Ask LH: Can I Be Fined For Driving On A Just-Expired Driver’s Licence?

Hey Lifehacker, I just got booked while driving with an expired licence — it expired on the 13th and I was fined on the 18th. If I’m only five days over, couldn’t they just give out a warning instead? And shouldn’t they send a reminder notice? Thanks, Not Fine With The Fine

Poet picture from Shutterstock


We’ve answered similar questions in the past and the answer is always the same: in short, you need to suck it up. It is your responsibility to renew your licence by the due date. The absence of a “reminder notice” is not a valid excuse — the expiry date is right there on your licence, after all.

Unfortunately, the recent expiry is unlikely to grant you much leeway with police: the fine remains the same whether your licence expired yesterday or two years ago. Plus, let’s be honest: it’s not like you were on your way to renew your licence. If the cops didn’t catch you then, you might have been driving around for weeks without realising.

Unless there were mitigating circumstances — responding to a life-or-death emergency, for example — attempting to contest the fine at court will almost certainly end badly for you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you got slugged with court costs and an offender levy in addition to the original fine.

In the future, it might be wiser to plump for a longer licence: most states and territories allow drivers to renew their unrestricted licence for one, three or five years. While this costs more in the short term, you’ll save money overall and won’t need to remember the renewal date quite so often.


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