A fake ID, or a fake driver’s license, is an identification card manufactured by an unauthorized source to resemble a state issued license. Fake licenses are used for a wide range of illicit purposes that require masking the individual’s identity. The use, possession, and manufacture of fake licenses, for any reason, is illegal and can lead to serious criminal penalties.
There are many reasons that someone would seek to obtain a fake ID, including:
- Purchasing alcohol or tobacco while underage;
- Driving while underage or without passing a driver’s test;
- Entering business establishments that are restricted by age (such as dance clubs or bars);
- Using the ID for illegal or fraudulent immigration purposes;
- Driving even though one’s original license has been suspended or revoked;
- Using the ID to conduct criminal fraud or for fraudulent business practices.
There are a variety of offenses and classes of false identification charges that carry different criminal penalties at the state level. Generally, possession and use of a fake ID is classified as a misdemeanor meaning it carries a prison sentence of less than a year. Some common false ID offenses and penalties include:
- Fraudulent Use of Another’s Valid Driver’s License – It is a misdemeanor in most states to use someone else’s identification for personal use, or to sell a form of identification so that someone else may establish a false identification.
- Fraudulent Use of a Driver’s License, or Department of Motor Vehicles Identification Card to Obtain Alcoholic Beverages – It is a misdemeanor in most states for a minor (under 21) to use a false identification to buy alcoholic beverages.
- Manufacture of a Fake ID for the Purpose of Buying Alcohol – Manufacturing an ID for the purposes of buying alcohol often carries a sentence of 6 month to 1 year sentence in jail, and a $1,000 fine.
- Manufacture of a Fake ID for the Purpose of Concealing Citizenship Status – 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.
- Manufacture of a Fake ID for the Purpose of Purchasing a Firearm – Manufacturing a fake ID for the purpose of purchasing a firearm is often considered a felony and can carry a sentence from 1-7 years in jail.
If you have been accused or arrested for the possession or sale of false identification, the advice of an attorney can be extremely helpful in resolving your legal matter. Because of the complex nature of this area of criminal law, it is important to speak with a criminal lawyer with experience in this area, and that can give you the counsel you need to best deal with your legal matter.