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.

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