What is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License?

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It’s always a good idea to renew your driver’s license before it expires. But if you do not renew it before expiration, you could end up driving with an expired license.

Frankly, you do not want that to happen. You won't be let off easily if you get caught by the authorities. So, if you’re wondering, “what is the penalty for driving with an expired license?” Keep reading.

How Much Is the Penalty for Expired Drivers License?

The penalty for driving with an expired license varies by state. You could be asked to pay a penalty fee of up to $250, depending on the state. The other types of penalties you might face could leave a huge stain on your driving records.

The fact is that driving with a valid license proves to the law that you have what it takes to drive your vehicle around safely. That’s the essence of the tests you’ll be subjected to when you apply for the driver’s license.

But when you drive with an expired driver’s license, it gives the state the impression that you’re a potential threat to the lives and property of US citizens. So, in some states, you could face jail time for driving with an expired driver’s license.

Penalties for Driving with an Expired Driver’s License

The penalties vary by state. But if you’re caught driving with an expired license, here are the potential penalties you could face.

1. Vehicle Impoundment

When you drive with an expired license in some states, you risk your vehicle getting impounded by the state. When that happens, you might need to pay a sum to get your car back after sorting out the driver’s license issue.

In Florida, you might have to pay between $100- $300 to retrieve your vehicle, depending on how long it spends in the impound lot.

2. Penalty Fee/Fines

The Penalty fee for driving without a license or an expired license varies by state. In some states, you might be required to pay a penalty fee that’s up to $250.

3. Automobile Insurance Penalty

You may also face insurance penalties when you drive with an expired license. The demerit points on your driving record will likely result to an increase in your insurance premium when your automobile insurance policy comes up for renewal.

Also, if you end up in an accident when driving with an expired license, your insurance company may refuse to cover you being that driving with an expired license means you’re not authorized to drive.

So, you’ll have to pay for out-of-pocket not only for damages to your vehicle, but also for damages to others peoples vehicle and bodily injury (if any).

4. Possible Arrest and Jail Time

Another possible penalty for driving with an expired license is facing jail time.

Depending on the state, you could be locked up in jail for driving with an expired license for 60 days to 6 months.

Expired Driver’s License Penalty in Some States

Here are some US states with their described penalty for driving with an expired license.

States Penalties Legal Citation
Arkansas Misdemeanor: 6 days to 60 months jail time and a possible penalty fee of up to $500. §27-16-303
California First Offenders: 6 days to 6 months jail time + penalty fee ranging from $300-$1000. Subsequent Offenders: 10 days to one year jail time + $500-$2000 penalty fee. Veh. code§14601§14602.6
Florida 2nd Degree Misdemeanor (First Offenders): Maximum of 60 days jail time or penalty fine of $500. 1st Degree Misdemeanor (Second Offenders): Maximum of 1-year jail or penalty fine of $1,000 3rd Degree Felony (Subsequent Offenders): Instant vehicle impoundment, maximum of 5 years jail time or penalty fee of $5,000 with compulsory 10 days jail time. § 322.34§ 775.082§ 775.083
Georgia Misdemeanor (First Offenders): Jail time ranging from 2 days to 1 year + possible penalty fee of $500. A reinstatement fee is set at $210, $200 (for payment by mail) High and Aggravated Misdemeanor (Second/Third Offenders): Jail time ranging from 10 days to one year and possible penalty fine of $1,000-$2,500. A reinstatement fee is set at $310, $300 (for payment by mail). Felony (Subsequent offenders): Jail time ranging from 1-5 years, 6 months license suspension, and Penalty fine of $2,500-$5,000. A reinstatement fee is $410, $400 (for payment by mail). §40-5-121
New York Misdemeanor (First Offenders): Maximum of 30 days jail time, or $200-$500 as a penalty fine, or both. Misdemeanor (Subsequent Offenders): Maximum jail time of 180 days, up to a $500 penalty fine. V&T 511
Texas Class C Misdemeanor (First Offenders): Maximum $500 penalty fine. Class B Misdemeanor (Subsequent Demeanor): Maximum jail time of 180 days, or $2,000 as a penalty fine or both Tex. Transp. Code Ann.§ 521.457Tex. Penal Code Ann.§ 12.23§12.22
Washington Gross Misdemeanor: Maximum jail time of 364 days, penalty fine of $5000 or both. §46.20.345

How to Renew Your Driver’s License?

The obvious solution for preventing a situation where you get an expired drivers license penalty is to renew your driver’s license before it expires.

Go to the DMV in your state to fill out and submit a renewal form. Some states permit you to fill out the renewal request online or via mail if you are unable to got to the DMV’s office.

Find out the provision made by the state you live in and the requirement to renew your driver’s license.

Since you’ve gone through the process before, there’s nothing new. You’ll just need to thumbprint and take photos for the license.

Depending on your situation at the time of renewing your drive’rs license, you may be required to retake the behind-the-wheel exam. Of course, you’ll have to pay outstanding fees too. Viola.

If you’re an older driver, you may want to check out the drivers license renewal law for your state to know what to expect from the renewal process.

FAQs on What Is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License

How Long Can You Drive around with an Expired License?

You can only drive around with an expired driver’s license within 14 days. If you get caught driving around with an expired license for more than 14 days, you would either get a ticket or serve jail time.

Is It an Offence to Drive with an Expired License?

Yes, it is an offense to drive with an expired license, especially if you’re way past your license grace period.

What Is the Penalty for a Late Driver’s License Renewal?

There’s generally no late renewal penalty. You just might need to retake the eye test - especially if you renew your license within the grace period.

Can I Drive While Waiting for My License Renewal?

Yes, you may continue driving while waiting for your renewal if you meet certain conditions.

Can I Drive While Waiting for My License Change of Address?

Yes, you can drive while waiting for your license change of address.

What if It’s a First-Time Offense?

If the authorities find you driving with an expired license for the first time, you’ll be asked to pay a fine ranging from $100 to $5,000. The exact amount depends on the state you were caught.

Conclusion: What Is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License?

The question “what is the penalty for driving with an expired license,” has been answered in this article. So, it’s best to avoid such a situation.

It is always a good idea to start processing your driver’s license renewal way ahead of the expiration date to avoid issues with the state.

Reference Legal Explanations

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  • " What is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License?". Legal Explanations. Accessed on September 22, 2022. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-is-the-penalty-for-driving-with-an-expired-license/.

  • " What is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License?". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-is-the-penalty-for-driving-with-an-expired-license/. Accessed 22 September, 2022

  • What is the Penalty for Driving with an Expired License?. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-is-the-penalty-for-driving-with-an-expired-license/.

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