Driving with a Suspended Driver's License or Registration in Connecticut or New York
If you are charged with driving with a suspended driver's license or registration, the criminal penalties depend on the circumstances of the offense and where you are located.
Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License or Registration in ConnecticutFor a first-time offense of driving while your license or registration is refused, suspended, or revoked, Connecticut law provides for a criminal penalty of $150 to $200, up to ninety days of imprisonment, or both pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-215. For a subsequent offense, as in one occurring within three years of the arrest that led to the prior driving with a suspended license or registration conviction, Connecticut law provides for a fine of $200 to $600, up to one year imprisonment, or both.
However, the criminal penalties are more severe if the underlying reason your license was suspended was for a conviction for one of the following alcohol related offenses: (1) driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (2) per se drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more; (3) manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle; or (4) assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle. Therefore, according to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-215, if you are found to be driving while your license was suspended for one or more of the alcohol related offenses described above, the penalties are a fine of $500 to $1,000 and up to one year of imprisonment, thirty consecutive days of which may not be suspended or reduced should the court determine that there are no mitigating circumstances to rule otherwise. Of note, the court shall specifically state in writing for the record the mitigating circumstances, or the absence thereof. Also, a police officer must impound a vehicle for 48 hours when the driver is arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence when his or her license is under suspension or revocation. The owner may reclaim the vehicle after paying all towing and storage costs.
Additionally, according to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-111(b), Connecticut law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license, without a hearing, for at least one year for a first conviction for driving while your license has been refused, suspended or revoked. For any subsequent violation, the mandatory period of suspension is at least five years.
Driving while under a Suspended License in New YorkDriving with a suspended license in New York is considered aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and can be classified in the third, second, or first degree, depending on the circumstances. Frequently, licenses are suspended for failing to answer a court appearance ticket or failing to timely pay the fine associated with a ticket. Additionally, license suspensions can also be mandated pursuant to violations of certain laws. Licenses can be suspended by municipal magistrates and judges, supreme court justices, county judges, district court judges, the superintendent of state police, and the commissioner of motor vehicles.
Third Degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in New YorkPursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law § 511, third degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor. This charge occurs when someone operates a motor vehicle when he or she knows or has reason to know that his or her license or privilege of operating such motor vehicle is suspended, revoked, or otherwise withdrawn by the commissioner. When a person is convicted of such offense, the sentence of the court must be a fine of $200 to $500, up to thirty days imprisonment, or both. If the unlicensed driver is operating a vehicle with a registered gross weight of more than 18,000 pounds, the fine then becomes $500 to $1,500.
Second Degree Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in New YorkSecond degree unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle is also a misdemeanor. To be convicted of second degree unlicensed operation, the driver has to have been guilty of the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree as described above and: (1) have been previously convicted of third degree unlicensed operation within the preceding eighteen months; (2) has in effect three or more suspensions, imposed on at least three separate dates, for failure to answer, appear, or pay a fine, pursuant to statute; (3) the suspension or revocation is based upon a blood-alcohol test refusal, driving under the influence of alcohol or after having consumed alcohol, or any other alcohol related violation; or (4) the suspension was a mandatory suspension pending prosecution for certain alcohol-related or other specific offenses pursuant to statute. If the second degree charge resulted from having been previously convicted of third degree unlicensed operation within the preceding 18 months, the penalty is a minimum fine of $500 and imprisonment for up to 180 days, or, where appropriate, a sentence of probation or a term of imprisonment as a condition of probation. If the second degree charge was for any other reason as described in (2) through (4) above, the penalties must be a fine of $500 to $1,000 and imprisonment for a minimum of seven and a maximum of 180 days, or, where appropriate, probation or imprisonment as a condition of probation.
First Degree Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in New YorkFirst degree unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle is a felony. First degree unlicensed operation occurs when someone: (1) previously has committed the second degree offense for the above specified reasons, except for a prior offense in the third degree, and is operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (2) commits the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree as described above and is operating a motor vehicle while such person has in effect ten or more separate suspensions, imposed on at least ten separate dates for failure to answer, appear, or pay a fine; (3) commits the offense of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree as described above and is operating a motor vehicle while under permanent revocation; or (4) operates a motor vehicle on a public highway, while holding a conditional license, under the influence of alcohol or a drug. The penalties for first degree unlicensed operation are a fine of $500 to $5,000 and a term of imprisonment appropriate for Class E felonies, with a maximum sentence of four years, or, if appropriate, probation or a term of imprisonment as a condition of probation. Of note, the vehicle the person was driving at the time of the offense is subject to confiscation and forfeiture.