Driving Without a Valid (or on a Suspended) License in Maryland

Read about the penalties for driving without a valid license in Maryland.

Maryland prohibits driving without a license or driving while on a suspended license. This article explains what constitutes these violations, the possible penalties, and the exemptions to the rule.

Driving Without a License

Generally, every person who operates a motor vehicle on a Maryland highway must possess and be able to display a valid driver’s license.

Display license. A driver who has been issued a license but fails or refuses to display a valid license to a requesting uniformed police officer can be convicted of a traffic infraction and fined $50.

Driving without a valid license. Unlicensed driving can result in a fine of up to $500 and a maximum 60 days in jail. A second offense carries up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $500. Unlicensed driving will add five points to the offender’s driving record, which may prevent license application.

Exceptions. Non-resident drivers with valid driver’s licenses from their home state or country can drive in the state without a Maryland license, subject to Maryland age restrictions. United States officers, members of the U.S. Congress, and military personnel are also exempt when acting on official business. Additionally, operators of farm tractors and road machines can operate a vehicle without a license under certain circumstances.

Mopeds. Maryland permits those who don’t have a valid driver’s license to operate a moped or motor scooter but only if the operator has a valid moped operator’s permit.

Driving While Suspended or Revoked

A person who operates a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license will be subject to jail time, fines, and driver’s license points.

Driving while suspended. Driving while suspended or revoked is generally punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of two years in jail. Driving while suspended adds 12 points to the driver’s record.

DUI-related. The court is also permitted to impound the driver’s vehicle for up to 180 days if the suspension was related to an alcohol-related incident such as a DUI.

Lesser suspensions. Drivers who were suspended due to failure to pay child support or traffic fines will be subject to a maximum $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. A second offense can hold up to one year in jail but still a maximum $500 fine.

Possession of suspended license. Generally, a driver’s license is seized when it becomes suspended or revoked. However, any driver who attempts to display a license that has been suspended or revoked will be subject to criminal penalties. A first offense can result in up to two months in jail and a fine of up to $500. A second offense carries up to three years in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.

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