Don’t Plead Guilty. Fighting Your Suspended License Tickets Is As Easy As 1-2-3!

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Nassau County residents rely on their vehicles. For most people, having a suspended license is comparable to going to jail. The loss of your license can have a devastating impact on your life, including affecting your ability to drive to and from work resulting in the loss of your livelihood, your ability to run errands, as well as transporting your children to and from school and their activities.

There are many causes that can lead to a suspended license. These include refusal of a breathalyzer test, a drunk driving conviction, accumulating too many points on your driver’s license with conviction dates within an 18 month period, unpaid traffic tickets, or a warrant for your arrest, among others.

Your driver’s license has several purposes. The most important of which, however, is to alert law enforcement personnel that you have passed all necessary requirements and are officially permitted to operate a vehicle.

If you reside in New York, you likely carry a state driver’s license. This license, as well as your driving privileges, can be revoked for a number of reasons, which we will discuss below.

Being pulled over without your driver’s license and proof of insurance can lead to tickets, fines, and even jail time. For some, you may wonder if you should simply plead guilty to any offenses you have received if you are caught driving without your license. After all, it might take less time to simply plead guilty and pay a fine than it would to appear in court. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true.

No one should ever plead guilty to an suspended license ticket including Unlicensed Operator or Aggravated Unlicensed Operation offense without consulting an experienced traffic attorney.


The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the government service that provides residents with secure identity documents, as well as motor vehicle and driver related services. They are also charged with administering any motor vehicle laws. This means that the DMV is able to suspend or revoke your license or driving privileges for violating certain laws.

– License Suspensions vs. License Revocations

License suspensions and revocations are often thought of as the same thing. However, this is an incorrect assumption.

A license suspension is a temporary situation. If your license is suspended, it can be reinstated based on the fulfillment of certain legal requirements. Licenses can be suspended for many reasons. For example, you may have your license suspended for failing to respond to a traffic ticket, being prosecuted for a vehicular homicide or assault, or for drug and alcohol violations.

A license revocation is much more serious. In New York, your license can be revoked for several things such as repeated traffic offenses, driving while ability impaired (DWAI), refusing a chemical test, or failing a DMV road test.

– Types of Suspensions

If you violate New York traffic laws, a license suspension may be in your future. New York has four different types of suspensions you may be subjected to.

  • Indefinite Suspensions: These types of suspensions do not have a pre-determined end date. That means you will need to take action in order to have your license reinstated. You may be subjected to an indefinite suspensions if you fail to respond to a court summons, pay a fine, or file an accident report.
  • Definite Suspensions: A definite suspension will have a set end date. If you are given a definite suspension, you will need to wait out the entire period before your license can be restored. (There will be fees associated with this as well!) New York has several pre-determined suspension punishments. For example, if you accumulate 11 points within an 18-month period, you can be subjected to a mandatory 60-day definite suspension. If you are guilty of DWAI by drugs, by comparison, a 6-month definite suspension is mandatory.
  • Traffic Accident Suspensions: In New York, you are required to file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident, also known as Form MV-104, within 10 days of any accident. Failure to do so can result in a license suspension.
  • Out-of-State Ticket Suspensions: New York will suspend your license if you fail to respond to out-of-state moving violations in almost all other states. The exceptions are Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Wisconsin. If you are visiting New York and are licensed by another state, you can be ticketed for violating state traffic laws. If you fail to respond to those tickets, New York can suspend your driving privileges within the state. (New York’s DMV maintains a database that will notify law enforcement of your suspension should you be pulled over again.)


Ongoing, or repeated offenses, have an increased likelihood of a license suspension or revocation. For those who continue to drive while unlicensed, the penalties are much more severe.

VTL 509-1 Unlicensed Operator

Driving without a license is a violation of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law. This violation is considered a traffic infraction. It carries a maximum 15-day jail sentence and $300 fine.

VTL 511-1(a) Aggravated Unlicensed Operation – 3rd Degree

Knowingly driving your vehicle without a valid driver’s license or revoked driving privileges is a violation of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law and it referred to as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO) in the 3rd degree. An AUO in the 3rd degree is a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum 30 day jail sentence and $500 fine. You should note that the penalties are often more severe if you are caught driving a vehicle with a gross weight of over 18,000 pounds.

VTL 511.2a Aggravated Unlicensed Operation – 2nd Degree

As with an AUO in the 3rd degree, an AUO in the 2nd degree is a violation of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law. An AUO in the 2nd degree is also a misdemeanor offense; however, it carries more serious consequences. If you have already been convicted of an AUO in the 3rd degree within 18 months or have received another Unlicensed Operator violation, your new charge will automatically be considered an AUO in the 2nd degree. This can result in a maximum of 180 days in jail and a minimum fine of $500. However, if you are convicted of an AUO in the 2nd degree because your license was suspended due to a refusal to submit to a chemical test or are currently being prosecuted for driving while intoxicated (DWI), fines can run between $500 and $1,000. You can also receive 180 days in jail, probation, or both.

VTL 511.3 Aggravated Unlicensed Operation – 1st Degree

An AUO in the 1st degree is a Class E felony violation of the NYS Penal Law. As such, this offense carries a maximum 4-year prison sentence and up to a $5,000 fine.


