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Good afternoon. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. In California, there is no grace period for an expired driver's license. You must apply for a renewal of your driver's license at least 60 days before it expires because the DMV could take up to 60 days to mail you the new license. You cannot drive a vehicle if your driver's license has expired. Your option at this point would be to go to the DMV in person, show them evidence to show your renewed it by mail and see if they can give you a status update or possible issue you one in person, so there will be no lapse.
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It may be something which is issued in person. As such, you would need to go to the DMV and show then you submitted for the renewal and see if they will issue it. It is very possible that you will get the license before it expires but to be on the safe side, can make an appoint and appear to get one issued. I take it this is what you read and it was from 2011, so you need to verify the policy is still in effect.