Driving Without a License in Maryland

Man Pulled Over for Driving Without a License in MarylandMan Pulled Over for Driving Without a License in Maryland

Many individuals are unaware that driving a motor vehicle without a license in Maryland is an arrestable traffic offense. This accusation is also significantly more severe than simply failing to provide your driver's license. In other words, driving without a valid driver's license is a far more serious infraction than leaving your license at home.

The consequences and punishment for this offense can be serious. For this reason, be sure to read this text to the end. In it, you will find all the possible penalties for those who drive a vehicle without a legal Maryland driver's license.

What Constitutes Driving Without a License in Maryland?

Driving without a license is against Maryland's vehicle law statute 16-101. This law prohibits anybody from even attempting to operate a motor vehicle unless they obtain a valid Maryland driver's license. Even in cases where an individual doesn't have a criminal record, it is still a jailable offense.

If someone does not have a physical license but possesses a valid driver's license issued by the state of Maryland, the charges are different and often less severe.

Penalty for Driving Without a License in Maryland

Below are the potential penalties that people who drive without a license can face.

Driving Without a License on Your Person

A person who has been awarded a license but refuses or fails to show it to a uniformed police officer who requests it can be guilty of a traffic offense and fined $50.

Driving Without a Valid License - First Offense

A first offense could result in the following criminal penalties:

  • $500 fines;
  • The person who commits the first offense will have 5 points added to their driver's license;
  • Maximum penalty of 60 days in jail.

Penalties for the Second Offense

A second offense could result in:

  • An additional $500 in fines;
  • 1 year in jail.

If drivers are guilty of additional crimes or face a third offense, their penalties and costs will escalate.

Penalty for Driving a Motorcycle Without a License in Maryland

Operating a motorcycle without a legal Class M license could result in a fine, suspension of your driver's license or driving privileges, the addition of points to your driving record, and the towing of your motorcycle.

Teenager Driving Without a License in Maryland

By law in Maryland, every person driving on the road, including teenagers, must have a driver's license. Otherwise, they will have to face penalties.

Exceptions to Maryland's Licensing Laws

Non-resident drivers having legal driver's licenses from their native state or country, subject to Maryland age requirements, can operate vehicles in the state without a Maryland license.

When acting on official business, U.S. officers, members of the United States Congress, and military members are also excluded.

Furthermore, under specific conditions, operators of agricultural tractors and road machinery may drive a vehicle without a license.

Driving Without a License in Maryland: A Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Driving without a license is a criminal misdemeanor in Maryland, not a felony.

MVA Points for Driving Without A License in MD

Aside from the criminal penalties for driving without a license, there are also significant administrative penalties that can seriously harm a driver's driving record.

Administrative consequences for driving without a license or on a revoked driver's license may include the below MVA points:

  • Licenses refused: 12 MVA points;
  • Licenses canceled: 12 MVA points;
  • License suspended In general, 12 MVA points;
  • Licenses revoked: 12 MVA points;
  • Other states' licenses canceled: 12 MVA points;
  • Suspended License by another state: 12 MVA points;
  • Other states' licenses revoked: 12 MVA points.

Driving While Suspended or on a Revoked License

Driving with a suspended license can result in a $1,000 fine, jail time (up to 1 year), and an individual's license being fully revoked. Driving while a person's license is revoked carries the same jail time and fines, as well as making it even more difficult to get their license reinstated.

Driving During a Non-DUI Suspension

Driving while suspended or revoked is usually punished by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. A second offense is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to two years in prison. Driving while suspended results in a 12-point penalty on the driver's record.

Driving While on a DUI Suspension

If the suspension resulted from an alcohol-related accident, such as a DUI, the court might also impound the driver's car for up to 180 days.

Driving During a Traffic Fine or Child Support Suspension

Drivers who have had their licenses suspended for unpaid child support or traffic tickets face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. A second violation can result in up to a year in prison and a $500 fine.

Driving Without a License in Maryland: The Takeaway

As you could see from our article, driving without a license is punishable, and you can face serious penalties. In order to avoid them, we advise you to always keep in mind that it is necessary to have a legal and valid license in Maryland.


1. What happens if you get caught driving without a license in Maryland?

Driving without a license is punishable by a $500 fine and a maximum penalty of 60 days in prison. If you were guilty of this, you need an experienced lawyer to help you (a Maryland traffic defense lawyer could give you a free initial consultation).

2. Is driving without a license a felony in Maryland?

No, driving without a license is not a felony in MD.

3. Is driving without a license a misdemeanor in Maryland?

Yes, driving without a license is considered a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland.

4. Can you be arrested for driving without a license in Maryland?

Yes, you can.

5. Can you go to jail for driving without a license?

Yes, you can get jail time if you drive without a license in MD.

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