Baltimore, MD asked in Constitutional Law and Gov & Administrative Law for Maryland

Q: In Maryland is comor the law or does the Constitution matter more for entering public buildings without having to show

ID. I'm referring to a public building in a public lobby simply to do business.

2 Lawyer Answers
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: I assume you are referring to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). When the State Legislature enacts legislation establishing various government agencies to perform governmental functions, they grant the power of the agency to enact regulations to carry out the statutory mandate and powers contained in the statute. Those regulations are published in COMAR. They have the power of law. They might by challenged as beyond the department's or agency's statutory authority to regulate the subject matter described in the regulation, but until and unless a court of law stikes down the regulation, it may be enforced, and anyone caught violating it may be subject to whatever sanctions the law provides for its violation. The Maryland Constitution empowers the State Legislature to enact statutes and laws, and to create and fund governmental agencies. COMAR itself is the official repository for all regulations adopted in accordance with the Maryland Administrative Procedure Act, Title 10, Subtitle 1. By definition and extension then, regulations are both constitutionally allowed and enforceable as the law through the acts of the General Assembly of Maryland. If you want to challenge a regulation, then you do not do so by violating it and fighting or arguing with those state employees enforcing it, but by filing a lawsuit against the agency that adopted the regulation as either beyond their statutory authority to regulate the matter or as otherwie violative of an express constitutional right. I am unaware of any general constitutional right to be free from having to show ID to be allowed into a particular government building, but you are free to argue that to a judge and see where it goes.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Maryland, state law requires that an individual provide identification upon request from a law enforcement officer if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. However, for entering a public building to conduct business, the Maryland Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to due process of law.

In general, when entering a public building to conduct business, it is not typically required to show identification unless it is necessary for the specific transaction or if there are legitimate security concerns. However, individual government agencies or private entities may have their own policies regarding identification and access to their facilities.

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