There’s recent story out of Suffolk County, New York about one Eric Dunbar, a man that was pulled over for speeding and upon investigation the police realized that he had 88 license suspensions against his NYS driver’s license and privileges. How is this even possible? Actually, it’s a lot easier than you may think.
There are over 100 ways of having your NYS driver’s license or driving privileges suspended. Many of them have absolutely nothing to do with driving a vehicle. Typical non driving related suspensions include failing to pay child support, failing to pay NYS income tax, and being convicted of a drug charge. The miscellaneous and sundry ways a NYS license / driving privilege(s) can be suspended are laid out in NY Vehicle and Traffic Law Sec. 510.
In Eric Dunbar’s case, his were the “garden variety” suspensions. The article details that Mr. Dunbar “…racked up 88 suspensions on his New York State license on 25 different occasions…” Wait, how can that be? 88 suspensions from only 25 occasions? Quite easy, actually.
New York State has 2 totally and completely different traffic court systems: One is the NYC traffic court which is run directly by the NYS DMV, and the other is the rest of the state, whereby your traffic case is heard in the local City, Town, or Village Court where you received the ticket. It is clear that Mr. Dunbar failed to appear in his traffic ticket cases. That always results in a license suspension. In the NYC traffic court if you fail to appear long enough you are convicted by default. Outside of NYC the state does not have the right to try you in abstenia, so you remain suspended for the duration of time until you respond to the ticket.
When you fail to appear the court, either in or out of NYC, issues a suspension for each TICKET by which you failed to appear. In other words, if you received 3 tickets on 1 stop and fail to appear, the court will issue 3 individual suspensions. In NYC if you do not answer the ticket in time the court will convict you by default and set a fine payment date. If you fail to pay the fine(s) on time then the court issues yet another suspension. So in NYC ignoring a ticket will result in 2 suspensions per ticket, and outside of NYC 1 suspension per ticket. But wait, there’s more.
Once a person accrues 6 or more points via convictions in any given 18 month period, the NYC DMV tacks on additional fines, called “assessments.” If you fail to timely pay an assessment that leads to a license suspension. Certain violations, such as driving without insurance, not only trigger a 1 year license revocation but a $750.00 assessment. Fail to pay the assessment and / or the revocation lift fee triggers suspensions.
As you can see, ignoring tickets, especially in NYC, has a snowball effect. Which all came crashing down on one Eric Dunbar when he was caught speeding and then in addition charged with aggravated unlicensed operation.
Aggravated unlicensed operation, VTL Sec. 511, is no joke. It is a crime. In Mr. Dunbar’s case it’s a felony because he had more than 10 suspensions at the time of arrest.
If you’ve ignored traffic tickets in New York, we can help. Click here to learn about our program on how we can clear your license suspensions so you do not end up in hand cuffs like Eric Dunbar.