What happens if I drive with an expired license?

If you get caught behind the wheel with an expired license you could face penalties including tickets, fines, vehicle impoundment and even arrest depending on the state where you live.

Each state regulates expired licenses differently. In Illinois, it can escalate from a ticketed violation to a criminal offense. According to Illinois state law, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle unless he holds a valid license or permit, or a restricted driving permit issued.” (625 ILCS 5/6-101) Active military members and their families are allowed to apply for a deferment, which gives them a limited time period to drive on an expired license. Other than that, it’s against the law for any driver to operate a vehicle with an expired license. There is a grace period of up to one year to renew an expired Illinois drivers license. If a driver fails to renew the license within a year, additional driving tests may be required as part of the renewal process.

Police Officer Approaches Female Driver

There can be serious consequences if a person drives with an expired license and is pulled over by the police. If a license is expired for less than a year, a ticket and a fine of up to $1,000 may be issued. If a driver’s license is expired for more than one year, the offense is considered a Class B misdemeanor that has a $1,500 fine with a possible jail sentence of up to six months. Under some circumstances, the police can impound a driver’s vehicle if a person is driving with an expired license and without proof of car insurance. It’s also important to note that if you are convicted of driving with an expired license, the Illinois Secretary of State will suspend your license and you must wait until the suspension period is over to apply for a new one.

Illinois drivers must renew their private passenger and motorcycle licenses:

  • 3 months after their 21st birthday
  • Every 4 years if they are 21-80 years old
  • Every 2 years if they are 81-86 years old
  • Every year if they are 87 and older

*Licenses may be renewed up to one year before a four-year or two-year license expires, or six months before a one-year license expires.

Renew your drivers license before it expires to avoid penalties and abide by Illinois driving laws. If you have any issues obtaining car insurance in Chicago because of your driving record, contact Active Insurance today.