What Happens If You Drive With an Expired Driver's License

Expired milk. Expired coupons. Even expired mascara. Sometimes it’s no big deal when something in your life expires (although you might want to think twice about drinking expired milk). But your driver’s license can be a big deal. Learn more about what can happen if you get caught driving with an expired license.

Each state sets its own rules about how often a driver must renew his or her license. Likewise, each state imposes its own penalties if you’re caught driving with an expired license.

David Reischer, an attorney who’s CEO of LegalAdvice.com, explains that driving with an expired license isn’t quite as serious as driving with a suspended license or revoked license. Still, driving with an expired license can result in fines and points, but you’re unlikely to serve time in jail unless you’re a repeat offender.

Reischer says that although an expired license isn’t as bad as a suspended or revoked license, you might lose your insurance coverage or have to pay a higher premium if your auto insurance company discovers you’ve been driving with an expired license. How might the insurer learn this? There's a variety of ways, but a common one is if you crash while driving with an expired license.

How much legal trouble you could get into for driving with an expired license depends on where you’re licensed to drive. Here are a few rules of the road for expired driver’s licenses in states where we operate.

Driving With an Expired License in Alabama

Driving with an expired license in Alabama is illegal. However, state law grants a 60-day grace period after the expiration date to renew a license; during that time, the permit is considered valid.

Driver's License Renewal in Alabama

An Alabama license can be renewed within three years of the expiration date without having to take a driver’s exam. It also can be renewed up to 180 days before it expires.

License renewal in Alabama can be done at a driver’s license office or online.

Driving With an Expired License in Arkansas

Arkansas law makes it clear you’re not allowed to drive with an expired license. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration says it rates driving with an expired license “as one of its top driving violations in the state and, therefore, guarantees that drivers who get pulled over with an expired license will get ticketed.”

Driver's License Renewal in Arkansas

If your Arkansas license has already expired, you have 31 days to renew it in person before you have to retake the written exam.

An Arkansas driver’s license can be renewed only at a county revenue office.

Driving With an Expired License in Florida

Are you a Florida driver with an expired license? Fortunately, according to the Florida Legislature Site, you can renew an expired license within 12 months of the expiration date, but you’ll have to pay a late fee of $15. If you want to renew your license after that period, you’ll be required to take and pass a written driver’s exam.

However, it’s against the law for a driver in Florida to drive if his or her license has been expired for more than six months. A ticket for driving with a FL license that’s six months past its expiration date or been expired for at least six months can be dismissed, though. A driver must show proof of renewal and pay a court fee to get the ticket dropped.

Driver's License Renewal in Florida

In Florida, a driver’s license can be renewed online or at a state driver’s license office, but in some cases, your only option will be the latter. If you're planning ahead, know that Florida allows you to renew your license up to 18 months before the expiration date.

Driving With an Expired License in Georgia

According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, you could be fined or jailed if you’re caught driving with an expired driver’s license in GA.

Driver's License Renewal in Georgia

A Georgia driver’s license can be renewed if it has expired within the past two years. If your license expired more than two years ago, you’ll have to retake the driver’s test.

In Georgia, license renewal is available online, in person, or by mail up to 150 days before the license is scheduled to expire.

Driving With an Expired License in Mississippi

In Mississippi, you can be ticketed for driving with an expired license. If your license has been expired for more than one year, you’ll have to pay a $1 late-renewal fee, and you’ll have to renew your license in person, not online.

Driver's License Renewal in Mississippi

You can renew an expired Mississippi driver’s license within 18 months of the expiration date as long as the required fees are paid. To avoid an expired license, you can renew it within six months before the expiration date.

In Mississippi, you can renew your license online or at a local driver’s license office. Keep in mind, however, that online renewal is available only within one year of the expiration date.

Driving With an Expired License in North Carolina

Driving with an expired driver’s license in North Carolina can lead to a fine of up to $100 along with court costs, as well as accumulation of points on your driver’s record and insurance record.

Driver's License Renewal in North Carolina

A North Carolina driver can renew a driver’s license online up to two years after the expiration date. Otherwise, the license renewal must be done at a NC DMV office.

You can renew your North Carolina license up to six months before it expires, either at a DMV office or, in many cases, online.

Driving With an Expired License in Ohio

If you’re ticketed for and convicted of driving with an expired driver’s license in Ohio, you face a misdemeanor that carries fines up to $150.

Driver's License Renewal in Ohio

An Ohio driver’s license that has expired within the past six months can be renewed at a deputy registrar license agency. You may owe a late renewal fee of $10, too.

If the license has been expired for more than six months, a driver must get a temporary permit and complete state-mandated tests before a new one is issued.

Driving With an Expired License in South Carolina

South Carolina’s DMV advises drivers against getting behind the wheel with an expired license.

If you’re cited for driving with an expired South Carolina license, the ticket can be dismissed if you renew your license within a week of the ticket being issued. But if you fail to do so, you could face a $300 fine and up to 30 days in jail.

Driver's License Renewal in South Carolina

You can visit a DMV branch to renew your license if it’s been expired for less than nine months. If you’ve gone past the nine-month limit, you must visit a DMV branch, provide additional documents, and pass a knowledge and skills test.

Driving With an Expired License in Tennessee

When your Tennessee driver’s license expires, you’re supposed to stop driving—says the official TN state government site. If you’re caught driving with an expired license, you can be slapped with the same penalties as someone who’s driving but has never been licensed. You can be fined up to $50 and be jailed for up to 30 days.

Driver's License Renewal in Tennessee

A Tennessee driver’s license can be renewed online, in person or by email. You can restore a valid license up to 12 months before it expires. If your driver’s license expired more than 30 days ago, you’ll have to pay a late renewal fee.

Driving With an Expired License in Texas

In Texas, for example, if you renew your driver’s license within 20 business days of being ticketed and present proof of the renewal to a traffic court, you could wind up paying a $20 fee and getting the ticket dismissed.

Harsher penalties apply if you fail to take care of the renewal within the 20-day period. For instance, you could face fines of up to $200. If you repeatedly get caught with an expired license in Texas, the penalties could include jail time.

Driver's License Renewal in Texas

Most Texas driver’s licenses can be renewed up to two years before and after the expiration date—as per the TX DMV. In some cases, you can renew a license at a state driver’s license office or online. In other cases, you can renew a license only at a state driver’s license office.

Driving With an Expired License in Virginia

Virginia is tough on drivers who are on the road with an expired license.

According to the Virginia DMV’s website, the first offense for driving with an expired license can mean a fine up to $1,000 and a jail sentence up to six months. In many cases, though, showing up to court with proof of a renewed license can lead to dismissal of an expired-license charge or perhaps a reduced fine.

Driver's License Renewal in Virginia

If your license has been expired for as little as a single day, you have to provide proof of legal residence when seeking renewal. That's unless you can offer evidence that you’re a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

If your VA license has been expired for more than one year, you must retake the vision screening, two-part knowledge exam, and road skills test.

Getting back on track with a valid driver’s license and car insurance coverage to match? We can help: online, over the phone, or in person at your local Direct Auto.

Driving With an Expired Driver's License