What Is The Penalty For Driving With An Expired License?

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Making sure that your driver’s license is up to date is essential if you want to avoid hefty fines, hassles, fees and frustration. While penalties are different in every state, it is always an infraction to drive with an expired license. If you don’t take care of it promptly, you could suffer the following penalties:

  • Ticket fines of up to $250
  • Points on your permanent driving record
  • Impoundment of vehicle

About Fines for Driving with an Expired License

The really hefty fines generally won’t be given if it is your first offense for driving without a license or if your license is only slightly expired. While it is up to the discretion of the officer to determine your fine, it is generally the case that you will be let go with a warning if the license is only slightly expired. However, you shouldn’t count on the kindness of police officers; if your license is approaching expiration, it is a good idea to schedule a time for a license renewal.

Some officers will also demand that you get out of your vehicle and secure another method for getting where you are going in order to “prevent the continuation of the offense.” You will be liable for the cost of the tow and impoundment in addition to the ticket. Other officers will tell you that you need to head to the DMV office immediately to take care of the problem.

While some states don’t charge anything to renew your license within 60 days of expiration, other states charge increasingly large late fees.

If you have been ticketed, you may be able to have it dismissed if you prove that you have renewed your license. Talk to the officer at the DMV to get the documentation you need to send to traffic court in order to prove license renewal. You may still have to pay a fine, court costs and the cost of impoundment, but the ticket fine will be waived.

Insurance Penalties

In addition to legal penalties, there may be significant insurance penalties that arise from driving with an expired license. Points on your record may result in increased insurance premiums when your insurance comes up for renewal. More importantly than that, if you get into an accident with an expired license, not only will you be charged with any relevant infractions at the maximum penalty, but your insurance company will be able to deny coverage because you are not legally operating your vehicle. This could put you on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars of damage to other vehicles.

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