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Can I drive with an expired license in New York?


It's certainly not a good idea to drive with an expired license.  You should renew your license since an expired driver's license is not a valid license to drive on in New York since it could lead to being cited by law enforcement if you're caught.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles notes that if you are stopped and found to have an expired drier's license, it's up to the officer's discretion if he or she will issue a ticket for an expired driver license -- even if you have applied for a new one and are waiting for renewed license. In this type of situation,the DMV cannot provide the proof that you applied for a renewal. If you renew your driver license online, the confirmation message does not count as proof that your driver license is valid.

When the DMV processes your application for renewal, your driver record immediately shows that you renewed your driver license. A law enforcement officer can check your DMV record to verify that your driver license is valid. A traffic violation occurs, and the law enforcement officer can issue a traffic ticket, if you drive and your driver license is listed as expired in the system.

If you do not have a valid driver license with you, the law enforcement officer can use this fact as a reason to issue a ticket for unlicensed operation. The traffic court or the Traffic Violations Bureau can dismiss the ticket if you provide the proof that your driver license was valid when the officer issued the ticket.

To prevent problems with an expired driver license the New York DMV suggests:

  • Remember the year that your driver license will expire. Your driver license expires on your birthday, but the year changes each time you renew your document.
  • When you receive the renewal notice for your driver license, read the instructions carefully, complete the renewal application, and mail the application to the DMV quickly. Wait four weeks to receive your new driver license photo document by mail.
  • If you do not receive a renewal notice at least 30 days before your driver license expires, you can renew without the notice. The DMV website has the complete instructions to renew your NYS driver license.
  • If your driver license will expire in less than three weeks, apply for a renewal at a DMV office. You will receive a driver license that is valid for 90 days, but the document does not display a photo. Your photo document will arrive by mail in four weeks or less.

You can renew your expired New York driver license if it expired during the last two years. You are not required to pay a penalty or an additional fee. The DMV web site has the information about driver license renewal.

If your New York driver license is expired for more than two year, then you must apply for a new driver license. You must pass a vision test, a written test, and a road test. You must complete a pre-licensing course

For more information on how to renew an expired New York States driver's license contact the New York DMV directly.

If you use an expired driver's license to drive and get a traffic ticket in New York, you could receive the following fines and penalties:

  • 60 days or less after the expiration date the fine is typically $25 to $40, plus state and local surcharges.
  • 60 days or more after the expiration date the fine is typically $75 to $300, plus state and local surcharges.

This type of traffic offense is unlikely to affect your state car insurance rates since it's a non-moving violation.  However, if your car insurance premiums go up due to a license issues, or other traffic offense, comparison shop to see if you can find better rates with a new insurance provider.


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2 Responses to "Can I drive with an expired license in New York?"
  1. Visitor

    I just received a ticket two weeks ago. I am pending a court date. Can I still renew my license even if I have a ticket?

  2. Anonymous

    Succinct and to the point. Thanks.