A New York State driver’s license can get suspended for a number of reasons. It is crucial to know what a license suspension is and the most common ways in which your New York driver’s license can be suspended.
Discovering that you have a suspended or revoked license in New York can be devastating. Imagine losing your ability to drive, even for just a few weeks. You would need to rely on others to get you everywhere you needed to go. Aside from making your life inconvenient, you could lose your job. A suspension can also prevent you from getting a job in the first place.
Remember, it is quite common for people to think that once their license is suspended they are at a “dead end” and cannot do anything about it. However, in most cases that is simply untrue!
A skilled suspended license attorney can help you avoid a license suspension altogether as well as get your driving privileges restored if they already were suspended.
What Does It Mean if Your New York License Is Suspended?
A license suspension is, by definition, temporary and your license will be available to be reinstated after a specified time period. That period could be a fixed amount of time (known as a definite suspension) or based on certain conditions (an indefinite suspension).
If you’ve received a suspension of any kind, the DMV will send a notice by mail to the address on the license (that's one reason it's important to notify DMV if your address changes). The notice will include the reason for the suspension. For a definite suspension, the notice will state the start and end date of the suspension. For an indefinite suspension, the DMV will note what needs to be done to reinstate the license.
You can also find out about a license suspension by going to http://My.DMV.NY.gov. Register or login using existing credentials, then click “Restore My Driving Privileges” from the main menu.
What Leads to a License Suspension?
The following are just a few of the most common reasons why your driver’s license could be suspended.
- Driving Without Insurance (VTL 319)
- Under VTL 319, all cars in New York must be properly insured. A conviction for driving without insurance is extremely serious. You can lose your license for up to 1 year, incur a fine of up to $1,500, and go to jail for up to 15 days.
- DUI/DWI: Driving Under the Influence & Driving While Intoxicated (VTL 1192-1193)
- If you are found guilty of DUI/DWI in New York, your driving privileges will be suspended. Depending on what level your blood alcohol content (BAC) was and whether you are a first-time or repeat offender will determine how long the license suspension will last.
- If your BAC level is above 0.18%, you will likely be charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. If convicted, your license will be suspended for 1 year.
- If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08% but under 0.18%, you can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If convicted, your license will be suspended for 6 months.
- DWAI: Driving While Ability Impaired (VTL 1192)
- If you are convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), your license will be suspended for 90 days. DWAI is usually issued to motorists who are high while driving and/or the testing indicates that they are impaired below the limit of .08. A second DWAI conviction within 5 years of your first could cause your license to be suspended for 6 months.
- Having 11 or More Points on Your Driving Record
- In New York, if you receive 11 or more points within 18 months, your license will be suspended.
- Remember, moving violations have set point values, and the more moving violations you commit, the closer you will be to a suspension on your driving record.
- Getting convicted for talking on a cell phone (a 5-point ticket) while driving 21 miles per hour over the speed limit (a 6-point ticket) will cause your license to be suspended.
The following traffic violations, depending on the circumstances, can also give rise to a suspended license in New York:
- Abandoning Your Car on a Public Highway (VTL 1224-7)
- Fleeing from a Police Officer
- Found to be at Fault in a Fatal Accident
- “Hit and Run”: Leaving the Scene of an Accident (VTL 600-1a)
- Junior License Holder Convicted of 1 Serious Traffic Violation
- Junior License Holder Convicted of 2 Traffic Violations
- Offering a False Instrument for Filing
- Racing: Unauthorized Speed Contest
- Receiving 3 Convictions within 3 Years for Passing a School Bus
- Receiving 3 Speeding Ticket or 2 Work Zone Speeding Ticket Convictions within 18 Months
- Reckless Driving (VTL 1212)
Lastly, the following non-moving violations and non-driving related offenses can also cause your driver’s license to be suspended:
- Failing to Comply with a Court Judgment
- Failing to File an Accident Report (VTL 605-a1)
- Failing to Pay Child Support (VTL 510)
- Failure to Respond to or Pay a New York Traffic Ticket
- Having a Medical Condition That Compromises Your Ability to Drive
- Not Showing Up to a Court Appearance
What Is the Difference Between a Revoked and Suspended License?
The difference between revoked license and a suspended license is that a revocation means your license has been cancelled. Like a suspension, there is a revocation period – usually a year or more -- where you will be unable to drive. Unlike with a suspension, however, when the revocation period ends you will have to re-apply for a new license. In most cases, you’ll have to request permission from the DMV before you apply and the DMV may require you to take the written and/or driving test again (and pay all the associated fees). There is also a chance your request will be denied.
Your license could be revoked if you:
- Drive without auto insurance
- Are involved in an auto accident while driving without insurance
- Are convicted of multiple serious traffic violations
- Make a false statement on a driver’s license application
- Are convicted of multiple DWI infractions
How to Get Your License Reinstated
In some cases, a suspended license can be reinstated simply by paying a fee or fine. However, in many cases you will need an attorney to help negotiate the conditions for reinstatement, reduce the fees, or even fight the underlying reason for the suspension. Reinstating a revoked license is typically more complicated and will almost certainly require the aid of an attorney.
Go to our page on How to Reinstate a Suspended License in New York reinstating a suspended license for more information.
Is It a Crime to Drive with a Suspended License in New York?
Vehicle and Traffic Law section 511 states that if your license is suspended you can be charged with a crime and, in some cases, you can be facing a felony charge with a minimum required prison sentence of 1 year. Oftentimes, drivers will find themselves handcuffed and on their way to jail before ever realizing that they were driving on a suspended license (VTL 511). Unfortunately not knowing that your license was suspended, even when you state that you did not receive any notification in the mail does not completely absolve you from getting arrested and charged with a crime.
The formal charge for driving with a suspended license in New York is called Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). There are three levels of AUO in the state. Third- and second-degree AUO are misdemeanors, while first-degree AUO is a felony. For more on criminal charges associated with AUO, see our article here.
Who Should You Call?
If you or a loved one is facing potential license suspension in New York based on pending violations or has been charged with driving while suspended, don’t panic! With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to remove or mitigate the consequences. Call the Rosenblum Law at 888-883-5529 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to find out how we can help you.