A new Louisiana program now turns your cell phone into an instant driver’s license. A traffic stop is a bummer, but when the officer asks for your license and you don’t have it…
A bad day just got worse. Louisiana law requires you to have your driver’s license with you when driving. If you don’t manage to instantly rustle up your copy of the license, that means a $200 ticket or more.
You can expect to appear in court to explain why you were driving without a license. That can mean a missed day of work, sitting around court.
But hold the phone…literally! In 2018 Louisiana became the first U.S. state to allow you to present a digital license, when stopped by the police. For your Android or IOS device, simply download LA Wallet, pay one fee of $5.99 (good until the license expires), create your password protected account, and your driver’s license is instantly available on your phone or any phone that has the LA WALLET app installed on it. I suppose you could even do it while the officer makes you sit in your car and runs your license plate. It took me three minutes to download the app, set up my account, make the payment and get my license registered with my phone.
It is simple to use. Ask Siri (on IOS) and it comes up. Touch controls initiate the LA WALLET on your phone. If you are using someone else’s phone, download the app, pop in your name and password, and it appears. Your account is universally protected by your password. The officer will be able to see both the front and back of your license.
You may be wondering if giving your phone to an officer gives him or her permission to search the whole phone. Louisiana law expressly forbids the arresting officer from searching your phone, and even stipulates that they not touch it. Louisiana State Police knew there might be lawsuits, so they headed that problem off at the pass by requesting that state law include language that prevents any associated search of a phone when showing a driver’s license. It remains to be seen whether out-of-state police will honor the “no-touch” rule, but laws between states in matters such as this probably will follow Louisiana’s lead.
This ID is completely legal for all official driving needs in Louisiana. Approval for other uses including TSA and liquor purchases is pending.
In this instance, Louisiana is leading the nation in this technology, developed in Baton Rouge. Rep. Ted James saw the legislation through the Louisiana legislature and is to be commended for his forward-thinking position.
The Gouner Law firm can help you with traffic ticket problems, and is well experienced in handling traffic courts all over south Louisiana. We can help you fight for your rights after being stopped.
With that said…we also recommend you start protecting your rights by having an LA WALLET digital license account. Just remember to keep your phone charged!
Written by Ted Baldwin