For any number of reasons, drivers can be cited for driving without a valid license. However, undocumented immigrants are at particular risk of suffering serious consequences for these charges. Fortunately, however, the Maryland legislature recently passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, wouldn’t require proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license
In order to complete everyday tasks, such as driving to the grocery store or dropping kids off at school, many undocumented immigrants risk facing traffic violation charges for driving without a valid license. Many people fear that applying for a driver’s license would risk their ability to stay in Maryland with their loved ones.
Of course, anyone who potentially faces penalties for driving without a license shouldn’t take the charges lightly. Traffic violations can affect insurance rates and a person’s continued ability to drive legally. However, for undocumented immigrants, a simple traffic violation could initiate deportation proceedings, which obviously can uproot their entire lives. Permitting these individuals to drive legally could minimize this risk.
The issue was hotly debated in the state legislature. Proponents of the bill argued that it’s right thing to do. Many immigrants, regardless of their status, simply view Maryland as their home.
While the public awaits the verdict on this bill, it is important to assess all available legal options when facing charges for driving without a license. Even though a case may seem like it’s open and shut, accused individuals have rights and can ensure that the legal proceedings are fair and impartial at every step.
Source: Baltimore Post-Examiner, “Legislature extends Md. driver’s licenses for immigrants here illegally,” April 7, 2013
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