Maryland drivers with a driver’s license like the one pictured above must file identification and residency documents with the MVA to be compliant with the federal REAL ID law.

A state delegate is pledging to introduce “emergency legislation” to protect Marylanders whose drivers’ licenses could be seized by police as the state moves to implement federal REAL ID laws.

About 8,400 out of the approximately 80,000 customers who were notified that they need to update their licenses to comply with the federal REAL ID laws have not yet responded, and the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration has asked local police departments to confiscate flagged licenses from motorists they stop. The seizure is supposed to motivate the driver to go get the new ID.

But Del. Eric Ebersole, a Democrat who represents parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, says he’s concerned police seizure of driver licenses will create problems because it’s illegal for motorists to drive without possessing a license.

In an August 8 letter to Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator Christine Nizer, Ebersole said he’s working on emergency legislation to require police, after seizing a driver’s license, to leave the motorist with a legal document that can function as a temporary license permitting the motorist to drive to get new REAL ID-compliant license.

“I’m concerned,” Ebersole said. “We have a problem with law enforcement taking a license from a driver on the spot. We have laws that say you have to carry your license with you.”

Ebersole noted that the soonest his legislation can take effect is next year. So, he asked Nizer to make a policy change to address the problem before then.

Adrienne Diaczok, a spokesperson for the MVA, said state officials are reviewing Ebersole’s letter.

“We continue to work closely with law enforcement as well as our customers to ensure they are able to comply with the requirements of federal REAL ID Act,” she said. “We’ve made great strides getting customers into our offices to get their documents on file and have incorporated extended office hours, appointments, courtesy phone calls and reminders for appointments into our outreach plans.”

A REAL ID is driver’s license or identification card that meets heightened federal documentation requirements. Passed in 2005 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the REAL ID law created nationwide security standards for states to use in issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards for use at airports and federal buildings.

The Department of Homeland Security has set an Oct. 1, 2020, deadline for REAL ID compliance. But Maryland officials staggered the deadline for drivers to comply.

The MVA website has a lookup tool to check on a driver’s deadline for complying.

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.

(10) comments


Maryland licenses have been real-ID compliant since 2011, so how can anybody's license be non-compliant in 2019?


”approximately 80,000 customers who were notified that they need to update their licenses to comply with the federal REAL ID law”......again, the "final rule" of the RealID Act, makes no "blanket" demand. It is applicable ONLY in instances of someone who will be flying or entering into US Government secured areas. Now if every single one of those 80k customers do either one of those 2 things, then yes, they NEED a Real ID. Otherwise, NO they do NOT. And should NOT be FORCED by our over-reaching (it's authority), over-bearing, and over-burdened (as is evidenced in this fiasco) MVA to get one.


The sad part is, while the State of MD must be Real ID compliant, there is NO actual requirement (other than the MD MVA forcing everyone to) for a citizen or a driver to HAVE a Real ID license, UNLESS that person is going to be flying on a domestic passenger flight or entering into a secure US Government facility. The MVA and State if MD should be sued (class action, with compensory damages awarded to any and all joining in the suit) for not making the provision, as the Real ID "final rule" allows for, and as other states do, for issing non Real ID licenses to those who are in no need of one. Like myself. The other thing MD MVA is doing, while not required by the law, (and is specifically addressed in it) is scanning and keeping on file in their database, an electronic image of one's birth certificate. They should be sued for that as well.


Maryland is one of the only (if not the only state) that has interpreted the "Real ID Act" to mean that ALL licenses must be REAL ID compliant... If you read the Real ID Act, you can see that it DOES allow for licenses to be issued for driving purposes only... those licenses are to clearly state this in some manner. And the electronic scanning of all documents disturbs me... Once scanned, here you will have a total record of one's personal identification - sounds like a certain potential for ID theft from hackers...


If the purpose of this "real ID" is to impact use of my driver's license to clear TSA and fly on an airplane, it should not be used to punish me if all I am doing is driving my car. According to TSA I can use my passport as ID at airports. I don't trust MD to protect my information, they've already been hacked for identity theft.




I am 99% certain I showed up with all those documents when I renewed a year or so ago, but the web tool is telling me my license needs updating. What happened? Did Maryland forget to make copies of the documents or something?


To be clear, this was caused by an inept appointee of Gov Hogan. MVA started issuing real ID licenses prematurely without collecting required information. Now they are in catch up mode because the Hogan Administration must correct the situation prior to the Oct 2020 deadline. Obviously most of the 80,000 folks that were notify have acted appropriately, I suspect the 8K, who have not responded, are either slackers, simply moved with out notifying MVA as required and did not receive the notification or undocumented aliens who received incorrectly a REALID in error and certainly does not want to forfeit the REALID in their possession currently. Having a Maryland drivers license or Maryland ID issued card means something. They state must be able to vouch for the accuracy of a License/ID card issued by Maryland and document the residency of the cardholder. Again it is understandable that any person who must suffer the inconvenience of a 2nd trip to MVA, but in the long run it will be worth it.


This is a non-issue and a prime example of an insignificant local politician trying to prove his importance. If police stop someone who is in possession of a recalled "real ID" it is simply seized returned to the MVA and a temp drivers license is issued by the officer on the spot (15 days) which allows the licensee time to go to MVA to get a REAL ID license with supported/necessary documents. Much the same way as is done when someone refuses to submit to a breath test when arrested for DWI/DUI.



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