Author Archives: RLF Attorneys

Can You Drive with a Suspended License in an Emergency?

A suspended license can disrupt employment, travel, and many other aspects of daily life. It’s understandable that the police would not be forgiving if they find you driving without a valid license for mundane matters such as going shopping, but what about in emergency situations? If there was a medical emergency (e.g. your wife is in labor or your father is having a heart attack), would it be acceptable to drive?

Unfortunately, that would still be a crime under New York State law. If you are faced with an emergency situation and don’t have a valid license, you would need to call 911. An ambulance will be sent for medical emergencies and the paramedics may allow you to ride in the ambulance with the person needing medical assistance. However, you would have to arrange a ride back home.

For any other type of emergency – for example, you want to rush to help a friend who may be in danger – you could again call 911 or your local precinct and ask for police assistance. Alternatively, you can call a taxi or ask a friend or neighbor to drive you.

While it’s understandable that you may not want to rely on (or pay for) emergency services, particularly when time is of the essence, if you choose to drive without a valid driver’s license you risk being charged with aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO). This is a misdemeanor offense and a conviction will result in a criminal record. You could also face 30 days of jail time and a fine of up to $500, which would outweigh the copay cost of an ambulance ride. In addition, if you have had your license suspended 10 times on 10 different dates, you could be charged with AUO in the first degree. This is an even more severe charge and carries a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 and up to 4 years in prison.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license or any other traffic-related crime in New York, it is absolutely vital to hire an attorney to fight for your rights. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Should I Flee an Accident if My License Has Been Suspended?

If you’re driving with a suspended license and end up in an auto accident, it can be tempting to flee the scene. After all, the consequences for getting caught driving with a suspended license are very severe. Are the penalties for committing a hit-and-run worse?

Let’s break it down: The consequences for leaving the scene of an accident in New York State vary depending on the circumstances. If no one is injured, the penalty is $250, three points on your license, and up to 15 days in jail. If the accident involved injuries, that ups the ante to one year in prison and $1,000 in fines. If the accident causes serious injuries or death, fleeing the scene is a Class D felony and can result in $5,000 in fines and up to seven years in prison, plus a permanent criminal record.

Penalties for driving with a suspended license – or aggravated unlicensed operation (AUO), as it also known – also vary in severity. AUO in the third degree, the least severe, is a misdemeanor. A conviction means facing a fine of up to $500 and 30 days of jail time. AUO in the second degree, which involves driving with a suspension caused by a DWI/DUI conviction, is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a mandatory fine of up to $1,000. AUO in the first degree is the most severe, and applies if you have been caught driving with a license that has been suspended 10 times on 10 different dates, or when a driver commits AUO in the second degree while intoxicated. A conviction carries a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 as well as up to four years in prison.

The case of which is worse is clearly situation dependent. For example, fleeing an accident with no injuries is less severe than a charge of second-degree AUO, while a misdemeanor AUO is not as severe as a hit-and-run that results in serious injuries.  Regardless of the circumstances,however,  you are better off not fleeing the scene of an accident. Your odds of getting caught are high, and if you are caught, you will ultimately face charges for both AUO and fleeing the scene.

The bottom line: Turning an accident into a hit-and-run only makes things worse. If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license, fleeing the scene of an accident, or any other traffic-related crime in New York, it is absolutely vital to hire an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help you avoid the serious consequences. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

How to Tell if Your License Has Been Suspended

Once you know what kind of circumstances can lead to a suspension, you can then call the DMV or visit the MyDMV website to find out if you license has been suspended.

You might assume that if your license has been suspended, you would know about it. Unfortunately, there are many instances when New York drivers are pulled over only to discover that they have been unknowingly driving with a suspended license.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles always notifies drivers in writing of any suspension or revocation. This letter is sent to the address listed on the license, but it’s easy for such a notice to get lost in a deluge of junk mail.

The first step the knowing if your license has been suspended is to understand what kind of circumstances can lead to a suspension. This can include:

If you know or suspect you have committed a suspension-worthy offense — or just want to be on the safe side — it is essential that you verify that your license has been suspended. There two ways to do that:  

  • Call the DMV by dialing (518) 473-5595 to get information about your license status. You’ll have to navigate a lot of menu options, but it is well worth it if there is any risk your license has been suspended.
  • Check online. The DMV offers a service called MyDMV, which allows you to renew vehicle registrations and check the status of your license. If you’ve never used the site before, you can sign up using the information on your license.

