A fake identification, also called a fake ID or fake driver’s license, is an identification card that is manufactured by an unauthorized source to resemble a state-issued license. A fake license can be used for a wide range of illicit purposes that require masking an individual’s identity.
The use, possession, and manufacture of a fake license, for any reason, is illegal and may lead to serious criminal penalties.
Why Do People Use Fake Driver’s Licenses?
There are numerous reasons that an individual may 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, for example, bars or dance clubs;
- Using the fake ID for fraudulent or illegal immigration purposes;
- Driving even though one’s original license has been suspended or revoked; or
- Using the ID to conduct criminal fraud or for fraudulent business practices.
Crimes associated with fake IDs are often associated with juvenile crime because the fake ID is often used by underage minors to enter night clubs, drive vehicles, or purchase alcohol.
What Are the Different False Identification Offenses and Penalties?
There are many different offenses and classes of false identification charges that carry different penalties at the state level. In general, the possession and use of a fake ID is classified as a misdemeanor.
This means that it carries a prison sentence of less than one year. Common examples of false ID offenses and their associated penalties include:
- Fraudulent use of another’s valid driver’s license: In most states, it is a misdemeanor to use another individual’s identification for personal use, or to sell a form of identification so that another individual 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, or an individual 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 typically 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 an individual’s citizenship status is a very serious crime. In many states, an individual who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship of another individual is guilty of a felony and may be sent to state prison for 5 years with a $75,000 fine; and
- 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 may carry a sentence from 1 to 7 years in jail.
What Happens if You Get Caught Making a Fake ID?
Making fake IDs and selling fake IDs may result in felony charges. These types of crimes involve forging government documents, which increases the severity of the crime.
The penalties an individual may face will depend on the number of fake IDs that are involved. If a crime involves a federal document, such as a passport, an individual may also face federal criminal charges.
What Punishment Can I Face for Manufacturing, Selling, or Buying Fake IDs?
Typically, fake ID laws punish the act of misrepresenting an individual’s identity in two ways, one, by using the fake identification to falsely identify themselves, and two, by tampering with or falsifying an actual identification card. This assumes that the ID in question is not used to falsify citizenship.
Those types of cases are much more serious and may enter into the realm of illegal aliens and terrorism. Punishments related to fake IDs may include may result from using a phony ID or modifying a real ID.
If an individual uses a fake, or phony, ID, it may result in prosecution for a variety of offenses. Every state will have its own penalty for a fake ID charge because these laws are governed at the state level.
The punishment for these types of offenses may range from a $500 misdemeanor in some areas to being classified as criminal forgery or impersonation. Forgery and impersonation offenses carry sentences of up to one and a half years in state prison.
In each state, if an individual uses a fake ID to purchase a handgun, it is a felony that is punishable by up to 7 years in jail. An individual may also face felony charges if they modify a real ID.
The charges may include tampering with a public record of falsifying official documents. In most jurisdictions, these are more serious crimes because they involve modifying or changing a piece of official documentation, such as a driver’s license.
For example, it carries a maximum sentence of 7 years in jail in New York. Another common fake ID related offense is attempting to buy alcohol while underage.
This offense is typically punishable by a fine under the lowest category of misdemeanors. In addition, all of the crimes discussed above will 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, if an individual is over the age of 18, they are considered an adult for the purposes of punishment, even though they are not an adult for alcoholic purposes. As a result of this, the individual may be eligible for the entire range of penalties, including years in prison, whereas juveniles, those under 18, typically receive just community service and probation.
If an individual is charged with any type of crime involving a fake ID, they should consult with a fake ID lawyer.
Using a Fake ID to Buy Alcohol
A fake ID may be used for a variety of illegal activities that require the individual to hide their identity, as discussed above. Using, owning, or producing false licenses is prohibited and may result in severe criminal consequences.
Although high school and college students do so frequently, using a fake ID is a serious offense. If an individual uses a fake ID to enter a concert, purchase alcohol, or in any other way, falsify their age or identity, they may face severe criminal repercussions.
The majority of fake IDs go unnoticed and are not prosecuted because it is difficult for law enforcement to keep an eye on every pub and liquor outlet in the nation. For individuals who are caught, this only makes things more challenging.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Fake Driver’s License Charges?
If you have been charged with or arrested for the possession or sale of false identification, it is essential to consult with a juvenile lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you regarding the laws of the state, the age of majority, and the possible consequences of the charges.
This is a complex area of criminal law and may result in severe, life-changing consequences. For example, a felony conviction may prevent you from voting, owning firearms, and having custody or visitation with your children.
Your future may depend on having a lawyer handling your case.