According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s website (MVA), the new law allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license when they have an identity document such as a valid current foreign passport, Maryland Income taxes for the preceding two years and two residency documents.
Please see my earlier blog entry about this new law, https://www.scholnicklaw.com/2014/01/important-information-about-the-new-process-to-obtain-a-drivers-license-for-immigrants/.
Recently, I defended a client who was charged for fraudulently trying to obtain a driver’s license. My client spends time in New Jersey and Maryland and was interrogated by a detective at the MVA because the MVA thought that he did not live in Maryland.
Based on the experience with my client’s case, I recommend you to take the following considerations when you apply for a driver’s license with this law:
Make sure you choose an MVA office in your County. Going to an MVA branch office outside of your County could be a red flag. I understand that a lot of people would like to schedule their appointment as soon as possible and that is the reason they decide to go to an MVA branch office that is not located in their County. The MVA might consider this conduct suspicious if the branch office is far from your home address.
It is better to schedule an appointment at the closest address in your County even if you have to wait a couple of days to get the appointment.
Bring extra proof of residency. You need two residency documents to prove that you live in Maryland. I recommend bringing more than two documents especially if you spend time in another State. You can bring a bank statement listing purchases and transactions in Maryland, your lease agreement or sales receipts from Maryland.
In the case referenced above, my client was asked to show his wallet to the detective. He had a business card from a hair salon in New Jersey where he went to cut his hair. The detective assumed that my client did not live in Maryland and that he really resided in New Jersey. Therefore, my client was charged with trying to fraudulently obtain a driver’s license. This is a serious offense, especially for immigration purposes.
However, I was able to force the State’s Attorney to drop the charges!! How? I was able to prove that he is a resident of Maryland with the help of the bank statements and the ATM receipts listing purchases and bank withdrawals in Maryland. Because I have volunteered for CASA to help applicants for Dream Act approval, I knew that these documents are used to establish residency.
In cases like this one, it is very important to provide evidence. Please call my office if you have any questions; I will be happy to assist you.