How to Recognize a Valid Maryland Driver's License

By Meaghan Ellis ; Updated June 05, 2017
Driver's license plastic card template

A driver's license is one of the most important forms of identification for any United States citizen. But, since each state has a different issuance process and criteria, how one would recognize a valid license may vary from state to state. Just as any other state, Maryland has its own criteria and physical specifications in determining the validity of a driver's license. While fake IDs are relatively difficult to distinguish, a valid Maryland driver's license will have certain distinctions to verify authenticity. You can recongnize a valid Maryland license by simply examining the physical license itself, but you need to know exactly what to look for.

Notice the transcriptions in the upper-left corner of the license. There will be two. One should read “DL” for driver's license, and the other will have a class letter, which serves as an identifier for the license type.

Look for the Maryland state name in the upper-right corner.

Pay attention to the license number directly below the license class identification. The number should say “LIC #:” with a code letter, followed by a 12-digit number. The 12-digit number is an encode of the name and birthday on the driver's license.

Read the name on the license. The name should match the signature directly above the licensee's picture on the lower-left side of the license. There will also be a number along the left side of the licensee's picture.

Notice the number of time the licensee's picture is displayed on the license. The picture should be visible twice: once on the left side and again on the right. The image on the left should be relatively bright in color and large in size, while the image on the right will be much smaller with the resemblance of a watermark. It will also have the licensee's birthday below it.

Check out the address below the licensee's name. Below the licensee's name, there should be a valid address, along with a Maryland city and zip code. The licensee's signature should appear again directly below this information.

Read the birthday and personal information. The birthday on the license should coincide with state driver's license issuance laws. If the information does not meet the state requirements of age 16 or older, the license may not be valid.

Examine the expiration date on the license. Next to the word “EXPIRES” there will be a date in numeric form. (Example 01-01-2000.) If the current date is past the expiration date on the license, the license is no longer valid.

Skim through the licensee's personal information. The licensee's sex, height, weight, driving restrictions, type and issuance date should all be available.

Look closely at the watermark images in the background on the license. There will be a silhouette of the Maryland state shield in the middle of the license and an image of a Maryland blue crab in the upper-right corner of the license. The state shield should look like a hologram, and should change colors and glimmer when re-positioned in light due to its photo-sensitive surface.

About the Author

Meaghan Ellis has been writing short stories, newspaper articles, Web content and product research reports for over 12 years. While double majoring in business management and marketing at Southern University, she runs a home-based graphic design and Web content business.