Aggravated Unlicensed Offenses are some of the most common traffic offenses in New York. They can also be rather complex. While some cases are misdemeanors, an AUO is a criminal offense that comes with serious ramifications.

The Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency (NCTPVA) and Nassau County District Court manages all traffic citations. You will likely be required to show up for a traffic hearing if you have been charged with a misdemeanor, violated the new driver probationary period, or have traffic violations that add up to more than 11 points.

– Why Is It Important To Fight AUO Offenses?

An AUO conviction goes on your record. We are not just talking about your driving record either. An AUO is a criminal offense, which makes it a part of your criminal record.

Because it is a criminal offense, you can be formally arrested for AUO. This is true despite whatever the underlying reason was for the AUO. Whether your driver’s license was suspended for driving while you were intoxicated or because you simply forgot to pay a traffic fine – you can be handcuffed and taken to jail when you receive an AUO charge. In certain jurisdictions, like New York City, you can expect to spend 24- to 36-hours behind bars while being processed through the system for an AUO.

– What If I Did Not Know My License Was Suspended?

In New York, an AUO can only be issued if you “knew or had reason to know” that your driver’s license was suspended. When it comes to an AUO, the prosecution only needs to prove that you had a reason to know that your license was suspended. How can they do this? In New York, every traffic summons comes with a very clear warning. If you fail to answer the summons, your driver’s license can be suspended. Because this warning appears on every traffic summons, it gives the prosecution an easy way to prove that you should have known a failure to respond would result in a suspension.

– How Do I Return A Violation?

One way to avoid a serious sentence associated with driving without a license is to return the violation. On your ticket, you can check a “guilty” or “not guilty” box to indicate your stance. You have 15 days to mail in your violation and response.

Many Unlicensed Operator violations issued in Nassau County are returnable to the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency located at 16 Cooper Street, Hempstead, NY. All other Unlicensed Operator violations are returnable to the City, Town, and Village Courts located throughout Nassau County. Many Aggravated Unlicensed Operation offenses are returnable to The Nassau County 1st District Court located at 99 Main Street, Hempstead, NY. All other Aggravated Unlicensed Operation offenses are returnable to the City, Town, and Village Courts located throughout Nassau County.


Driving without a license is never a good idea. However, if you have been charged with being an Unlicensed Operator or AUO violation, it is time to contact a Nassau County suspended license lawyer.

– Find a Lawyer Who Respects the Seriousness of the Situation

The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca is here to help you. We understand how overwhelming an arrest can be for driving without a license. Not only are you facing jail time, but you are also likely to be subjected to fines, surcharges, and other fees. For those who ultimately end up with having their license revoked, it can create an even bigger financial hardship. After all, most Americans use their cars to drive to work – something you cannot do if your license has been revoked!

If your license has been suspended or revoked, we can help. Mr. Ricca works hard to protect your rights and best interests. When it comes to being arrested for driving without your license, Mr. Ricca strives to minimize any potential consequences of such an event.

– Find a Lawyer with Specific Experience Relevant To Your Charges

Experience is very important when it comes to finding the best lawyer for your case. With years of experience, Mr. Ricca fully understands the Nassau County traffic laws and the consequences associated with any violations. Mr. Ricca is part of both the New York State and Nassau County Bar Associations. He is also part of both the New York and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as the Federal Bar Council. Not only does he have years of experience representing clients in traffic violations in New York, he also has a strong background defending clients against criminal charges.

– Find a Lawyer Who Believes In What They Do

Not all lawyers are passionate about helping the clients they accept. Whether they have taken on too many cases to give your case the focus it deserves or they simply just take cases to make money – it is not uncommon to find lawyers who will gladly accept your case, but provide minimal support. This is not true at the Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca. From our knowledgeable staff to our highly skilled Nassau County traffic lawyers, our office only takes the cases we believe in.


If you have been arrested for driving without a license, you should speak with a Nassau County suspended license lawyer immediately! With a 15-day window to return your violation with a clearly indicated plea, it is important that you contact a reputable suspended license lawyer as soon as possible after receiving your ticket or being arrested. The longer you wait, the worse the consequences can become. Proactively contacting a lawyer, while hard, can help to prevent your situation from becoming worse.

When you do contact a lawyer, it is important that you provide the facts of the case as you understand them. Gather any necessary documents that you have, as well as any evidence you have in your possession. While being arrested can be a terrifying experience, it is important that you remain clearheaded and calm while you relay your case to a lawyer. After all, relaying the facts of your case as clearly as possible can help your lawyer fully understand the elements of your particular situation.

At the Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca, we want to help you help yourself. Not only will we diligent comb through every detail along with understanding how it is impacted by the applicable law, but we will also help to prepare you should you need to testify on your own behalf. From preparing your case to going through any hearings or trials, Mr. Ricca will be with you every step of the way.

Never plead guilty to a charge related to driving with a suspended or revoked license without first contacting a traffic lawyer. If you are looking for a traffic lawyer who can help reduce any potential consequences related to an unlicensed arrest or ticket, Mr. Ricca is the best in Nassau County. Contact the Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca today for your free suspended license telephone consultation!