If you discover your license has been suspended, do not get behind the wheel! If you’re caught driving with a suspended license in New York, you could be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). This is a criminal misdemeanor that can sometimes result in felony charges. A conviction will also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket or result in you being dropped by your insurer altogether. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving without a valid driver’s license, it is critical that you hire an attorney who fight for your rights and minimize the consequences that can come with a conviction. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Pulled Over for a DWI? Don’t Make This Mistake

Refusing a Breathalyzer or other drug or alcohol test during a traffic stop could result in a suspended license. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The police have pulled you over for drunk driving and, while you felt confident when getting behind the wheel, now you’re not so sure that you’re under the legal limit. It’s a difficult situation to be in, but there is one mistake that could make it worse.

If an officer asks you to blow into a Breathalyzer or take any other type of chemical test, do not refuse!

Legally speaking, there are very few ways to avoid the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer during a traffic stop. New York State’s implied consent law means that every time you get behind the wheel you accept law enforcement’s right to test you for drugs and alcohol should they deem it necessary. Refusing to take a Breathalyzer or other drug test in New York violates this law and will automatically lead to a DMV hearing. This hearing is separate from any other legal proceedings that may result from the traffic stop.

Once the DMV confirms your refusal at the hearing, you will likely face a one-year license suspension, even if you are later found not guilty of drunk driving. In addition to the suspension, many drivers are often fined up to $500. Subsequent refusals, or a refusal within five years of a previous drunk driving conviction, can lead to an 18-month license suspension and even greater fines.

Many drivers refuse to take a Breathalyzer or chemical test in the hope that the lack of concrete evidence will make it easier to fight the drunk driving charge in court. There are some rare cases when that is true, particularly if you can maintain a sober and controlled demeanor throughout your encounter with law enforcement. However, even if you do avoid a drunk driving conviction, you must be prepared to either accept the suspension or fight it at the DMV hearing.

One argument used is that some medical conditions, such as diabetes and acid reflux, can lead to false positives in select field tests. However, in those circumstances the police will typically ask you to take a test at the precinct, where there is access to more accurate equipment and tests that won’t give false positives. If you don’t tell the police about your medical condition at the time of the traffic stop, the judge overseeing the DMV hearing will ask why not, and will also likely require proof of the condition.

The law does not provide a lot of wiggle room on this issue. If you are facing a license suspension due to refusing a Breathalyzer, the best course of action is to hire a skilled attorney who can help you argue your case.

A suspended license is more than an inconvenience – it makes it a felony to get behind the wheel. Getting caught driving with a suspended license could result in being charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). Best case scenario, a conviction for AUO would result in fines ranging from $200 to $500, plus 30 days in jail. For AUO in the first-degree, however, you could face up to $5,000 in fines and an indefinite prison sentence.

If you or a loved one has been charged with refusing a Breathalyzer, drunk driving, or for driving without a valid driver’s license, it is absolutely vital to hire an attorney who can negotiate with prosecutors and minimize or avoid the cost, fines, and jail time associated with a conviction. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our top-rated attorneys.

Blowing Through Toll Booths Without Paying Just Got Costlier

ez_passRefusing to pay a toll can result in expensive fines and, possibly, a suspended vehicle registration. Those penalties have now gone up. The New York State Thruway Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has increased the fines for non-payment of tolls to $50 and $100, depending on the location. The new rules were announced in January 2016 and took effect earlier this month.  

The higher penalty will apply at the Tappan Zee, Bronx-Whitestone, Triborough Bridge, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, as well as at the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels. The lower penalty will apply at the Henry Hudson, Cross Bay Veterans Memorial, and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial bridges, as well as at other parts of the Thruway.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York State Bridge Authority are reviewing their policies to see if an increase is pertinent in their jurisdictions.

The change is part of an ongoing plan to move to all-electronic tolling, which will read the license plates of cars without E-ZPasses and send them bills in the mail. The Henry Hudson bridge has been piloting the system since 2012 and the Tappan Zee bridge began using it in April 2016. Governor Cuomo hopes to see the system implemented statewide by the end of next year.

New York drivers who fail to pay five tolls or more in 18 months could see their vehicle registration suspended. Driving an unregistered vehicle is less dangerous than driving without a valid license, but still carries significant consequences. If you are caught driving an unregistered vehicle, you could face up to $400 in fines plus 15 days in jail. This could negatively affect your driving record and impact your insurance rates.

If your registration or driver’s license has been suspended for any reason, please do not get behind the wheel and hire a skilled attorney right away. The attorneys of the Rosenblum Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to get you the results you want and mitigate the most serious consequences. Call us at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation.