Driving without a license in New York can result in severe penalties. This includes fines up to $300 and even jail time. You wouldn’t expect such harsh penalties coming from actions as simple as forgetting your driver’s license at home. However, based on the determining factors these penalties for unlicensed operators can and will be enforced for anyone driving without a license in New York.

The Technical Details

There are several different ways you can be charged for driving without a license. Each one comes with its own set of rules, which is why the penalties for an unlicensed operator are so diverse. My Tickets NYC is a law firm in New York that helps with these kinds of cases across the state. Contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you resolve this problem.

Driving without a license

What Are the Penalties for Driving without a License in New York?

Driving without a license in New York is considered a misdemeanor. Because of this, your case will be taken to criminal court rather than a traffic violations court. Even if you have a driver’s license that you simply forgot at home, you may need the assistance of a professional criminal lawyer in order to reduce the penalties.

Fees and Fines

The lowest fees associated with driving without a license in New York is a license termination fee which ranges from $75 to $300. You will also have to pay a driver’s responsibility assessment fee which will fall between $100-$250 (sometimes more). Drivers are responsible for renewing their license within 60 days of expiration. If you are caught with an expired license after this time period, you will also have to pay $40 to renew your license so that it is valid.

New York also issues mandatory surcharges as a penalty for an unlicensed operator. These surcharges are usually $80-$100. Driving without a license and being ticketed for it also means an increase (or even a loss) of your car insurance premiums.

Jail Time

Under the New York Consolidated Laws, Vehicle and Traffic Law (VAT § 509) being in violation of driving without a license in New York puts you at risk of jail time. If you do not pay the fines associated with these charges, you can face up to fifteen days in jail.

SEE MORE: Long-Term Consequences of Driving Without a License

Aggravated Unlicensed Operator

An aggravated unlicensed operator (or an AUO)is a driver who is operating under a suspended or revoked license. This is a more serious crime, which means an increase in penalties. Here are the differences in penalties for an AUO:

  • Third-Degree AUO: Issued as a misdemeanor charge and criminal record
  • Second-Degree AUO: When a license has been revoked three times or suspended on a DUI charge. $500 fine and jail time.
  • First-Degree AUO: Issued when license has been suspended 10 or more times. Up to $5,000 in fines and 4 years of jail time

Defenses For Driving without a License in New York

If you left your license at home and you can provide proof that you have a valid license (even if it’s an out-of-state or foreign license), you should be able to defend this charge. However, you may still be issued a fine enforced by the opinion of the judge. With a licensed attorney by your side, you may able to avoid fines altogether.

In the event that you have been charged as an AUO, you absolutely need to hire a skilled attorney. In these instances, you will be charged in criminal court, which means hefty fines and mandatory jail time.

If you’ve been ticketed in the 5 Boros, Upstate New York, Long Island or New Jersey, call 917-426-2WIN (2946),complete the e-mail form, or email us at info@myticketsnyc.com for a free, non-obligatory consultation to discuss your situation regarding driving with a suspended license or Driving without a license. 


Published On: August 22nd, 2019 / Categories: Driver License, Driving Without a License / Tags: /