How to Recognize a Valid Maryland Driver's License

Most people don't have to worry about how to distinguish between a real and fake driver's license, but this is a challenging part of the workday for others like servers and some store owners. If you live in Maryland, many of the people you encounter will have either a driver's license or state-issued identification card. Fake IDs have become so sophisticated in recent years that it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the official card and one that someone may have purchased online. Fortunately, you can separate out the bad apples and figure out what is a Maryland fake ID vs. a real one by looking for a few tell-tale signs.

What Does a Maryland Driver's License Look Like?

The Maryland Department of Transportation issues a driver's license on a polycarbonate card body, which makes it more resistant to tampering as well as more durable. In the top left corner of the license is an image of the Maryland state flag followed by the words "Maryland Driver's License." Just to the right of those words there is a circle with "DL" inside for driver's license, and an identifier for the license class or type. Underneath this information is the license holder's unique Maryland driver's license number, which should be exactly 12 digits and include only numbers. The number on the left-hand side of the card next to the large photo is unique and in laser-raised text, which is one way that you can weed out a fake Maryland card. This number is different than the Maryland driver's license number.

Valid Maryland Driver's License Data

You may be able to tell a Maryland real ID from a fake one based on whether personal details match or are left off of the card altogether. For example, a Maryland driver's license has two identical images of the cardholder, a large image on the left side of the card and a smaller image in the top right corner that is faded out with the date of birth printed across the middle. When you read the name of the license holder, it should exactly match the signature directly underneath the larger of the two photos. Other pertinent data on the front of the card includes the cardholder's address, date of birth, sex, height, weight, driving restrictions, date of issue and expiration date. There is also space for organ donor designation and to identify whether or not the cardholder is a veteran.

To verify the validity of a Maryland driver's license, first make sure that all of the required information is present on the card. Next, confirm that the license hasn't passed its expiration date. Finally, look for those images that are supposed to be present on each Maryland driver's license, including the state's new hologram.

Look for the Maryland Driver's License Hologram

Many U.S. states are using a variety of features to make their IDs more secure, and Maryland now has one of the most secure driver's license cards in the nation thanks to its combination of a unique barcode, tactile text and changeable laser image, or hologram. A Maryland driver's license also has several distinctive watermarks. There is a silhouette of the Maryland state shield on the front of the license, in the card's center, and an image of a Maryland blue crab in the upper right corner. There is also an image of the state house on the back. This is a hologram, which changes color when exposed to light, making license forgery more difficult.

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