Will a police officer accept a picture as proof of a valid driver's license?

Will a police officer accept a picture on my phone or a photocopy of my license as proof that I have a valid driver’s license? I always seem to be forgetting my wallet or losing it somewhere. My license is active, I just don't want to be hassled if I get stopped one day.

Shannon Martin · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
A police officer may be able to use a picture of your
driver’s license
as a way to run the license number and check its validity—but it’s not a common occurrence. 
Legally speaking, drivers are required to carry a physical copy of their active driver’s license any time they are driving a vehicle. So there’s no guarantee an officer will accept photographic proof in place of the real thing. 
The concept of an mDL (mobile driver’s license) is still in its infancy, but there are some states that are working on getting this initiative up and going, including the following:
  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah
You’ll need to check the rules in your state to find out where mobile driver’s licenses are accepted—some of these initiatives are intended to streamline TSA checkpoints at the airport rather than traffic stops.
In the meantime, if you do seem to forget your license a lot, keeping a copy on your phone is better than nothing. Depending on the situation, the officer may use the number to verify that the license is active and you will be on your way—although you may still be ticketed for not having the license on hand. 
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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