is for ‘unlicensed operator’ only, and not the more serious offense of aggravated unlicensed operation, then your cousin should most likely attend the court hearing with proof of his license if feasable or plead guilty if he is unable to attend.

  • Tyler W.
    March 12, 2017

    I was ticketed for an uninspected vehicle, as well as having a driver’s license that expired one day prior. My court date is coming up, and I plan to plea guiltyto the inspection ticket (no way around that), but I’m not sure whether to just plea guilty for my expired license, or to fight it, as it was only a day expired and has since been renewed. If there a defense I could take against this that may prove effective? Or would it be smarter to plea not guilty via mail to move the court date, and talk to a lawyer? I’m just scared that my license will be suspended, as I’ve been told that and “unlicensed operator” ticket is fairly serious.

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 14, 2017

      Tyler – Unlicensed operator, a 0 point violation, must be distinguished with ‘aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle,’ which is a misdemeanor offense. I suggest you contact us to clarify the specific violation being alleged.

  • Jackie
    February 28, 2017

    Hi, I got two tickets on Jan 26. The police pulled me over due to failed to yield to a pedestrian. I stopped to let more than 8 people to cross the street, but only 1 lady didn’t cross. She decided to wait for me to pass first and then cross the street.
    And I was driving with my expired learning permit and the police gave me another ticket for unlicensed operator. What should I do? Pay the tickets or plead not guilty to fail to yield to pedestrian. That lady didn’t want to cross anyway.

    • RLF Attorneys
      March 9, 2017

      Due to the complex nature of your issue, I suggest you contact us to discuss your case in further detail. You may reach us at 888-883-5529.

  • Chris P
    January 3, 2017

    Hi I received a AUO for riding a atv on prI ate property, is this even legal? The statue states operating a m/v upon a public highway/road. Also nys dos not require a DL to operate a ATV anyways this was on private property (trespassing technically) but they did not charge us with that. Did not cross any public highways at all even tho this is legal as long as you adhere to guidelines any input is greatly appreciated!

    • RLF Attorneys
      January 4, 2017

      In order to clarify the charges against you, please contact us at 888-883-5529.

  • Maiko ng
    December 7, 2016

    Hello, my father was pulled over today in nyc and charged with vlt 509-1 unlicensed operator but he is a tourist and had entered usa for 60 days, and he has venezuelan driver license, so what should he do in that case??? Thanks

    • RLF Attorneys
      December 8, 2016

      I suggest he pay the violation, and assure the underlying reason for his ticket is resolved.

  • John Dano
    August 1, 2016

    Hi…. I have both a valid license and insurance and was given a ticket for operating without insurance and unlicensed operator. Should I send copies in or wait for my court date and produce?

    • Adam Rosenblum
      August 1, 2016

      John – after pleading not guilty, a court date will be set where you will have an opportunity to present the relevant evidence.

  • Matthew Stuckey
    July 18, 2016

    I was pulled over in upstate NY and charged with driving w/o a licsense. My license was expired from Texas but I renewed since then. I have court next week will they possibly dismiss it?

    • Adam Rosenblum
      July 20, 2016

      Matthew – it is difficult to advise you on a potential outcome without further information – particularlly which court is handling your case.

  • Ben
    August 19, 2015

    Hi,I was ticketed because I used my international license to drive but had a New York learners permit,I once used my international license to rent a car and when stopped by a cop in Jersey,I produced that and he had no problem with it so I taught it was ok,if I explain this to the judge what could be the possible outcome of my case.thanks

    • Adam Rosenblum
      August 21, 2015

      Ben – we need more information to assist you – such as the court name, and the current charges against you.