"Papers please!"
June 13, 2006 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Identi-Filter: How bad is it that I'm walking around with an expired driver's license?

So my Oregon driver's license expired recently and now I'm wondering how a big a deal this is. I have a friend who carries her passport around with her because her license is expired (apparently some bar bouncers won't let her in with an expired ID). I think this is a pretty big risk since getting your passport stolen is pretty much the worst thing ever. However, what kinds of risks am I running by having this, my primary piece of identification, exist in an expired state?

The facts:
*I'm not driving, so no worries there.
*I'm moving to WA in about 2 months where I will change my residency to that state
*The driver's license picture is from when I was 15 (currently 24) and was renewed once with a sticker (that is now fading, as is the signature).

-Should I look into getting a NY State ID card?
-When I apply for WA residency, how much of a head ache is it going to be to have an expired OR license?
posted by Smarson to Law & Government (25 answers total)
 
I work as door security at a bar. I was told that we don't have to consider expired ID valid. I wasn't given a reason explicitly, but I think that expired ID is not considered a legally valid document. I know it still shows your picture, your date of birth and has the same anti-counterfeiting measures, but it isn't "active" (for lack of a better word).

Depending on an individual's attitude, state of inebriation and age I sometimes let it slide because, at least around here (Waterloo, ON), the cops are going to apply the same standard when evaluating an individual's ID.

Passports are really commonly used, which surprised me because I wouldn't bring mine to a bar for fear of waiting in a ridiculously long line to get a new one.
posted by KevCed at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2006


If you don't drive, and aren't worried about getting into bars, or opening a bank account, you have nothing to worry about.

Make sure you have your original birth certificate for when you apply for a new license, though.
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2006


As long as you're not driving it's probably not a big deal. No real risks in terms of being arrested or fined, but you may get hassled trying to cash checks. You're never required to carry ID, so I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by electroboy at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2006


You don't even, btw, need a license to fly, though they will make you go through extra security.
posted by empath at 8:07 AM on June 13, 2006


Some places will and some places won't accept an expired licence as ID.

More importantly, though, it appears from Washington's page that you need to have a currently valid out of state licence in order to get a Washington licence without taking the driver's test.

You can sort of renew your Oregon licence by mail/internet, even though you're out of state, and even though it's currently expired, assuming it's been expired for less than a year.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:11 AM on June 13, 2006


KevCed - Cool, thanks. Ya, I'm totally surprised when ever I see a Passport at a bar/ restaurant. Those are a picpockets dream come true.

Empath - Don't plan on opening any bank accounts, but accessing them is a weekly event. Probably better to use the Passport for that. Oooo...original birth certificate....that could be tough.

Electroboy - Ya, I cashed a check last week and they didn't ask for ID, but thats my local branch so I think they know me. I may start carrying the Passport with me to the bank.
posted by Smarson at 8:14 AM on June 13, 2006


I wasn't given a reason explicitly, but I think that expired ID is not considered a legally valid document.

The general reason is that people give their expired DL to their underage friends and/or siblings.
posted by smackfu at 8:20 AM on June 13, 2006


Well, even if you want to renew your OR license, you probably have to have your Birth Certificate. I know that's the case in VA, my girlfriend just went through that.
posted by empath at 8:20 AM on June 13, 2006


Jacquilynne - Ooooo...good to know. Maybe I should look into renewing my OR driver's license and getting a NY State ID Card.
posted by Smarson at 8:21 AM on June 13, 2006


Uh, a new license in my state is like $15.00 and doesn't require anything but a mildly annoying wait in line at the DMV (actually, secretary of state, but who cares?). Why not go get another one?

I don't drive but once, maybe twice, per month, but I still maintain a valid driver's license - you never know when there will be an emergency that requires you to drive, and it's handy to have a valid, unexpired, non-passport ID around for those times I decide to tie one on at the bar...

Just get another license if it doesn't involve travelling back to OR... or just stop by OR shortly after getting to WA. Oh wait, you'll have to take a bus...
posted by sablazo at 8:26 AM on June 13, 2006


Just an FYI - The reason bars sometimes don't accept expired ID is that this is the easiest way to get a fake ID. An older sibling or a friend who is a couple years older........ You look similar...... Their ID expires so they don't need it........

For the reason above, when I was carding people we were always told to never return an expired ID. Confiscating an expired DL is/was completely legal in Montana.
posted by MrCheese!!! at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2006


You can't rent a car with an expired DL. You never know when you need to rent a car.

I tried to get a CT DL with an expired NJ DL. It wasn't even really expired, I just couldn't find the non-expired one. It went very badly. The CT DMV couldn't look up my record in NJ, and I had to take the written test again. They wanted me to take the driving test again too, but they took pity on me because it was urgent. (I needed to rent a car.)
posted by smackfu at 8:34 AM on June 13, 2006


You don't even, btw, need a license to fly, though they will make you go through extra security.

I'm not sure about this. I had to fly from NYC to Vegas recently, and the night before, I realized that my license had expired (I don't own a car, so I don't think about my license much). I checked the airline's website, and it said I could use a passport instead. So I guess the quoted text, above, is literally correct -- you don't NEED a license to fly, but you need some sort of proof of who you are. And the airline said specifically that it had to be a non-expired license or a passport.

