What Happens If You Get Caught Driving With An Expired License?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for 4autoinsurancequote.com for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSRhttps://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/4autoins-live/6ea5d860-leslie-kasperowicz.jpg

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Depending on the state you live in, you could face tickets, fines, vehicle impoundment, or even arrest if you get caught driving with an expired license. While penalties are different in every state, it’s important to make sure you never let your driver’s license expire. No matter where you live, it’s always illegal to drive without a valid license.

In most states, it is customary to have residents renew their driver’s licenses every four years. Depending where you live, your driver’s license will most likely expire on your birthday. If your birthday is coming up, check and see if your license is set to expire. If you don’t renew your license and then get caught driving with an expired one, you could be in real trouble.

Fines For Driving With An Expired License

If the officer who pulls you over is in a good mood that day, he could let you off with a simple warning. He could also give you a “fix-it ticket,” which requires you to renew your license by a certain date and submit proof, otherwise face fines. If he decides to punish you, expect some (or all) of the following penalties:driving with expired license

  • A ticket up to $250
  • Points added to your record
  • Impoundment of vehicle
  • Arrest

Like stated above, the penalty will be dependent on the state in which you live. In New York State, the fines could range from $25 to $40 if your license expired within 60 days of the stop. If more than 60 days, the fine could be anywhere from $75 and $300. In the state of Wisconsin, you could be fined up to $500 and face jail time if you get caught more than once. In Illinois, you will be automatically given a two month suspension for your first offense, and could be thrown in jail for up to a year for repeat offenses. As you can see, the penalties range from minor to severe. If you are confused as to what the penalty is in your state, check out the chart here.

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Insurance Penalties

Perhaps the most significant hit on your bank account won’t come from the fine or the penalty from law enforcement. If you get caught driving with an expired license, your insurance rates could shoot up and not go back down for years!

Most likely, the infraction will result in “points” added to your record. These points are a nuisance because of how difficult they are to get removed. They almost always will result in your insurance premiums being increased when it comes time to renew your policy.

An additional thing to consider is that if you get into a car accident while operating a vehicle with an expired license, your insurer could deny claims. By not being legally authorized to drive your car, you could be responsible for thousands of dollars (or more) because the insurance company could deny coverage.

How To Renew Your License

Depending on the state you live in, renewing an expired license can be an easy task or a hard one. You usually just have to stop by your local DMV/RMV and wait in line with your expired license. Sometimes you can simply renew your driver’s license online. Most states require a vision test and a new photo, so be prepared for that. Your state will most likely charge you between $25 and $150 to renew an expired license.

Always be sure to not let your expired license sit for too long without renewing. If you wait past your state’s limit, you might need to retake your driving test (written and/or road). To learn the requirements and cost for renewing your driver’s license, please check your state’s registry

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