Penalty for driving with expired license

Updated November 22, 2016

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.


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 £19 to over £162 (perhaps depending on how long your license has been expired), along with possibly getting detained and your car impounded.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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About the Author

Maggie Gebremichael has been a freelance writer since 2002. She speaks Spanish fluently and resides in Texas. When she is not writing articles for, Gebremichael loves to travel internationally and learn about different cultures. She obtained an undergraduate degree with a focus on anthropology and business from the University of Texas and enjoys writing about her various interests.