Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, commonly referred to by most attorneys as an AUO is a vehicle and traffic violation offense under VTL section 511. There are three levels of aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle. The 1st degree carries the harshest penalties. While AUO in the 3rd degree is the most commonly charged one.

AUO in the 3rd degree is defined as: “such person operates a motor vehicle upon a public highway while knowing or having reason to know that such person’s license or privilege of operating such motor vehicle in this state or privilege of obtaining a license to operate such motor vehicle issued by the Commissioner is suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by the commissioner.”

A police officer must have a basis for stopping a vehicle. There are numerous violations that justify the stop of a motor vehicle including speeding, swerving, window tint, broken taillight, and other such violations.

Today, many police cars now carry license plate scanning technology. This technology will immediately advise the officer of the status of a driver’s license as connected to the license plate. Therefore the police officer has the ability to determine if the owner, likely to be the driver, has a valid license.

In People v. Pate, 52 A.D.3d 1118 (3d Dep’t 2008): the court upheld the officers stop of a motor vehicle. In this case the officer previously responded to a domestic violence incident and after advising the defendant to leave the premises learned that he had a suspended license. Approximately six weeks later the officer again came in contact with the defendant while he was driving. The Defendant was stopped in his vehicle and was searched resulting in the seizure of cocaine. He was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and possession of crack cocaine.

The Fourth Department in People v. Haynes, 35 A.D.3d 1212 (4th Dep’t 2006) came to a similar conclusion where the officer had prior knowledge that the defendant had been recently ticketed for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

The penalties for AUO 3rd  is a fine of between $200.00 and $500.00, and a mandatory state surcharge of $93, up to 30 days in jail, and a crime victim assistance fee of $5.00.

In many instances an effective vehicle and traffic attorney can obtain a favorable disposition after determining the basis for the client’s suspension, providing the client time to clear up his license, and ultimately provide proof of same to the District Attorney.

If you have been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle call attorney Jason Henskee for a free review of your case.

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