Penalty for Driving with Expired License

It is illegal to drive with a suspended or revoked license, without a license or with an expired license. Driving with an expired license means that your license was valid at some point, but you failed to renew it. Penalties for driving with an expired license vary by jurisdiction and often arise after you are pulled over for a traffic violation.

Woman getting ticket
Woman getting ticket (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Basics

Most police officers have discretion over whether to issue a citation. For instance, one officer may let you off with a warning, whereas another will issue as many citations as possible. Penalties for driving with an expired license may include a ticket for $30 to over $250 (perhaps depending on how long your license has been expired), along with possibly getting detained and your car impounded.

Cop writing a citation
Cop writing a citation (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Considerations

Research your state guidelines regarding license renewals. In California, for example, you can renew your license without incurring late fees, although you have to renew in person if your license has been expired for more than 60 days.

Street sign, California
Street sign, California (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)
Warning

If you are pulled over and receive a citation for an expired license, contact the court to find out if you can get your ticket dismissed by demonstrating that you have renewed your license. Sometimes, showing that you have remedied the situation is enough for a citation to be dismissed, though you may have to pay court costs or another nominal fine.

Cop pulling driver over
Cop pulling driver over (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)
Tips

Do not rely on a renewal reminder notice from your local DMV. Remember that your license expires every four years on your birthday and the burden is on you to keep it valid.

Woman at mailbox
Woman at mailbox (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
Famous Ties

Vanilla Ice is among the celebrities who've been charged with driving with an expired license. He was stopped because his car's windows were too dark.

Vanilla Ice driving a car
Vanilla Ice driving a car (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)
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