Cars and Trucks

Texans On The Hook Again For Expired Driver's Licenses and Vehicle Registrations

It's once again fair game for Texas cops to write tickets for expired driver's licenses and vehicle registrations.
It's once again fair game for Texas cops to write tickets for expired driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. Screenshot
State residents with expired driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations need to get those renewed ASAP, as the pandemic-inspired grace period that had Texas law enforcement looking the other way is officially over.

In some of his first coronavirus executive orders back in March 2020, Abbott ordered the Department of Public Safety to stop enforcing the state’s penalties for driving with an expired license, and asked the Department of Motor Vehicles to do the same for out-of-date vehicle registrations.

As of April 14, that grace period is no more and enforcement is fair game again.

Now that it’s open season for cops to issue tickets for expired registration stickers and driver’s licenses, the DPS and TxDMV are urging folks to register to get those renewed quickly.

In a recent announcement, DPS let Texans know that many drivers can actually renew their expired licenses online or over the phone at 1-866-DL-RENEW and skip the trip to their local DPS office entirely if they meet the following criteria:

  1. You renewed your driver license in person at a driver license office last time.
  2. You have a Class C, M, or CM driver license. You cannot renew a Class A, Class B or commercial driver license online.
  3. Your driver license either expires in less than two years, or has been expired for less than two years.
  4. You are at least 18 years of age and your driver license is not a provisional or learner license.
  5. You are younger than 79 years of age.
  6. Your vision and your physical and mental conditions have not changed in a way that affects your ability to drive safely since your last renewal.
  7. Your license is valid (not suspended or revoked), and you do not have any warrants or unpaid tickets. To verify your eligibility, visit our License Eligibility page.
  8. Your Social Security Number is already on file.
  9. You are a U.S. citizen.
  10. You have in your possession your most recently issued driver license, the audit number from the card, or answer security questions to verify your identity.

Of the approximately 858,000 expired licenses DPS saw in its system as of April 1, around 130,700 are eligible to be renewed online or via the state’s hotline. Anyone who doesn’t qualify will need to go in-person to one of the driver’s license renewal offices across the state, which are still operating by appointment only at this time. Appointments can be scheduled online at the DPS website.

Lines at renewal centers are expected to be much longer than usual in the weeks ahead, so DPS is asking folks to be mindful to cancel their appointments if something comes up and they can’t make it in at their scheduled time. Over 198,000 people were no-shows for their appointments this March alone, according to DPS.

Texans with expired vehicle registration stickers can also renew online as long as their registration expiration date was within the last nine months. Anyone not eligible for online renewal can get a new registration sticker by mail or by stopping by a local tax office location. Keep in mind that no matter how a registration renewal is processed, the vehicle in question has to first pass a state inspection.
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Schaefer Edwards is a staff writer at the Houston Press who covers local and regional news. A lifelong Texan and adopted Houstonian, he loves NBA basketball and devouring Tex-Mex while his cat watches in envy.
Contact: Schaefer Edwards