Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor

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 What Is Misrepresentation of Age?

Misrepresentation of age arises when an individual lies or otherwise deceives another individual regarding their age in order to obtain a benefit or rights that would otherwise be denied to them. Minors often commit these types of violations.

Because of that, the charge often reads misrepresentation of age by a minor. Misrepresentation of age, however, may occur in many different types of settings and may be committed by many different types of individuals or groups of individuals.

What Are Some Examples of Misrepresentation of Age?

There are numerous types of violations that involve misrepresentation of age, for example:

  • Fraudulent intent on an individual’s immigration application, especially when an individual falsies their age for marriage visa purposes;
  • Lying on a job application or on a resume;
  • Misrepresentation in a legal contract;
    • Many states do not allow individuals to enter into a contract if they are not of a certain age;
  • Verbal misrepresentations in various settings; and
  • Using fake IDs for purchasing alcohol, entering nightclubs, and other activities requiring an individual to be of a certain age.

There are numerous other situations in which an individual may misrepresent their age, for example, related to:

  • Social security;
  • Retirement;
  • Marriage;
  • Other issues.

What Is Using a Fake ID to Buy Alcohol?

Identification cards that are made by unofficial sources to appear to be genuine state-issued licenses are known as fake IDs or false driver’s licenses. Fake licenses may be used for a variety of illegal activities that may require the user to hide their identity, including misrepresenting their age, typically for the purchase of alcohol.

Using a fake ID is a serious criminal offense and may result in serious criminal consequences, especially when used to falsify an individual’s age or identity.

What Is the Punishment for Using a Fake ID?

The punishments for using a fake ID may depend on the way the ID was used, for example:

  • Using a fake ID: Using a fake ID may result in prosecution for a variety of offenses. Each state has its own penalty for a fake ID charge because these laws are governed at the state level;
    • Punishments may range from a $500 misdemeanor fine in some jurisdictions to being classified as criminal forgery or impersonation;
      • Both of these crimes carry sentences of up to one and a half years in state prison;
    • In every state, the jail punishment for having a fake ID to buy a handgun is a felony punishable by up to 7 years in jail;
  • Modifying a real ID: An individual may be charged with a different felony, such as tampering with a falsifying official document or public record, if they have also interfered with a real identity card;
    • This is a more serious offense in the majority of jurisdictions that punishes the act of changing a piece of official documentation, such as a driver’s license.

Attempting to purchase alcohol while underage is illegal and is typically punishable by a fine under the lowest category of misdemeanors. In addition to this, all of the crimes discussed above can result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of time that ranges from 90 to 180 days.

It is important to note that these punishments will not apply when the ID is used to falsify citizenship, which is a much more serious offense.

Can the Punishments Increase?

If an individual is repeatedly caught using a fake ID, the court or prosecution may have much leeway in what charges may be brought against them. There are also additional and more severe laws that an individual may be charged with violating if they use another individual’s genuine ID.

If an individual provided another individual with their valid ID to use, they may also be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to jail and criminal fines. There are also laws in certain states that give bars or liquor retailers the right to sue a minor who attempts to use a fraudulent ID for civil damages.

A juvenile court will determine the most appropriate penalty for a minor. Instead of punishing them like adults, the repercussions are intended to rehabilitate and educate them. Because of this, juveniles have more alternatives to prison than adult defendants.

Minors can receive many different punishments, such as instructive lectures or an amount of time spent in a juvenile detention institution, as determined by the juvenile court. The following are also certain potential legal repercussions for a juvenile offense conviction, including:

  • Detention by the juvenile justice system;
  • Compulsory education;
  • Community service;
  • Probation or parole;
  • Hefty fines.

Depending on the individual’s age, their conviction may remain on their permanent record for life. There are certain factors that will determine how likely it would be that the minor would experience any of the punishments discussed above, such as:

  • The nature of the crime;
  • Whether or not a weapon was used during the commission of the crime;
  • The severity of the crime’s harm or damage;
  • How the legal system and local community respond to the alleged crime;
  • Whether the child was a repeat offender;
  • The family’s living situation;
  • Whether the minor has any mental health issues; and
  • Whether the minor was already on probation or parole for a previous criminal offense.

Juvenile defendants have the right to counsel during any legal proceedings and can be appointed representation if they cannot afford it. It is important to note, however, that they cannot participate in jury trials or post bail, unlike adult defendants.

What Are the Penalties for Misrepresentation of Age?

The penalties in other types of cases for misrepresentation of age may result in serious legal penalties, such as:

Penalties for misrepresenting an individual’s age can result in some serious legal penalties. These may include:

  • Misdemeanor charges, especially in cases of misrepresentation of age by a minor;
  • Denial of rights that the person was applying for; or
  • Loss of various other privileges and benefits.

A misdemeanor conviction may result in less than one year of jail time and criminal fines. Because many of these types of cases arise when a minor lies about their age, they may face consequences intended for minors, such as time in juvenile detention or community service programs.

What Crimes Can Juveniles Be Charged as Adults?

Juveniles may be charged as adults when they reach 18 years of age in the majority of states. However, some states may impose different age limits depending on the crime that was committed.

Examples of crimes that may result in juveniles being charged and tried as adult criminal defendants include:

  • Violent crimes or serious felony offenses, such as:
    • first-degree murder;
    • rape;
    • armed robbery;
    • drug trafficking;
    • other offenses;
  • Criminal offenses that are classified as wobbler crimes under a state criminal statute;
  • Criminal offenses that a minor repeatedly commits and for which rehabilitation programs or a juvenile detention center has failed to prevent from recurring.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help With Misrepresentation of Age Charges?

If you have been charged with misrepresentation of age, it may lead to serious legal consequences. If you are facing these charges, it is important to consult with a juvenile lawyer as soon as you can.

Your lawyer will provide you with legal advice regarding the laws in your state and possible consequences. Your attorney will also be able to advise you regarding available legal defenses as well as represent you during any meetings or court appearances.

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