Obtaining your driver`s license is a rite of passage for adolescents, as well as a sign of independence for seniors. With this privilege, however, comes great responsibility, such as adhering to traffic laws and having automobile insurance. Another responsibility is making sure that you renew your driver`s license. In most states, this is required every four years. And while you should receive a courtesy reminder from your state`s DMV in the mail, renewing your license can easily slip your mind.
That may seem like an innocent oversight, but forgetting to renew your driver`s license can result in some hefty fines and penalties.
Fees, Fines, and Penalties for Driving With an Expired Driver`s License
To be fair, if this is the first and only time that you`ve let your license lapse, the fines and penalties may not be that harsh. In fact, if you have a clean driving record, the officer who pulled you over may simply issue you a warning. Others may issue you a “fix-it ticket.” This means that you have a certain amount of time to renew your license. If you send the proper documents to traffic court in time, the fines may be reduced or waived.
Some states also impose late fees. This varies from state to state. In Connecticut, for example, you`ll have to pay a $25 fee when renewing an expired license. In Washington, there`s a $10 late fee if your license has been expired for more than 60 days. In Wisconsin, you could face a fine between $200 to $500 and potentially six months of jail time.
Additionally, all states require retesting if your license has been expired for an extended period of time. This includes knowledge, road, and vision testing. In other words, you may have to retake your driver`s test.
Besides traffic tickets and the possibility of retaking your driver`s test, there may be the following penalties:
- Ticket fines up to $250. This depends on your state, length of expiration, and driving record.
- Points added to your driving record. Again, this varies from state to state.
- Increased car insurance premiums.
- Repeat offenders could be placed in jail for a year.
- Impoundment of your vehicle. If this happens, you will also be responsible for the cost of the tow and impoundment.
While the legal fines and penalties can be pricey, the biggest hit on your bank account could come from your insurance rates.
This is because if you drive with an expired license, you`ll probably have points added to your driving record. So when it`s time to renew your policy, your insurance premium will increase. Not only are these points difficult to remove, your insurance rates will remain high for years.
Also, if you were to get into a car accident while driving with an expired license, you would not only be charged with relevant infractions, your insurance company may also deny coverage because you`re operating your vehicle illegally. This could result in thousands and thousands of dollars out of your pocket to repair the damages to the other vehicle.
How to Renew Your Driver`s License
Renewing your license isn`t overly difficult. Most states allow you to renew your license either in-person at your local DMV, through the mail, or online. The catch, however, is making sure that you`re prepared. This means having all proper documentation in order.
For example, in New Jersey, there`s a 6-Point ID Verification for renewing your license. In order to renew your license, you`ll need:
- At least one Primary ID, such as your birth certificate, passport, or current driver`s license
- At least one Secondary ID, such as marriage certificate, military ID, or college ID
- Verifiable Social Security Number
- Proof of Address, like a bank statement or utility bill from the last month
Since each state has different requirements, either visit your state`s DMV website or carefully read the details included in your courtesy reminder that you receive in the mail.
Furthermore, some states require that you take a vision screening and sign test during the renewal process. In Georgia, for example, anyone 64 years of age or older must take a new photo and pass a vision exam.
Besides the proper documentation, also make sure that you have payment prepared. Most states charge between $25 to $50 and accept personal checks and major credit cards. Again, visit your state`s DMV website to know the amount needed to renew your license, as well as the forms of payment accepted.