Every state has their own set of penalties for driving with an expired license – from tickets, fines, and vehicle impoundment to the possibility of arrest. And, Illinois is no exception.
Don’t take expired license lightly
If you happen to reside in the Land of Lincoln, don’t take driving with an expired license lightly. Things could easily escalate from a ticketed violation to a criminal offense, depending on the date and length of expiration.
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). In other words, it’s against the law for any driver to operate a vehicle with an expired license.
Dire consequences for failure to renew
While there’s a grace period of up to one year to renew an expired Illinois driver’s license, failure to renew the license within a year will result in more dire consequences. These could include being required to take additional driving tests as part of the renewal process. But, that would be the least of your problems.
More specifically, if you’re pulled over by a cop and found to be driving with an expired license, your problems may have just increased tenfold. For example, if your license has been expired for less than a year, a ticket and a fine of up to $1,000 may be issued.
However, if your driver’s license expired more than one year ago, the offense is now a Class B misdemeanor – which comes with an automatic $1,500 fine and a possible jail sentence of up to six months. And, if you think things can’t get worse – think again.
Police have right to impound vehicle
Under certain circumstances, Illinois state law gives police the right to impound a driver’s vehicle if he or she is found to be driving with an expired license and without proof of car insurance. In addition, should you be convicted of driving with an expired license, the Illinois Secretary of State will revoke your driving privileges by suspending your license. And, you won’t be allowed to apply for a new one until the suspension period is over.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t expect your auto insurance company to be thrilled with the news that you were violating state law by driving with an expired license. As soon as they hear about it, you could face either a massive increase in your car insurance rates or outright cancellation of your policy.
The process is quite simple. Illinois drivers are required to 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
Don’t wait till the last minute. Renew your driver’s license prior to its expiration. After all, 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.
A lapse of memory happens to the best of us from time to time, including when it comes to our driver’s license. But, by checking it and noting the expiration date ahead of time you can save yourself the embarrassment of having to explain to a cop why you’re driving with an expired license – not to mention getting hit with some hefty fines and penalties.