Legalese — Electronic Driver’s Licenses

drivers license

Georgia House Bill 463, passed this year and effective June 30, 2020, allows you to ask the Department of Drivers Services to issue you a copy of your Driver’s License in Electronic Form.  Everything else is on your phone, why not your driver’s license?  How cool and useful is that?

It doesn’t just happen automatically.  You have to specifically ask DDS for an electronic license.  It isn’t an either/or thing – you would get your electronic license in addition to the physical license, it’s just something you would have to elect to do. 

Of course, there may be a number of reasons why you wouldn’t want to just hand your phone over to a police officer who is pulling you over on a traffic stop.  There may be incriminating evidence on the phone, or there may be just plain embarrassing but not illegal stuff on the phone.  Who among us hasn’t gotten a text message with a no-no word in it from someone at an inopportune time?

The lawmakers actually thought of these things when crafting the law.  An officer cannot demand that you show the officer the electronic version of your license.  That’s your choice.  Also, showing the officer your phone, or even handing the officer your phone in order to show your license to the officer does not give the officer permission to look at anything on your phone other than your license. 

The law says you have to ‘elect’ to get an electronic license.  What exactly that means I’m not sure, and it also isn’t clear if that is a current option, despite the law having gone into effect.  I looked on the DDS2GO app, which is a seriously handy-dandy app to have on your phone, and I couldn’t see any options for it.  I couldn’t find anything on the DDS website either.  Sometimes the law gives permission for a state agency to do something, but then it takes a little while after the law goes into effect for the state agency to come up with the means to pull it off. 

Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. It is being offered for informational purposes only.

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