Driving Without A License in New York

by Adam Rosenblum on November 19, 2012

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.

16 thoughts on “Driving Without A License in New York

  1. 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

    Felise on
    • 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.

      RLF Attorneys on
  2. 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.

    Tyler W. on
    • 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.

      RLF Attorneys on
  3. 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.

    Jackie on
  4. 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!

    Chris P on
  5. 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

    Maiko ng on
  6. 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?

    John Dano on
  7. 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?

    Matthew Stuckey on
  8. 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

    Ben on

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