The New York State Senate has passed a bill that would increase penalties for drivers who injure or kill others while driving with a suspended or revoked license. If the bill is also passed by the New York State Assembly, it will become law.
New York Senator Jack Martins proposed the legislation in response to a space of recent tragedies caused by drivers with suspended or revoked licenses. Last year, 12-year-old Zachary Ranftle was fatally struck while walking to school. 19-year-old Stephen Fay was killed when a box truck collided with his motorcycle. A pedestrian was severely injured after a suspended driver crashed into the front of a restaurant.
Each of those drivers was charged under the current New York law, which makes driving with a suspended or revoked license a misdemeanor. A person convicted under VTL 511, New York’s Aggravated Unlicensed Operation law, faces a maximum punishment of only 6 months in jail.
According to Senator Martins, this light of a punishment for such a serious offense allows people, literally, to get away with murder. His new legislation would elevate the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. Under the new law, drivers could expect punishments of up to four years in prison for injuring someone and up to seven years in prison if that person dies.
In many instances, drivers are not even aware that their licenses have been suspended. A New York driver’s license may be suspended for numerous reasons, including failure to pay a traffic ticket, three speeding convictions within 18 months, and many more. If a police officer pulls you over for driving with a suspended license, it is advisable that you contact an attorney immediately.
Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is a skilled traffic and criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling Aggravated Unlicensed Operation charges and having suspended licenses reinstated. Call 1-888-203-2619 or email the Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation today.