In most college campuses, the kid with the fake ID is the hero of the underclassmen-a fake ID can get you a case of beer while you're still a minor, and depending on how good a forgery the card is, can get you into bars and age-restricted clubs.
While flashing a fake ID here and there may not seem like such a big deal, especially if the individual is close to the legal drinking age anyway, there are serious criminal consequences associated with using a fake ID or false identity. Even if you did not make or purchase a forged driver's license or government identification card, you could be on the hook simply for having one.
Pennsylvania law prohibits using or having a false ID card of any kind. Depending on how the fake ID is being used at the time of arrest, the charges can vary, as can the criminal penalties. If a student is caught using a fake ID to buy liquor or alcohol or get into a bar, charges will be filed as a non-traffic summary offense for the first time, which is a violation of section 6310.3 of the PA Crimes Code. A second offense is considered a misdemeanor in the third degree.
The first-offense summary conviction carries penalties of up to 90 days in jail and $300 in fines. Any subsequent violations could land a student in jail for up to a year and he or she could face fines up to $500. Anyone convicted under this statute can also have his or her license and driving privileges revoked for anywhere from 90 days to 2 years, depending on how many prior charges he or she has.
Crimen Falsi Offenses
A criminal conviction for having or using a fake ID may not send you to jail in most cases, but if a conviction of this nature ends up on your criminal record, it could have severe repercussions on your future and your career opportunities. A fake ID charge is labeled as a crimen falsi offense-a crime that involves fraud and false documentation. For this reason, many fake ID convictions are categorized in the same way as crimes involving forgery, perjury and theft.
Having a crimen falsi conviction on your criminal record can make it hard on you in the future as you search for jobs or apply to higher education institutions. It is important to explore all your options when you have been charged with a fake ID crime in order to avoid having a conviction end up on your permanent record.
You may be able to negotiate with the arresting officer for a lesser or different charge, or you may seek to fight the charges in court. If you win your case, you can apply for dismissal of the charges and seek expungement to have the records destroyed.
Another option for college students who are caught using fake IDs may be participation in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program instead of receiving criminal charges and having a criminal record on file. This program is only available to first-time offenders and fosters rehabilitation and restitution while still allowing a participant to avoid the lifelong effects of a criminal history.
At Rehmeyer & Allat, Attorneys at Law, we help clients fight fake ID charges. For more information on your legal options, contact one of our State College criminal defense attorneys today.