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What To Do When Your License Expires And You Get Pulled Over

Driving with an expired license is a serious offense. Most states require that you renew your license every four years after you reach the age of 21. Your license expires on your birthday, regardless of when you renewed it in the past. For example, if your birthday falls on January 16 and you received your license in February, it still expires on your birthday. Many states will let you renew your license before the end of the month, but you still need to know what to do if a police officer catches you driving with an expired license.

Stay Cool and Explain Yourself

Mistakes can happen to anyone, and most police officers understand that. If you stay calm and clearly explain that you know you need to renew your license, the officer will likely let you go with a warning. When a police officer pulls you over, the officer will first ask for your license, registration and proof of insurance. The officer will run your name through the system, looking for any warrants or other problems. If the state suspended your license for any reason, the officer has the right to arrest you on the scene, but if your license simply expired, the officer will likely give you a written warning and suggest that you take care of the problem.

Renewing Your License

Renewing your license is usually an easy task, but it depends on how long ago it expired. If you're only a few weeks late, you can typically stop by any DMV with your license in hand. Most states require that drivers take a vision test, pay a small fee and pose for a new photo. If your license expired months or even years ago, you need to retake the driving test. Depending on where you live, you'll either need to take the written test, the skills test or both tests. You can find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about driving laws and tests in all 50 states at Free DMV Practice Tests. As long as you prepare yourself, you can pass the test on your first attempt.