Every state has its own rules for driver’s licenses. Each gets to choose the different types available, the labels for each type and the requirements for obtaining any of them. That said, there are a great number of similarities among the states. The requirements for obtaining an ordinary license in Florida won’t be too different than in California.
You may be wondering, then, if you can have driver’s licenses from different states at the same time.
Have One License at a Time
You can obtain a driver’s license only in the state where you reside, which is the state that you consider your permanent home. For instance, if you rent an apartment or own a home in Minnesota, you will obtain a Minnesota driver’s license. When you move from one state to another, you are supposed to obtain a license in your new state and surrender or get rid of your old one.
Rules for Out-of-State College Students
If you are in college, the matter may be a bit more complicated. As a college student, you spend a better part of your year at your school, which may be in a different state than your parents' home. If your parents' home remains your permanent residence (if you live in a dorm and return home each summer), then you would have a driver’s license for the state where your parents' house is located. Although, if you rent an apartment in your college town, you can be considered a resident of that state and get a license there.
Two Licenses Could Get You a Ticket
A number of states make having more than one driver’s license illegal. For example, California Vehicle Code §12511 states, “no person shall have in his or her possession or otherwise under his or her control more than one driver’s license.” If a police officer finds you have more than one non-expired driver’s license at a time, you can be ticketed. To be clear, this is not a criminal matter. This is an infraction, and you will have to pay a fine.
Two Driver’s Licenses Could Be Evidence of Fraud
The bigger issue with having more than one non-expired driver’s license at a time is that it may be considered fraudulent or evidence of fraud, which would be a crime. You may have two driver’s licenses as a mistake. You moved to Nevada from Texas, got a Nevada license and never got rid of your Texas license. This is not a good scenario, but you clearly had no ill intent.
However, law enforcement officers may view having two driver’s licenses as an attempt to commit crimes. You may be in big trouble if the information on the licenses does not match, or there is evidence you are using both.
If you find yourself in trouble for having two driver’s licenses, contact an experienced traffic or criminal defense lawyer in your area.
You can have one driver’s license from the state where you reside. Having more than one at the same time could lead a police officer to fine you.
Victoria E. Langley is a legal content writer living in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a B.A. in philosophy from Northern Illinois University and a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School of Chicago. She has worked as a clerk for a boutique law firm handling breach of contract litigation, a corporate document reviewer, and a legal counselor for a transactional law clinic. She now focuses on translating legalese into everyday language for firms around the country. Her work has appeared on the U.S. News Law Directory and many law firm's sites. Learn more from her website, langleylegalwriter.com