VTL 511(3)(a)(iv) First Degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle: New York’s Felony Crime for Driving Drunk with a DWI Conditional License from an Earlier DWI

Not all crimes involving Driving While Intoxicated are found under title 1192 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”). While all New York Drunk Driving crimes, aka, DWI and DUI, are extremely serious, so is an arrest for the DWI related crime of First Degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle, VTL 511(3)(a)(iv). Before even addressing the felony implications of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree, remember that you will also face a DWI charge because the former cannot exist without the latter.

Addressing the common DWI crimes of VTL 1192.3 or VTL 1192.2, do not forget that these crimes are misdemeanor offenses that carry serious penalties within the realm of the New York criminal justice system (also, a conviction for one of these crimes leaves you with the scar of a permanent record) and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Even more concerning than these misdemeanors crimes, if you are driving drunk with a child fifteen years of age or younger in a car, then you will not just face one of these “lesser” offenses. Instead, since 2009, the passage of Leandra’s Law made driving drunk with a child in your car a felony punishable by a sentence of up to four years in a New York State prison. This is the case whether or not anyone was injured, there was a car accident or you were merely arrested at a checkpoint. Not that any crime involving a New York DWI or DUI is a “joke,” but New York VTL 1192.2-a(b) is symbolic of the catastrophic ramifications of driving while intoxicated in the State of New York.

As the laws prosecuting DWI crimes in New York have gotten more tough and stronger over the years, loopholes have also been closed. As a result, New York criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys have had to become more creative and even more vigilant in the defense of clients accuse of these crimes. It should not fall on deaf ears that an arrest for DWI or a related crime in New York is not proof of any actual criminal conduct or guilt.

Not to be confused with the “bump up” crime of felony DWI (a second DWI conviction in a ten year period), VTL 511(3)(a)(iv), as briefly touched on above, isn’t really a DWI crime. In other words, it does not fall under the VTL 1192 DWI title. Practically speaking, however, there is not much of a difference in terms of felony conduct. First Degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle makes it an “E” felony to operate a motor vehicle in an intoxicated state where your license to drive is a conditional one due to a prior arrest for VTL 1192.2, VTL 1192.3 or another DWI crime. To be clear, you need not have a prior conviction on a closed case for New York DUI or DWI, but only a pending matter where you have a limited license or permission to drive. This conditional license could be given to you as a result of a DWI Hardship Hearing (a hearing where the court agrees that it would be an extreme hardship to suspend your license in its entirety) or an application through the DMV. If your license is completely suspended, the crime would still be the same. Like all other “E” felonies, First Degree Aggravated DWI is punishable for a first time offender for up to four years in prison.

Although First Degree Aggravated DWI seems fairly straightforward (don’t drive drunk when you are currently suspended as a result of a DWI arrest), there are potential defenses and numerous collateral issues the need to be identified and managed. To educate yourself or to assist in your own defense, review the materials on New York’s DWI crimes including Aggravated DWI, Common Law DWI, Per se DWI, VTL 1192.3, VTL 1192.2 and VTL 1192.1, follow any of the links found in this entry and read the DWI and Traffic Offenses section of the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com.

The founding New York DWI lawyers and DUI attorneys at Crotty Saland PC served in the DWI Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prior to opening the law firm. The New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC represent clients in DWI and DUI arrests and trials throughout New York City and many suburban municipalities.

Updated: