FAKE ID: Laws, Penalties and punishment

It is important to find a good attorney who will help to defend the rights and avoid punishment.

Fake identity documents give young people the opportunity to buy alcohol, get into the nightlife, and even rent an apartment before they turn 21. It is considered that all these privileges allow minors to live a full life and enjoy their time much more than without it.

Nowadays, manufacturers who make fake ID cards do it very well to make the card look so authentic that it is impossible to distinguish it without special equipment. Novelty IDs have several layers of protection that is necessary to ensure the safety of future users. A young student is afraid of being caught by bouncers or police officers as this can cause some problems at the state level. The type of punishment varies from state to state. It also depends on the type of сommitted crime, the age of the person and the number of police records previously.

What is a Fake ID?

Many underage young people want to get into nightclubs and be able to obtain alcoholic drinks anywhere. However, U.S. law has prohibited access to the nightlife and drinking alcohol before the age of 21 years. To circumvent government regulations, minors use a forged identity document or a bogus driver’s license. It looks exactly like the genuine one, but people can only use it in unofficial places since the false ID is not real. These fake IDs are not in the state database. A fake ID is any type of identity document that is forged or altered. There are 2 options, either do it on its own with Photoshop and a printer, or order from professionals on a trustworthy online store. Anyway, whether it is a driver’s license or a national card – it does not matter, you can not use it for legal activities. There is only one way to use a fake card everywhere – to steal or borrow someone else’s official ID for a while.

Possession, Production, Modification, Sale, and Use

The law prohibits to have, possess, produce, use, sell, resell, transfer forged documents. It is completely illegal to do anything with a fake ID. Possession is the most common fake ID crime. Whether you use it or not, you will be punished anyway. If a minor buys cigarettes or alcohol with a fake ID or gets into the nightlife using a modified card, he will be deemed to have broken the law.

Each state in the United States has specific laws about the use of forged identity cards. Penalties and fines vary from state to state. