Driving With A Suspended License In NYC

A suspended license can often be reinstated quickly. Our suspended license lawyers make lifting suspensions and fighting aggravated unlicensed charges as simple as possible. However, once you lift a suspension, there is still a long list of potential headaches if you are not prepared to fight the violation: The stress from the ticket, the costs associated with it and then, if convicted, the fines and other potential punishments.

Losing your license via suspension or after a conviction is a hardship. How are you going to get to work or school? How are you going to take the kids to soccer or run errands? Therefore, it is crucial you take these matters seriously and try to resolve them as favorably as possible.

At Weiss & Associates, PC, we have extensive experience fighting thousands of traffic tickets in New York City and throughout New York state; and we have a skilled team of lawyers who are ready to give you free advice on your available options. Call us at 212-683-7373, or fill out our online form today!

New York Driver’s License Suspensions FAQs

While you may have a basic understanding of general rules of the road — such as wearing your seatbelt and obeying traffic rules — there may be more specific areas that may cause confusion. Such can be the case with driver’s license suspensions. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions around this subject.

Penalty For Driving With A Suspended License In NYC?

Avoiding a New York suspension is important because it keeps you on the road and helps you maintain reasonably-priced insurance rates. Just one suspension on your record (of ANY type for ANY duration) can result in your insurance rates being hiked for 36 months.

Throughout most of the United States (and Quebec and Ontario provinces) will honor a New York suspension making it illegal for you to drive in any state when you have one (or more) New York suspensions. While there may be a lag between the time the NY suspension is imposed and the time that the DMV in your state of license honors it, your host state will usually catch up. Once the NY suspension is honored in another state, then you have two suspensions to clear up (i.e., one in each state).

There are many different reasons your driver’s license may be suspended. The most common types are: failing to answer a traffic ticket, failing to pay a fine, failure to appear in court, and failing to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. These occur obviously when you ignore your NY traffic ticket or fail to pay what is owed on it. These suspensions are often imposed after your actual deadline to answer or pay, so even after the deadline, moving quickly can often avoid a suspension actually being imposed.

What is the difference between a driver’s license suspension and a revocation?

Driver’s License Suspension

If your license was suspended, your ability to drive is taken away until you do the required action specified in the suspension notice.

There are many reasons why a driver’s license could be suspended. The most common ones include:

In addition to getting your driver’s license suspended, once the suspension ends, your car insurance costs can potentially increase for the next 36 months.

Driver’s License Revocation

While a driver’s license suspension has a term, if your license was revoked, it has been canceled. This means that if you want to drive again, you will have to formally request restoration of your driving privileges from the DMV when the DMV allows, possibly retake the written and driving tests, and pay a reapplication fee.

What are the most common reasons for having a driver’s license suspended?

There are many reasons for getting your driver’s license suspended. Common ones include not having car insurance in effect, failing to pay or fight a traffic ticket fine, failing to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment fee, or failing to pay child support. You can also get a suspension if you accumulate 11 or more points on your driving record — or if you get 12 points within three years.

What If Your Driver’s License Is Suspended Due to an Insurance Lapse?

Every single vehicle in the State of New York on the road is required by law to be continuously covered by liability insurance. This means that when a license plate is issued to you, you must maintain insurance coverage until that plate is surrendered back to the DMV. There are exceptions for stolen plates/vehicles, among others, but those require proof to obtain DMV’s forgiveness. Even out-of-state drivers who drive in NY must comply with such requirements.

  • Registered vehicles with license plates must always be insured, even if in storage.
  • A vehicle’s insurance must be in the same name as the car’s registrant.
  • You must always carry proof of insurance in your car (or possibly be able to display it from your phone).

If you fail to comply with these requirements, your driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of one year. This applies even if someone else was driving your car. As the owner, you are responsible for maintaining insurance coverage.

In addition, you will have to pay a fee that could be as much as $1,500, plus a penalty of $750 to get your revoked license reinstated.

If you have a vehicle with insurance that will lapse because you do not use it, you must first turn in your registration and license plates to the DMV.

If your car insurance has already lapsed, you can choose to pay a civil penalty instead of turning over the license plates to the DMV. This option is available only if the insurance lapsed 90 days or less.

