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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is It Illegal to Drive with an Expired License in Iowa?

In Iowa and other states, a driver's license expires on the date printed on the document.


The license remains valid within a specified period after this expiration date. However, it's limited, and no person should operate a motor vehicle on a highway in this state if this document has expired and that additional period has passed.


This article contains crucial information on the laws about operating a motor vehicle with an expired driver's license in Iowa. Tom Fowler Law can also answer questions such as is it illegal to drive without a catalytic converter in Iowa?


Understanding Expiration Dates in a Driver's License

Understanding Expiration Dates in a Driver's License


According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, a person's license expires on the date printed on that document.


However, a driver's license is still valid to drive for an additional 60 days after that date.


It's important to understand that people are required to renew their licenses to maintain their right to drive. That's the main reason why this additional period is granted.


Once that additional 60-day period expires, people may be ticketed for driving with an expired license.


Is Driving with an Expired License Illegal in Iowa?


Under Iowa law, it's illegal to drive without a valid license, which means people can face legal trouble if this document has expired and they still operate a motor vehicle.


Moreover, any person operating a motor vehicle on a highway in this state must have a valid license in their immediate possession. Therefore, the driver's license renewal should be a priority.


How to Renew a Driver's License in Iowa


People should renew their Iowa driver’s license before this document expires to avoid fines and other penalties.


In this state, residents can request the license renewal online as long as they meet certain requirements. A vehicle injury attorney can help advise on these requirements.


If people don't meet these criteria, they must access the Iowa.gov website and schedule an appointment to visit a driver's license service center to renew this document.


Things to Know About a Driver's License Renewal in Iowa


As mentioned, an Iowa driver's license is valid for driving for an additional period of approximately two months after it expires. People have one year within that date to renew this document without taking the knowledge test.


Individuals are required to meet some requirements each time they renew this document, such as passing the vision screening test.


If the driver's license has expired more than a year ago, people will be required to take and pass the following tests again:


  • Driving test

  • Test knowledge

  • Vision screening


Driver's licenses can be renewed up to 30 days before the expiration date. However, this period may be extended under certain circumstances.


People must, however, explain to the examiner why they're applying to renew their driver's licenses at such an early date.


Can a Driver's License be Extended Beyond 60 Days?


If a person is temporarily out of state or country and is unable to renew their driver's license as a result, they can apply for a temporary extension. However, this period is limited to six months.


Iowa residents may request this extension in writing by mailing or faxing the Iowa Department of Transportation's Office of Driver Services.


Possible Penalties for Driving Without a License


In Iowa, a person may be subject to penalties for driving without a license in immediate possession or if this document is not valid.


The License Isn't in Immediate Possession

As explained above, drivers are legally required to have a driver's license in their possession. If they have been issued this document but fail to do this, individuals may be charged with a simple misdemeanor.


In most cases, drivers are allowed to present a valid license in court to avoid conviction. However, they will still have to pay costs related to this legal process.


Driving Without a Valid License

Iowa classifies unlicensed driving as a simple misdemeanor. Offenders can be punished with fines ranging from $65 to $625 and up to 30 days in jail. These penalties also apply to people who drive on an expired license.


Are There Any Exceptions?

A person who resides outside Iowa can drive without an Iowa license if they have a valid driver's license from their state of legal residence.


These exceptions also apply to military personnel operating military vehicles and farmers driving certain types of machinery. However, both cases are subject to Iowa age restrictions.


Possible Penalties for Driving While Restrained

Iowa law also penalizes people who operate a vehicle while their license or its renewal has been suspended, barred, or revoked.


This state imposes additional fees, generally $200, each time a driver's license is suspended, revoked, or barred.


Penalties can range from fines to extended driver's license suspension and jail time according to the following:


Driving on a Suspended License

In Iowa, driving on a suspended license is a simple misdemeanor. As such, people facing these charges may be subject to up to 30 days in jail and be required to pay fines of $250 to $1,500.


More often than not, these convictions also result in an additional driver's license suspension similar to the one that was originally imposed.


DUI-Related Cases

A person who gets their license suspended for driving under the influence (DUI) may be charged with a serious misdemeanor under Iowa law.


In DUI-related cases, convicted drivers can be penalized with up to $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. The original driver's license suspension period is often doubled. Also, vehicles are usually impounded.


Habitual Violator

If a person is convicted of driving on a suspended license three times within a six-year period, they're considered "habitual violators."


As habitual violators, offenders won't be able to receive a driver's license for two to six years. Moreover, future violations may be punishable by jail time.


Final Thoughts: Is It Illegal to Drive with an Expired Drivers License in Iowa?

Final Thoughts: Is It Illegal to Drive with an Expired Drivers License in Iowa?


In Iowa, driving with an expired driver's license is illegal and could result in penalties for offenders.

While it's true that the license remains valid for 60 days after the expiration date, people should request the renewal of their driver's licenses before this period ends. Otherwise, they could find themselves committing an offense that carries high fines, suspensions, and even jail time.


People should also understand that those who provoke an accident while driving on an expired license are responsible for the damages their negligence caused. Victims are entitled to seek help from a professional attorney to hold them accountable for their actions. Fortunately, those who have been injured in these incidents can find a trustworthy attorney at Tom Fowler Law. Contact us today!

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