Alas, my passport had also expired.

I called the airline and asked me what I could do, and they didn't have any ideas from me. I even called the TSA. The official there told me that I MIGHT be okay with other forms of ID, but -- as the italicized text says -- I would probably be subject to additional security. The suggested I show up two hours early.

I asked him what he meant by "I MIGHT be okay," and he said that the TSA makes recommendations, but it's up to individual airlines and airports to make the final decision.

So I showed up with my birth certificate, my marriage license, letters addressed to me, and my expired passport and license. As it happens, the security people just glanced at my license and waved me through. I don't think they noticed the date (and my license had just barely expired). But I think I got lucky. My documents were in clear violation of the rules on the airline's website.
posted by grumblebee at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2006


"You can't rent a car with an expired DL. You never know when you need to rent a car."

That'd be pretty funny if places would rent you a car with an expired license.

"There you are sir, thank you for renting with Enterprise. I'd give you the keys, but since your license is expired I can't actually let you legally drive it. Feel free to look at it all you want though."
posted by Smarson at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2006


More importantly, though, it appears from Washington's page that you need to have a currently valid out of state licence in order to get a Washington licence without taking the driver's test.

Ding ding ding. If your state allows you to renew your expired license without taking the test again during a grace period, go ahead and renew it now, so that you won't have to take the &!#@ driver's test in Washington State again if you ever need to drive a car for some reason.
posted by Hildago at 8:48 AM on June 13, 2006


I recently, due to a snafu a the dmv, have had to have a temporary operator's permit because my license expired. I've caught shit from the door bouncers at bars but strangely when I show them the printed piece of paper that is the temporary operator's permit along my expired ID, they let me in.

Note to door bouncers and bar owners: When I get denied entry into your bar because my ID has been expired for a month and half and then have to show my temporary operator's permit to get in, I don't come back to your bar. It's a BS power trip and I know it as well as you do.
posted by 517 at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2006


And to think I was just going to let this slide. Leave it to Askmefi to show me the error of my ways.

You guys are the best. Thanks to all.
posted by Smarson at 9:57 AM on June 13, 2006


Um, yeah... I spent the night in jail because I declined to show ID. At least around here (upstate South Carolina), not having an ID indicates that you have something to hide and are worthy of suspicion.

I suspect Oregon is a bit more intelligent, however.
posted by LordSludge at 10:07 AM on June 13, 2006


I've had expired state ID since my 2005 birthday, since I am lazy and don't want to visit the DMV twice in one year.

I've had no real problems, including going to Canada and back once. The only problem I've had is when I needed to immediately cash a payroll check as opposed to deposit it at my bank and wait for it to clear - the bank my employer has set up to do this rejected me for expired ID. So I went to one of those shady check cashing places, which was actually cheaper and took my expired ID. My own bank never asks to see my ID, but I only go inside to deposit checks.

However, I don't drive and am under 21 so this ID is useless at bars.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:06 AM on June 13, 2006


Anecdote: I was told by a NY bartender that it was illegal to not have a valid ID on your person even when you are just on the street. I told her this wasn't true and she said they made a new law after 9/11. I told her that wasn't true and she said it was called vagrancy and she would call her cop boyfriend to prove it but she didn't follow up on that.
posted by Aghast. at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2006


Generally, when you let your driver's license expire, you have to retake the written and driving tests. Just be prepared.
posted by elle.jeezy at 12:13 PM on June 13, 2006


Generally, when you let your driver's license expire, you have to retake the written and driving tests. Just be prepared.

(At least in NYC) it depends how long it's been expired. Mine expired in November of 2005 and I got a new one in April 2006. I didn't have to take a test.

I think you have six months.
posted by grumblebee at 12:26 PM on June 13, 2006


Echoing everybody else about the "get it done so you don't have to take the driving portion of the exam" thing. Washington is picky about that.

You mentioned that getting an original birth certificate might be a problem. Assuming you are baby boomer or younger, I think you'd be surprised. Figure out what county you were born in, call the county, and ask what paperwork you need. Follow directions carefully. In many places you can even download the request form as a PDF, but some places they will have to mail you a request form.

Seriously, unless you were born someplace that recently had a major disaster (New Orleans comes to mind) it won't be as big a deal as you think.

I hear tell that Drivers License offices are also requiring people whose name does not match their birth certificate are requiring paperwork to document that fact. For practical purposes, this means ladies need their marriage licenses. Accidental sexism at it's finest.
posted by ilsa at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2006


FWIW, I've been using my passport as ID for the past 18 months-or-so; carry it to work, live at bars, and haven't had anything bad happen. I also haven't lost my keys in about 15 years, either, though.* The flip-side is I've been getting harassed by friends and relatives to get off my ass and get my license. I'm planning on heading to the DMV next time I can convince a friend to drive me there with their car so I can take the driving test.

* That distant thud you hear is me knocking on wood.
posted by redsnare at 2:51 PM on June 13, 2006


Jim Harper was able to fly without ID. I might try this myself.
posted by breath at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2006


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