Maryland Lawmaker Warns Real ID Requirements May Lead to License Confiscation

Were you issued a Real ID by the state of Maryland? It turns out that some Real IDs may not be compliant with federal requirements due to a miscommunication between state and federal officials. If your license is confiscated by police at a traffic stop, here’s what you should know.

What is a Real ID?

Real ID is the federal security standard for identification cards. The federal government has established requirements for Real ID driver’s licenses or identification cards for all 50 states. These will be required to board commercial aircraft and get into federal offices. Without a compliant ID, your ID may not be accepted as valid identification.

When Do I Need a Real ID in Maryland?

All Maryland residents must have compliant identification by October 1, 2020. As of that date, non-compliant identification cards and licenses will not be accepted by federal authorities. You can identify a Real ID by the star in the upper right corner of the card. Without this, you will not be able to board a commercial flight, enter a federal building, or step onto a military base unless you have a valid passport or military ID.

Why Do I Need a Real ID?

The federal government began using Real ID as a way to establish minimum security standards for state-issued identification and driver’s licenses after September 11, 2001. Eventually, if you don’t have a Real ID license, you will not be able to fly cross-country or do other basic things with your ID. Marylanders can make an appointment on the MDOT MVA site to get a compliant identification or driver’s license.

Maryland Police Officers Ordered to Confiscate Non-compliant Real IDs

Some Real IDs the State of Maryland marked as compliant do not meet federal regulations. The MVA is sending notices to thousands of drivers to alert them that their licenses might not be compliant and giving instructions on what documents they need to give the MVA to get a new license.

To get non compliant IDs off the streets, the Maryland MVA has instructed police officers to confiscate them when they find them at traffic stops. This presents a problem for drivers, who are legally required to have driver’s licenses on them when they operate their cars. One Maryland lawmaker has proposed legislation to prevent the confiscation of non-compliant driver’s licenses by police.

Eric Ebersole, a Delegate of District 12, is concerned that Maryland drivers will risk being cited for not having licenses, and hopes to establish ways of allowing police officers to crack down on non-compliant IDs while ensuring drivers can continue to drive legally.

“If a law enforcement officer pulls somebody over, and they have a flagged license, they [the MVA] would like the officer to confiscate it. This is where the real problem is right now. The law says you have to carry a license. Somebody in that situation would have to consider whether they could drive away from the traffic stop or not.”

Per Mr. Ebersole’s legislation, an officer conducting a traffic stop would still be allowed to confiscate non compliant driver’s licenses, but would also provide drivers with a document they would keep that allows them to drive while they work on meeting the Real ID requirements.

Even if your ID or driver’s license has the new design, you might need to provide the MVA with additional documentation to be compliant. To get a Real ID you will need:

● One proof of identity and legal presence (like a U.S. Passport)
● Two proofs of state residency
● A social security card
● Current driver’s license
● Documents showing proof of name change if proof documents have different names

Baltimore Driver’s License Attorney Fights for You

Driver’s license issues can cause many problems and headaches, and unexpected expenses. If you find yourself facing driver’s license issues in or near Baltimore, talk to attorney Hillel Traub.

Whether you’ve violated a traffic law or suspect that your license may be suspended in Maryland, Hillel Traub can help you settle your license issues. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, he has the insider knowledge you need to succeed. Call (410) 580-1100 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.