Skip to main content

What are the possible penalties for driving without a license in New York state

Watertown, NY |

What are the penalties for driving without a license?

I have had over 30 Driving without a license tickets in the past will this effect me trying to get a license now?

Attorney Answers 2


There are several different offenses that could be invovled.

1) if you have been charged with violation of Vehicle and Trafflic Law Section 509.1, (called "unlicensed driver"), this is simply a traffic violation and the maximum fine can be as low as $40 (with $85 surcharge) or as much as $300 (with $85 surcharge) depending upon whether the license had expired more or less than 60 days before the ticket. There is also a theoretical possibility of a jail sentence of up to 15 days. Any jail sentence for this offense is almost unheard of.

2) if the charge is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 511.1(a) (called "Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 3rd degree) this charge is a misdemeanor (a crime) and if you are convicted of this offense the maximum fine is $500 with an $85 mandatory surcharge. There is also a theoretical possibility of a jail sentence of up to 30 days. This charge is very rarely prosecuted due to the requirements on the prosecution as a result of a recent NYS Court of Appeals decision. Generally, as long as a driver has cleared up the underlying reasons for the suspension most prosecutors will agree to reduce this charge to the traffic violation discussed in #1.

There are also "Aggravated Unlicensed Operation" crimes that are more serious (2nd degree and 1st degree) which can be charged if a large number of underlying suspensions are in place or if the suspensions were related to an alcohol conviction. The most serious is AUO 1st degree which is a felony.

Mark as helpful

13 found this helpful

1 comment



Hey you Can't spell stop trying to act so smart. And you wrote " the MAXIMUM fine could be as LOW as..." doesn't make sense. And you are wrong with some of this.


If the tickets states 509(1), then the consequences of being found guilty are just a fine (no points). If the ticket states 511(1), then this is a misdemeanor and, in addition to a fine, this is a misdemeanor where a criminal record and jail time could be imposed. There also could be civil consequences from a conviction to any type of licenses as far as DMV is concerned. They could use an unlicensed conviction to deny issuing you a license.

Mark as helpful

5 found this helpful

Traffic tickets topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics