Maryland''s Graduated Licensing System
A provisional license is the next stage of the Rookie Driver graduated licensing system process. You must have passed the Maryland driver skills test to obtain a provisional license. In the provisional phase, the driver gains experience by driving without supervision but with restrictions. The restrictions include the use of a cell phone, transporting passengers, driving at night or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Minimum age is 16 years and 6 months
- You must successfully complete the requirements for a learner's permit with no convictions or probations before judgment for the required time period
- You must have completed the classroom and behind-the-wheel components of the Maryland driver's education program with an approved provider
- You must have completed all required practice driving under supervision and have a signed certificate, included in the Rookie Driver Practice Guide
- For more details, see the learner's permit page
Driving with your provisional license
All provisional drivers must maintain a clean driving record for 18 months before they are eligible for a full Maryland driver's license. With a provisional license, you may drive without a supervising driver. However, you may be subject to restrictions depending on your age.
- Provisional drivers under the age of 21 may not drive with any measurable alcohol in their systems. Older drivers must comply with Maryland's impaired driving laws.
- Provisional license holders under the age of 18:
- may not drive with passengers under the age of 18, other than immediate family members, for the first 151 days, without a qualified supervising driver.
- may not drive between 12 midnight and 5 AM unless:
- a supervised, licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has 3 years of driving is with them.
- you are driving to or from a job, official school activity, organized volunteer program or are participating in an athletic event or related training session.
- may not use any wireless communication device, including a hands-free device.
- must use a safety belt, every trip, every time. All passengers must use safety belts or child safety seats.
Any conviction or probation before judgment with a provisional license will restart the 18 month time period one must hold the license. The time period is restarted from the date of the conviction or probation before judgment, or the date the license was restored after a suspension or revocation.
In addition to the points and fines that may come from a moving violation, provisional drivers are also subject to additional sanctions:
- for the first offence, the driver must attend the driver improvement program
- for two or more offenses, a suspension will be imposed:
- for drivers under 18:
- 30 days suspension for the 2nd conviction with an employment and education restriction for 90 days after the removal of the suspension
- 180 days suspension for a 3rd conviction and the completion of a young driver improvement program with an employment and education restriction for 180 days after the removal of the suspension
- revocation of the license for a 4th or subsequent conviction. All tests must be retaken for reinstatement
- if you accumulate 5 or more points in a 12 month period, a 6 month suspension will result for the first offense and a 1 year suspension for a 2nd or subsequent accumulation of 5 points.
- any conviction for high risk driving will result in a 6 month suspension for the first offense and 1 year for a 2nd or subsequent high risk offense. High risk driving is speeding, racing, reckless, aggressive or negligent driving.
- for drivers older than 18:
- 30 days suspension for a 2nd conviction
- 180 days suspension for a 3rd or subsequent conviction
Sanctions for violating a license restriction:
- Anyone who violates an alcohol restriction must participate in the ignition interlock program or face a 6 month suspension. A second violation of an alcohol restriction will result in the revocation of your license.
- Any conviction for violating the restriction on using a wireless communication device can result in a 90 day suspension.
- Anyone violating the passenger or night time restrictions on their licenses will be suspended for one year.
Parents Please Note:
- If a new driver under 18 is cited for a moving violation, the MVA will notify the adult who co-signed the application.
- Drivers under 18 may have their licenses canceled if the parent, guardian or co-signer withdraws their consent.
Converting to a Full Driver's License
When you have successfully completed all the requirements of the provisional license, and held the license for the minimum requested time period, the MVA will automatically convert your license to the full privileges of a driver's license An attachment card will be mailed to you, indicating the conversion and should be carried with the provisional license. Once you renew your license, you will be issued a new one and will no longer need the attachment.
Provisional License Requirements for Drivers Holding Licenses from another State or Country:
Special provisions apply for drivers, regardless of age, who have less than 18 months of experience and hold a license from another state or country.
The provisional license must be held for the minimum time periods specified below and remain free of moving violation convictions:
drivers previously licensed less than 6 months must hold a Maryland provisional license for 18 months and be conviction-free.
drivers previously licensed 6 to 12 months must hold a Maryland provisional license for 12 months and be conviction-free.
drivers previously licensed between 12 and 18 months must hold a Maryland provisional license for 6 months and be conviction-free.
If you are convicted of a moving violation, regardless of your age or experience, you will be required to restart an 18-month time period with no additional moving violations. You become eligible to convert to a full driver's license when the 18 months have been completed.
Here is more information on exchanging an out-of-country or an out-of-state driver's license.
A U.S. armed forces military operator's permit or license is not acceptable proof of a driver's license. If you cannot provide proof of ever holding a driver's license, you will need to apply as a new driver and complete all of the required graduated licensing requirements.