What does it mean to “drive without a license” in Maryland?
Driving without a license can refer to three scenarios.
You’re stopped for an offense and:
- You have
a license but it’s not in your possession. In other words, you were
licensed to drive but lacked proof, an infraction that may be dismissed once
you can prove that you possessed a valid license at the time of the incident. (Note:
you may have to pay a fine.)
- You never
applied for a license (or your license expired). Maryland Code § 16-101 states that an individual may
not drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on any highway in Maryland the
individual holds a valid driver's license. The penalty is a fine of not more
license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. According
to Maryland Code §16-303, violators may subject to fine of not more than
$1,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
Who doesn’t have to have a valid Maryland driver’s license?
Maryland exempts the following persons from having to
possess a valid Maryland license:
- An officer or employee of the United States
while driving on official business a motor vehicle other than a commercial
motor vehicle owned or operated by the United States;
- Except for members elected from this State, a
member of the United States Congress who resides in this State during his term
of office in the Congress;
- An individual while driving any road machine,
farm tractor, or farm equipment temporarily driven on a highway in this State,
or dock equipment at Dundalk or Locust Point marine terminals which does not
require registration under the provisions of this article;
- An individual who, while driving a mobile crane
on a highway to or from a construction site in this State, has with him a valid
Class A, B, or C license issued to him,
- A nonresident student enrolled in an accredited
school, college, or university of this State or of a bordering state or serving
a medical internship in this State, if: The state of which the student is a
resident extends the same privileges to the residents of this State; the
student has with him a license to drive issued to him by the state of which he
is a resident; and the license authorizes the student to drive in the state of
which he is a resident vehicles of the class he is driving in this State;
- A new resident of this State during the first 60
days of residency, if the individual has a valid license issued by the state of
which the individual formerly was a resident
- A member of the armed forces of the United
States or of the United States Public Health Service who is serving on active
duty and any dependent of the member, if The driver has with him a license to
drive issued to him by his state of domicile
- A nonresident of this State if he has with him a
license to drive issued to him by the state of his residence
- A nonresident of the United States if the
individual has a valid license to drive issued to the individual by the country
- A member of the Maryland National Guard or a
National Guard military technician if the driver is driving a military vehicle
in the performance of duty.
How do you fight the charge?
Fighting a “driving without a license charge” can be
difficult. Once the district attorney or prosecutor alleges that you drove
without a valid license, the burden of proof is on you to prove that you did possess a valid driver’s license at
the time of your offense. If you don’t evidence of a license, you lose!
Depending on your circumstances, you may benefit from the advice or negotiating
skills of an attorney.
Can an undocumented immigrant obtain a driver’s license in Maryland?
Maryland law allows drivers without social
security numbers to obtain a driver's license if they have filed a Maryland tax
return or were claimed as a dependent of someone who filed a Maryland tax
return for the prior two years.