My state does not issue duplicate licenses.

I am in need of a duplicate license for traveling and misplacing issues.

Would it be illegal to make a duplicate license with 100% accurate information?

  • Do you think any authority who requests to see your license - a police officer, customs, a regulatory agency - is going to accept the copy you made? – BlueDogRanch Jul 10 '18 at 19:01
  • @BlueDogRanch Does that change the legality of it? I mean I have been told it will look identical so yes. – William Jul 10 '18 at 19:04
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    If the license is not made by the original issuing authority, it's illegal. And what do you mean by I have been told it will look identical? Someone is making this copy for you? That means the copy is a counterfeit. Illegal. – BlueDogRanch Jul 10 '18 at 19:07
  • @BlueDogRanch if my intent isn't to deceive authorities why would they care? It is identical information. I have no intention to deceive or defraud which is how most counterfeit goods work. – William Jul 10 '18 at 19:18
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    @BlueDogRanch a copy not made by the issuing authority isn't necessarily illegal unless one tries to pass it off as an original. If you tell an officer "I don't have my original license, but I have this copy that I made to record the data on the original document" that would not be illegal. Whether that copy would have any relevance to a charge of driving without a license would depend on the jurisdiction; some don't actually require the driver to have the license in the vehicle. – phoog Jul 10 '18 at 20:12

It is not illegal to copy a driver's license (assuming that is what you mean by "license"), and this is done reasonably frequently, when A needs proof of identity from B and needs to retain that proof for some bureaucratic reason. In certain contexts (probably most contexts), a copied license would be useless: for example, TSA will not accept one. However, I renewed by (state university) library card with an emailed scan of my driver's license, per their requirement. Police have some discretion to overlook the fact that you don't have a proper license with you, when pulled over, if you provide a copy which they verify, but that is discretionary and they could ticket you for driving without a license.

If you mention the state that doesn't issue duplicates, you might get a useful bit of information.

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  • "In certain contexts (probably most contexts), a copied license would be useless:" That's my point. – BlueDogRanch Jul 10 '18 at 19:48
  • "they could ticket you for driving without a license": in some jurisdictions, one can get such a ticket dismissed by producing the license sometime later. – phoog Jul 10 '18 at 20:13
  • A key point, however, is that it would probably be a crime to pass off the copy of the license as the original, even if there was no false information about you on it (among other things, it would have a seal that purported to be real but was not). Intent to allow someone else to pass as you might also be inferred by a jury if you were prosecuted for attempted identity crimes or attempted fraud. – ohwilleke Jul 10 '18 at 23:24

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