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Buffalo man convicted of repeat unlicensed operation of a vehicle

A Buffalo man convicted last year of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after he was caught driving even though he was prohibited from getting behind the wheel because of 24 scofflaw incidents and 19 previous driving-related convictions has been convicted of the same charge again.

James Cheaves, 52, pleaded guilty April 16 as charged to the felony in connection with his March 18 arrest. He faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced June 30 by Erie County Judge Kenneth F. Case.

Cheaves’ first conviction for aggravated unlicensed operation came Sept. 18 before Case. Police had arrested Cheaves after pulling him over for a traffic offense and discovering he was prohibited from driving because of his convictions, which included driving while ability impaired, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, operating without a license, operating an unregistered vehicle and using a mobile phone while driving.

Case sentenced him to a conditional discharge in February, but his driving privileges were not restored.

Police pulled him over a little over a month later on a second charge of aggravated unlicensed operation. Prosecutors said he still had 23 scofflaws at that time.