The amount of the civil penalty depends on the number of days your vehicle has not been insured:

1 through 30 days $8 per day
13 through 60 days $10 per day
61 through 90 days  $12 per day

For how long are driver’s licenses suspended?

A suspension can be definite (which has a start and end date) or indefinite (which will continue until you take a required action). If it is definite, the beginning and end dates will be stated on the suspension notice that will be mailed to you. If it is indefinite, the notice will include the required actions to get it reinstated.

How long does a driver’s license suspension stay on my record?

A suspension remains on your record forever as it becomes part of your permanent driving record. However, an insurance company in New York can only hold it against you for 36 months from the date you clear it.

Can my car insurance rates go up if my driver’s license is suspended?

Yes. Unfortunately, having a driver’s license suspension on your record may cause your car insurance premium to increase for 36 months. The increase may be substantial.

What if my license was suspended for a lapse in insurance, but now I have insurance again?

You can submit proof of insurance either online or by mail. Once you submit it, the DMV will contact your insurance company to verify the submitted information. Your insurance records will then be updated within 48 hours. You will then have to pay the suspension termination fee. Note: if your insurance company erroneously placed your status as lapsed with DMV, then you can ask for it to retroactively file the appropriate paperwork to remove the lapse and suspension.

taxi-crossing-times-square-suspension

What type of legal trouble can I get in for driving with a suspended driver’s license?

Driving with a suspended driver’s license or privilege in New York is a crime called aggravated un-licensed.  The punishment can include imprisonment and fines. However, in many cases, jail is not ordered.

What happens if I drive in another state with a suspended NY driver’s license?

Most states will honor a New York suspension. Therefore, if you drive outside of New York and get caught, you are subject to that state’s laws regarding driving with a suspended license or privilege to drive.

How can I check if my driver’s license has been suspended?

You can sign up for a MyDMV account. You will need the information on your driver’s license, as well as the last four digits of your social security number. You can also check for your driver’s license status at any local DMV location.

Do I have to pay any fees to reinstate a suspended driver’s license?

Yes. In addition to fighting your driver’s license suspension by dealing with an un-answered traffic ticket or paying old fines, you are required to pay a suspension termination fee to be able to drive legally again. Once you pay it, you will have to wait to receive your reinstated license.  The suspension termination fee for a definite suspension is currently $50 unless the suspension was for breaking the NYS Zero Tolerance alcohol law. The suspension termination fee for this offense is $100.

How much is the suspension termination fee to reinstate a suspended driver’s license?

The suspension termination fee is $50 (subject to change by law). However, if your driver’s license was suspended for breaking New York’s Zero Tolerance law, the fee is increased to $100. You can pay for either one online or at a DMV office. There is a fee imposed for each suspension needing to be cleared.

How can I prove to a law enforcement officer that my driver’s license has been reinstated?

It should show up on your records when the police officer looks up your driver’s information. However, for your peace of mind, you can also order a certified copy of your driving record through your MyDMV account and keep it in your glove compartment.

How will I get my new driver’s license after it is reinstated?

After you pay your suspension termination fee, you will have to wait for three business days after the suspension period ends. You can then check the status of your new license’s mailing status through the DMV website. However, if you have a conditional or restricted license, you will have to go to a DMV office to get the new one.

What is a Restricted License?

The New York DMV allows drivers whose license has been suspended or revoked to apply for a conditional or restricted use license. While it is not the most ideal way to be allowed to drive, it does alleviate some of the hardships that come along with a suspended or revoked license, since you would be able to use it to drive (albeit on a restricted basis). The restrictions are:

  • To and from work
  • To and from your child’s school or your school
  • Medical appointments

If you are pulled over while driving with a restricted license and convicted of a moving violation or seat belt violation, your restricted license will be revoked. Examples of the types of offense that can lead to your restricted license being are:

If the reason for the suspension or revocation was related to alcohol or drug use, you will have to attend an Impaired Driver Program (IDP) course. And in such circumstances, you may be allowed to drive to and from IDP in-person courses.

Restricted licenses are not available for driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license.

What is a Provisional License?

A restricted license should not be confused with a provisional license, which is what is provided to drivers under 18 years of age who have a junior learner’s permit. Privileges under these types of license vary depending on the driver’s geographic location within the State of New York.

What is the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act?

The new legislation ends the practice of suspending a person’s New York driver’s license when they cannot afford to pay a traffic ticket. Instead, they will be able to enter into a payment plan that cannot be more than 2% of the driver’s net monthly income.

