An identification card made by an unofficial source to imitate a state-issued license is known as a fake ID or false driver’s license. Fake licenses are used for a variety of illegal activities that call for hiding the user’s identity. Any usage, ownership, or production of false licenses is prohibited and may result in harsh criminal consequences.
Using a fake ID is a serious offense, even though high school and college students do it frequently. You risk facing severe criminal repercussions if you use a fake ID to enter a concert, purchase alcohol, or in any other way, falsify your age or identity.
Most fake ID uses go unnoticed and unprosecuted since it is difficult for the police to keep an eye on every pub and liquor outlet in the nation. For those who are caught, this only makes things more challenging.
What Is the Punishment for Using a Fake ID?
Fake ID laws typically punish the act of misrepresenting your identity in two ways: first, by using a fake identification (or a real identification that does not belong to you) to falsely identify yourself, and second, by tampering with or falsifying an actual identification card.
This assumes that the ID in question is not for falsifying your citizenship, which is much more serious and would enter the realm of illegal aliens/terrorism. Punishments may apply to:
- Using a Phony ID: Using a fake ID can result in prosecution for a variety of offenses. Each state will have its own penalty for a fake ID charge because these laws are governed at the state level. These punishments can range from being a straightforward $500 misdemeanor in some areas to being classified as criminal forgery or impersonation, both crimes that 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: You might be charged with another felony, such as tampering with a public record or falsifying official documents, if you have also actually interfered with a real identity card. This is a more serious crime in most jurisdictions that punishes the act of modifying or changing a piece of official documentation like a driver’s license. For instance, it carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in jail in New York.
The act of attempting to buy alcohol while underage is illegal and usually punishable by a fine under the lowest category of misdemeanors. Additionally, all of the crimes listed above will result in a driver’s license suspension for a period of time ranging from 90 to 180 days.
Although it may seem a bit paradoxical, if you are over 18, you are considered an adult for the purposes of punishment (even though you are not an adult for alcoholic purposes). As a result, you are eligible for the entire range of penalties, including years in prison, whereas juveniles (those under 18) typically receive just community service and probation.
Can the Punishments Increase?
If you are repeatedly caught using a fake ID, the prosecutor or judge has a lot of leeway in what charges they choose to bring against you. In addition, there are numerous additional (and severe) laws that you might be charged with violating if you use someone else’s genuine ID due to the prevalence of identity theft rings nowadays. On the other hand, if someone provided you with their valid ID to use, they too might be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor and sentenced to up to a year in jail in addition to fines.
Finally, there are laws in certain states that permit bars or liquor retailers to sue minors who attempt to use a fraudulent ID for civil damages. For instance, Alaska permits a business to seize the ID and then sue the youngster for $1,000 for each offense. This is in addition to the option of holding you in custody pending arrest and any related penalties.
The juvenile court will determine the best penalty for a minor. Instead of just punishing the minor like an adult, these repercussions are meant to rehabilitate and educate them. As a result, juveniles have more alternatives to prison than adults.
A minor may receive a variety of punishments, from instructive lectures to a certain amount of time spent in a juvenile detention institution, as determined by the juvenile court. Hence, the origin of the colloquial name “juvie.”
The following are some potential legal repercussions for a juvenile offense conviction:
- Detention by the juvenile justice system
- Compulsory education
- Community service
- Probation or parole, and
- Hefty fines
Depending on their age, the conviction could stay on the minor’s permanent record for life.
The following elements will determine how likely it is that a minor would experience any of the punishments mentioned above:
- The nature of the crime;
- Whether or not a weapon was used in the crime;
- The severity of the crime’s harm or damage;
- How their local community and legal system respond to the alleged crime (i.e., how they feel about the crime);
- Whether the child was a repeat offender (i.e., had any prior convictions);
- The family’s living situation;
- Whether the child has any mental health issues; and
- Whether the child was already on probation or parole for a previous offense.
Juveniles are nonetheless given the protections of constitutional rights since they are citizens of the United States, even if juvenile cases are conducted in civil rather than criminal court. This implies that adolescent offenders in the criminal justice system will have many of the same or equivalent rights as adult defendants.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that juveniles had the right to counsel during legal proceedings. If a kid or their parents are unable to afford legal representation, the state will appoint an attorney on their behalf.
Juveniles have the right to be informed of the charges being filed against them.
The right to make a phone call is granted if the youngster is already in custody, and it is likely that they will remain there for a significant amount of time. They may phone their guardians or parents, who could then contact an attorney on their behalf. A minor may also choose to get in touch with a lawyer.
Any remarks the juvenile makes to the police after the police deny their request to call a parent, guardian, or attorney will be admissible in court. The minor requests to exercise their Miranda rights by asking to meet with one of those people.
Again, although juvenile trials are viewed as civil rather than criminal concerns, the youngster will still have the opportunity to confront and cross-examine any witnesses who are giving testimony. Through their attorney, the child can refute those witnesses.
Finally, adolescents are not permitted to participate in jury trials and cannot post bail, unlike their adult counterparts.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Many people may consider using a fake ID to be a milestone, and the crime’s prevalence may give the impression that no one has been hurt. However, the penalties for those detected can be severe and expensive. Your chances of enrolling in college or landing a good career may be adversely affected if you get caught with a fake ID to buy alcohol.
You, therefore, want a knowledgeable juvenile attorney who can advise you on how to reduce your sentence, outline your rights, and possibly obtain the expungement of the conviction from your record.