What does it mean to “drive without a license” in New York?
Driving without a license can refer to three scenarios.
You’re stopped for an offense and:
- You have
a license but it’s not in your possession. In other words, you were
licensed to drive but lacked proof, an infraction that may be dismissed once
you can prove that you possessed a valid license at the time of the
incident. (Note: you may have to pay a
- You never
applied for a license (or your license expired). New York VAT § 509 states
that, "no person shall operate or drive a motor vehicle upon a public
highway of this state or upon any sidewalk or to or from any lot adjacent to a
public garage, supermarket, shopping center or car washing establishment or to
or from or into a public garage or car washing establishment unless he is duly
licensed." Violation is a misdemeanor and may result in a fine of $75 to
$300 or jail time up to 15 days. In addition, a fine of up to $40 may also be
imposed if the person failed to renew a valid license within 60 days of its
license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. This
violation is known as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation and for first time
offenders, this offense is punishable by a fine of $500 to $5000 and a jail
time up to 180 days.
How do you fight the charge?
Fighting a “driving without a license charge” can be
difficult. Once the district attorney or
prosecutor alleges that you drove without a valid license, the burden of proof
is on you to prove that you did
possess a valid driver’s license at the time of your offense. If you don’t have
evidence of a license, you lose! Depending on your circumstances, you may
benefit from the advice or negotiating skills of an attorney.
Can an undocumented immigrant obtain a driver’s license in New York?
An undocumented immigrant is not permitted to obtain a driver's
license in New York.