Suspension and Revocation Hearings

If you are facing a driver’s license suspension or revocation, you may be able to request a hearing to argue your case against it.

You are required to request the hearing by the specific deadline specified. If you fail to do so, your license will remain suspended or revoked without your input.

While it may feel like an uphill battle, there are ways to fight against a potential suspension or revocation based on a traffic ticket. For example, if there is not enough evidence to show that you committed the alleged traffic violation, such as:

  • You can show dash cam footage to dispute what is being alleged.
  • You can find inconsistencies in a witness’ testimony.
  • Whether a police officer’s radar gun has been calibrated recently or adequately to determine your actual driving speed.

Having an attorney to represent you at these hearings is crucial to ensure that your rights are protected. They will know what to ask, what to look for, and common mistakes that can make or break a case. And in some instances, you do not even have to be in court. Your lawyer can show up for you.

This is especially important if you received a traffic ticket in any of the five boroughs of New York City because such cases are not heard in regular traffic courts (like in the rest of the state). NYC traffic hearings are heard at the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB), which has different evidentiary rules and burden of proof than regular court.

What Can I Do To Fight a Suspended License Case In New York?

Moving quickly to address an unanswered or unpaid NY traffic ticket is important because you often can avoid a suspension even after the deadline to answer or pay has passed. This “extra” time is due to bureaucratic lag in processing a suspension request with DMV after the deadline.

You should remove any suspensions from your license because it is illegal in New York to drive with even one suspension. If you are caught driving with a suspended New York driver’s license (or suspended the privilege to drive for out-of-state driver’s), you have committed a crime in New York. When a person drives in New York when (1) he or she knows, or (2) should know that his or her license has just one (or more) suspension in place it is a B misdemeanor called Aggravated Unlicensed.

For motorists caught driving with three or more suspensions occurring on three different dates, the aggravated unlicensed charge is elevated to an A misdemeanor (which has more serious potential consequences than a B misdemeanor). Finally, motorists caught driving with ten or more suspensions occurring on ten different dates are guilty of an aggravated unlicensed charge that is elevated to a felony.

If you are charged with Aggravated Unlicensed of any type, you almost always will have to clear the underlying suspension(s) before the Aggravated Unlicensed case will be resolved by the criminal court. Let a traffic ticket lawyer for suspended licenses help you quickly and easily clean up your record. You should also consult with, if not retain, a NY traffic ticket lawyer to help you address the criminal charge. It is common for such matters to get reduced to a non-criminal case as part of a plea bargain.

A common suspension that we see that surprises many motorists is one for failing to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. This fee is due whenever a motorist accumulates 6+ points in New York. Even an out-of-state driver (with 6+ NY points) must pay the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee. The fee is $300 for six points and $75 for every point accumulated within 18 months above six.

Many motorists do not know about this fee (although it has been around since 1994) and think that they are in the clear after paying their fine and surcharge. However, when they get a bill 30 days after their NY traffic ticket is resolved, they sometimes ignore thinking that they already paid the fine and surcharge for the ticket. However, this is a separate fee that is due beyond the fine and surcharge (I know, you are thinking that this is unfair and it is). Stated differently, the Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee must be paid, when due, in addition to the fine and surcharge paid to the court.

Finally, even if you do lift a suspension by responding to an unanswered ticket or paying a fine you owe, you still must pay a suspension termination fee in order to be able to legally drive again. For each suspension, a suspension termination fee must be paid.

How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for my New York driver’s license suspension case?

Attorney’s fees may vary depending on the complexity of the case, the number of suspensions, and your lawyer’s hourly rate. At Weiss & Associates, PC, we offer flat rates for these services to avoid unfair or unexpected surprises. This is a convenient way to ensure your rights are protected without the stress of having an extra bill arrive in the mail.

What Makes Weiss & Associates’ Team Of License Suspension Attorneys Special?

When one of our suspended license lawyers handles your case, he or she will make sure your license is valid again and that you are legal to drive.  We have cleared 10,000s of suspension for our clients throughout the years and have become adept at doing so efficiently.

Contact us at 212-683-7373 or via lawyer@nytrafficticket.com for help lifting any New York suspension quickly and easily, and/or  to fight an Aggravated Unlicensed charge.

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