I Am Not Legal

By Mike Swetnam

Everyone should walk in the shoes of the other side. What other side? I don’t know, but it sounds really profound so I guess we should look for the opportunity.

Today, I had the great privilege and opportunity to walk on the illegal side! I was found to be “not legal” for the purposes of receiving a driver’s license in the Commonwealth of Virginia!

I started the day with the idea I would get a Virginia driver’s license (DL) to replace the expiring Maryland one I have. I moved here 17 months ago, but neglected to get a Virginia DL because my Maryland DL was good until this year. Aren’t DLs from any state good and recognized in all states? I assumed the process for turning in the Maryland DL for a Virginia one would be trivial.

Not so.

I walked into the Virginia DMV with my Maryland DL, my Retired Military ID, and the Official Virginia registration of my car.

I waited, of course, for thirty-five minutes to see the information desk person who would direct me to the right station for further processing. She assessed my IDs and proof of residency only to pronounce that they were not appropriate.

I argued (I do that a lot) that the Maryland DL was still current and a valid ID in 50 states, the DoD ID was current and valid in all 50 states and most of the world, and the proof of residency was issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. She responded that DLs from other states are not recognized as IDs for Virginia DL purposes and the military ID was not green (active duty) so not recognized by Virginia either.

My only conclusion from this conversation was that the Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize Maryland DLs. That is a violation of federal law! Also, that the Great Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize the validity of a USA/DoD issued Retired Military ID. That should cause about 10% of Virginia’s population, which are retired military, to move!

She also told me that my official Commonwealth of Virginia car registration, that listed my Virginia residence was not recognized as proof of residence. They would rather I provide a monthly utility bill!

Really?

When did proof of residency, citizenship, etc. become utility bills instead of Military IDs, or official state issued documents?

I was therefore deemed not legally entitled to a Virginia DL.

Sigh.

Color me, “considering a move back to Maryland”, and legality.

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