I was recently pulled over in Yonkers, NY for speeding and issued a speeding ticket. At the same time the officer informed me (to my surprise) that I had a suspended license in the state of NY and he gave me an additional ticket for aggravated unlicensed operation.
I did more research through the DMV and found out that my license was suspended in 2002 for failure to answer a summons related to a ticket from Dec. 1999. In 1999 I lived in Albany, NY and was driving with a Massachusetts license. I received a ticket for having a burnt out headlight bulb. (My memory of the exact facts around this get fuzzy because it was 7 years ago!) This ticket could be waived as long as you have the headlight fixed within 24 or 48 hours (something like that). I recall promptly getting the headlight fixed and taking whatever steps were necessary to clear this ticket. (I believe I had to find a cop on the side of the road and ask him to verify that my headlight was working and he signed off on my ticket ... or something like that.) Around March 2001 I happened to move to Colorado where I obtained a Colorado license, and I probably moved houses 2-3 times between this incident and the suspension of my license. I've been living in CT since May of this year and had no problem getting a CT license.
Since receiving these tickets, I have paid the 1999 ticket and confirmed that my license status is now "Valid" in the state of NY. My court date is this Friday (Nov. 3)
My questions are:
- Aggravated Unlicensed Operation implies that I knowingly drove with a suspended license. Clearly I did not know as I thought I had taken care of my ticket and I never received any correspondence to the contrary. Should it be easy to plea this down to Unlicensed Operation (509.1) which hopefully is not a misdemeanor?
- Any chance I could get the entire unlicensed operator charge thrown out on the grounds that my license never should have been suspended in the first place? The only document that I've been able to dig up is a copy of my credit card statement from Dec. 1999 that shows a purchase for my new headlight. Anything else I would have kept is long gone after this many years.
- Is it likely that the court will probe into why I did not receive the summons and claim that I should have known? Will I need proof of all my relocations from 2000-today?
- Any advice on what to say about the speeding ticket? I was speeding (maybe 70 in a 45), and the officer was nice enough (I think) to give me a ticket for "driving too fast for the conditions" (something like that). The ticket doesn't even show my speed, it's just a generic speeding violation.
Thanks in advance for your help! I hope the legal system smiles on me this Friday!