Jill Kolodner | February 1, 2022 | Car Accidents
If you take a look inside a police cruiser, you will see a computer terminal that helps officers verify your identity, check your warrants, and even access national criminal databases.
You might wonder why the police require you to carry a driver’s license with you when they could check your driving privileges with a few taps on the keyboard. The simple answer? Maryland law requires you to get, maintain, and carry a valid driver’s license to drive.
Here is some information about driver’s licenses in Maryland and some of the violations you can be charged with if you fail to keep your driver’s license on your person while driving.
Getting a Driver’s License in Maryland
To get a driver’s license in Maryland, you need to present proof of your identity and residence in Maryland. You must pass a vision test. Your driving privileges cannot have been suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused by Maryland or any other state.
If you have not previously held a driver’s license, you must pass a driver’s education course. You must also pass a written exam and a driving test.
If you were previously licensed in another state, you can skip written exam and the road test, as long as your license has not been expired for more than one year. Maryland will exchange your out-of-state license for a Maryland license.
You must have a driver’s license to drive a vehicle in Maryland. If you live in Maryland, the law requires you to get a Maryland driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state.
Driver’s License Violations
Maryland has several statutes that allow police officers to enforce the driver’s license laws, including:
Failure to Display a Driver’s License
Under Maryland law, you must display your license to any uniformed police officer upon demand. This violation occurs when you have a valid driver’s license, but you cannot or will not give it to a police officer. Some states refer to this violation as “driving without a license on person.”
This happens most frequently when you forget or lose your driver’s license. But Maryland police can also issue a citation when a driver refuses to produce their license.
Importantly, this statute allows you to display an electronic credential. The Maryland MVA has not yet issued digital copies of driver’s licenses. But when it does, police officers will verify your electronic credential rather than asking for your physical license.
Driving Without Valid Driving Privileges
Maryland does not allow you to drive without a valid driver’s license. You violate this law if you do not have a driver’s license.
For example, you could get a citation if you drive and you have never held a driver’s license or have an expired driver’s license.
Maryland has a separate law to cover driving after your driving privileges were terminated.
You violate this law if drive on a license that was:
A violation occurs whether the action was taken by Maryland or another state.
Punishments for Driver’s License Violations
The punishments for driver’s license violations vary widely. If you have a valid license but fail to display it, you face a fine but no jail time.
If you never had a license or hold an expired license, you face a fine and up to 60 days in jail.
If your license was suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused, you face a fine and up to a year in jail. You could also face having your license permanently revoked.
The Role of Licensing
Maryland limits who can drive to improve road safety. Graduated licensing for new drivers and driver’s education courses reduce car accidents. The training and testing requirements for a commercial license also improve truck driver safety and reduce truck accidents.
Licensing does not eliminate all traffic accidents.
Maryland has identified four behaviors linked to accidents:
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
Education and licensing encourage drivers to adopt safe driving habits. Those who do not drive safely risk having their licenses suspended, canceled, revoked, or refused.