Can Cops Tell Your License is Suspended if You Don’t Present It?

Photo courtesy dwightsghost via Flickr.

Almost every traffic stop begins with the police officer asking for license and registration. There’s a wealth of information that an officer can tell from running your driver’s license, including whether your license has been suspended or revoked. If you refuse to present it (or claim you don’t have it on you), would that prevent the officer from knowing if your license isn’t valid?

Not at all. For starters, before the officer approaches your vehicle, he or she has probably already run your plates. If the car is yours, then this information will come up right away, along with any arrest warrants for previously getting caught driving while suspended. If the car is not yours, it doesn’t necessarily protect you either. The officer will want some form of identification and once the officer knows who you are, he or she will discover that your license is invalid.

Withholding your license is a bad idea for another reason: it could result in being charged of unlicensed operation (VTL 509-1). This violation applies to drivers who either do not have a license (because they never got one) or whose license has expired. Police also have the discretion of issuing this ticket when a driver does not produce proof of a valid license. There are no points for a conviction, but it could mean a fine of up to $300 and even up to 15 days of jail time. This would be in addition to the consequences for the violation that led to the traffic stop and those for driving on a suspended license.

Driving with a suspended license could result in a charge of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). This is a criminal misdemeanor that can sometimes result in felony charges. A conviction means facing a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in jail. It can also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket or result in you being dropped by your insurer altogether.

Even if your license is suspended, don’t refuse to provide it. Instead, comply with the police officer and hire an attorney to help you fight the charges. Call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 888-203-2619 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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