If you don’t have your license on you when you get pulled over, there are several potential consequences depending on why you aren’t currently carrying your license. Simply forgetting it is a much simpler charge than not having one at all; but you’ll still need to appear in court, and you’ll need representation that knows the system. At the law offices of Zev Goldstein, you can rest assured that your case is in excellent hands. Consequences will typically depend on the type of infraction and many other variables.
Failing to show proof of your driver’s license is a fairly common violation. You were in a hurry as you dashed out the door. You forgot to put your wallet in your pocket or your purse in the car. Perhaps your license is still in the pocket of the pants you wore out last night. In New York, if you are caught driving without your physical license, you will likely be charged with Unlicensed Operation. In this case, if you were issued the ticket, you will simply need to appear in court and show your valid, current license to prove that you are in fact a licensed driver. If you fail to do so, you will likely be found guilty and fined. Your worst option would be to fail to answer the charge entirely. That will likely result in a suspension.
If you have never been issued a driver license, or even if you were, but no longer are licensed for any reason, you can be ticketed for Unlicensed Operation if you are caught driving. This is the case for many immigrants, legal or otherwise, but it can happen with many others as well. Driving before you have reached the legal age for a license or before a license has been issued also falls into this category. If you are driving without having ever been issued a license, it will probably be charged as a simple violation, not a crime. At the same time, you probably will not have a defense if the police witnessed you driving, since your only real defense is a valid license. You will likely be found guilty and fined for the violation.
The window to renew your license can slip on you before you know it. Some officers will issue a warning when they discover this violation. Mostly, though, you will be issued a citation for Unlicensed Operation, the same violation as though you never had a license. You will be fined and the conviction will remain on your driving record for the immediate future as well. There may be situations where if you quickly renewed and restored your license after your ticket was issued, a prosecutor and judge may decide to be lenient with you. But there are under no obligation to do so, and may insist on a guilty plea or trial.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license typically leads to stiffer penalties than the other offenses, as New York treats this is a misdemeanor, criminal offense. If your are caught driving under these circumstances, it is customary for the office to arrest you and not permit you to drive away. Also, your case will be heard in a criminal court, rather than traffic court. This will mean that you must appear in court with your lawyer. For a habitual offender, driving with a suspended or revoked license can lead to jail time. It can also increase the length of the suspension and amounts of the fine. You can have a criminal record which will stay with you. There is much at risk when one drives with a suspended license.
Car insurance generally follows the car and not the driver. That means that you might not think anything of handing over your keys to an unlicensed friend or family member. Unfortunately, if an accident occurs while they are behind the wheel, it can be a nightmare! Your car insurance company might not be willing to cover an accident, and you might see your car impounded for as much as thirty days. For this reason, you should never loan your car to an unlicensed friend or family member.
If you have been charged with driving without a license, don’t lose your driving privileges! Contact Zev Goldstein today to learn how we can help get you back on the road.