License Renewal Grace Periods: How Much Time Do You Really Have?

By: Staff Writer May 31, 2012
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Among all the occasions you don't want to forget in life - your wedding anniversary, your mother's birthday, payday - your driver's license expiration date ranks...well, it ranks somewhere up there.

After all, while forgetting the first few events leads to the silent treatment and awkward family gatherings, forgetting to renew your license can bring:

  • Financial repercussions. You might have to pay late fees or, depending on how long it's been expired, the cost to apply all over again.
  • The vision, written, and driving exams. If you have to reapply for your driver's license, most likely you'll have to pass these exams again.
  • Traffic tickets. Cops aren't happy when they find drivers without valid licenses.

License Renewal Grace Periods

Fortunately, some states are more forgiving than others in regards to an expired license. These states offer grace periods in which a driver can renew an expired license without repercussions, or even drive with it.

Grace period "benefits" vary by state. In Alabama, for example, drivers enjoy a generous 60-day grace period after which the license expires, extending it for another 60 days, making it still legal for drivers to get behind the wheel.

Hawaii offers a 90-day grace period but without driving privileges; the license immediately becomes invalid after the expiration date passes. Drivers can renew a Hawaiian drivers license within this 90-day time frame without the penalty of late fees, or what the Hawaii DMV terms "reactivation fees."

Yet, Louisiana drivers have only a 10-day grace period in which to renew an expired license before a $15 delinquent fee kicks in.

Before it's actually time to renew your license, check your state's license renewal requirements for information on grace periods; if you need further assistance, contact your DMV.

Has your license ever expire before you were able to renew it? What grace period - or penalties - did your state offer?

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