Manufacturing Fake ID's

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Manufacturing Fake ID's

Manufacturing false government documents (such as driver's licenses) is a serious crime, and depending on the intent of the manufacturer, can come with stiff penalties.

What Are the Penalties for Manufacturing ID's?

The penalties for this crime are set by statutes. The penalties could be more severe for someone who produces hundreds of false identification cards each day, than for someone who made only one for personal use.

Additionally, because the laws vary depending on what the ID's intended use is, the penalty range can be quite wide. For instance, manufacturing any ID for the purpose of concealing someone's citizenship status is a very serious crime. In many states, person who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship of another person is guilty of a felony, and can be sent to state prison for 5 years with a $75,000 fine.

Manufacturing an ID for the purposes of buying alcohol, on the other hand, may carry only a 6 month to 1 year sentence in jail, and a $1,000 fine. But if that same ID is used to purchase a firearm, and the manufacturer knows the identification is fake, the crime can jump from a misdemeanor to a felony, with sentences ranging from 1 to 7 years.

The punishment will vary from state to state. Some states, like Virginia, only treat manufacturing fake IDs as a class 1 misdemeanor, capping the sentence at 1 year in prison. Others, like Texas, have cracked down after September 11th, and prosecute manufacturers with a second degree felony punishable by 20 years in prison.

What If I Am Making Them for "Novelty Purposes?"

Merely printing for "novelty purposes only" does not automatically remove liability for these crimes. If an ID is meant to resemble any sort of actual government document, it is considered forgery. Exactly where the line is drawn is a matter of judicial discretion. Consider that often times people print out $1,000,000 bills on their computer, which any reasonable person would likely realize is false currency, and yet still find themselves arrested for counterfeiting even if they only tried to use it jokingly.

Are There Any Other Consequences of Manufacturing Fake IDs?

First of all, any equipment you use to make the IDs can be confiscated by the government. This means your computer, printer, software, anything you used in connection with the manufacturing can be seized. Additionally, if you transmitted the ID over the Internet, or downloaded illegal ID templates, you can be charged with telecommunications fraud, which can carry a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 to $2,000 fine, in addition to any other forging or tampering charges.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you have been arrested for manufacturing ID's, it is very important you talk to a criminal attorney as soon as possible. Perception plays a very important role in this sort of crime based on what your intent was and what the ID's were designed for. Having a lawyer who knows the law and can explain the differences between the various laws you might be charged with will be essential.

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Last Modified: 04-08-2014 03:10 PM PDT

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