WABC/Channel 7 news anchor Liz Cho was arrested Tuesday for driving with a suspended license, known as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, NY VTL Sec. 511(a)(1). How does a credible, well known, high profile New York
news anchor end up driving around with a suspended driver’s license, and then get caught? Actually, it’s pretty easy.
Suspensions related to your auto insurance
There are over 110 reasons why your NY driver’s license or privileges can be suspended. Many reasons why have to do with either a lack or lapse of insurance. According to the NY Daily News article, 45 year old WABC news anchor Liz Cho was stopped for alleged prohibited cell phone use in Manhattan. When the police ran her license, they were informed that her license was suspended. The underlying reason for the suspension was that at a point in the past insurance had lapsed on a vehicle registered to her. There was no allegation that the vehicle she was driving was uninsured, or even that the vehicle she was driving was the vehicle that the insurance had lapsed on.
What happened in Liz Cho’s suspension case
Here are the mechanics of what happened in Liz Cho’s case. Sometime in the past she had a vehicle registered to her that the insurance on the vehicle lapsed; i.e., the insurance expired. This is a HUGE no-no. NEVER allow your auto insurance to lapse. This is the way it works. The insurance company computers and the NYS DMV computers are linked. Your insurance company identifies your vehicle by VIN, and it is cross referenced at the DMV to your license plate number. As far as the NYS DMV is concerned, if your vehicle’s license plates are NOT in the possession of the NYS DMV, then the vehicle which is registered to you MUST have auto insurance on it.
Anytime you fail to pay your insurance premium that triggers an electronic alert from your insurance company to the DMV, which triggers a notice sent out to you as the registered owner of the vehicle directing you to re-insure your vehicle by a deadline date, of which failure to do so WILL RESULT in your vehicle’s registration as well as your driver’s license being suspended.
Once that deadline date passes without you re-insuring your vehicle, both the vehicle’s registration and registered owner’s driver’s license is suspended. That is what happened to Liz Cho. She was negligent in maintaining insurance on a vehicle registered to her in the past, and that triggered a license as well as vehicle registration suspension.
Clearing a vehicle registration suspension
When Ms. Cho was stopped however, the vehicle she was driving, a 2016 BMW, was insured and properly registered despite the fact that her license was suspended. Here’s how that works. There are 2 ways to clear a REGISTRATION suspension for allowing the insurance to lapse within the first 90 days of a lapse, either (1) within the first 90 days of the suspension, re-insure the vehicle and pay an $8.00 a day fine for as many days as the insurance was lapsed, or (2) turning in the plates and paying an $8.00 a day fine. If the REGISTRATION suspension exceeds 90 days then the registered owner is ineligible to un-suspend the registration by paying an $8.00 a day fee. Rather, the plates MUST be surrendered to the DMV and the vehicle is ineligible for re-registration or transfer of title for the same amount of days that the vehicle was uninsured. For example, if the lapse was for 122 days, then the registered owner must turn in the plates and cannot register or transfer title for the 122 days. While you can still re-insure a vehicle during a punitive period, the vehicle still cannot be legally driven. . due to an apparent previous lapse in her insurance that occurred several years ago, even though her insurance is currently valid,” the spokesman said.
Clearing a driver’s license suspension subsequent to insurance lapse suspension
Clearing the license suspension is the easier thing to do. Once the vehicle registration lapse and suspension is remediated simply pay a $50.00 suspension lift fee to the NYS DMV. Why didn’t Liz Cho do this? Here are the common reasons:
- You have an affirmative duty to tell the NYS DMV of your current address. Many people move, don’t change their license and registration address, and never received the notice(s). This is NOT a legal excuse, because you are deemed to have notice of suspension upon mailing to your address of record with the NYS DMV.
- People are away at the time the notices come to their home.
- Letters from the NYS DMV look like junk mail and the notices are thrown away.
- The notices are confusing and people believe that by fixing the registration issue automatically clears the license suspension.
- A 3rd party, like a spouse “took care” of the issue, and of course they really didn’t.
If you believe your license may be suspended contact us at Palumbo & Associates, PC. We have a license review program where, for a nominal fee, we can go into the NYS DMV’s records, obtain your driving record, find out whether you are suspended and if so give you a resolution strategy to remediate your license suspension.
Don’t find out about your license suspension like Liz Cho did. She was arrested, handcuffed, and taken into custody. Her brand new 2106 BMW was towed. Now she has to deal with the headache and expense of getting it back. She is charged with a serious motor vehicle crime. She has to make court appearances before the Manhattan Criminal Court’s V & T part, where they take aggravated unlicensed operation very seriously. She has to retain counsel. She is facing a permanent criminal history, high fines, and jail time. For the fee we can charge you to review your driving record, it is will worth it compared to the consequences of being arrested.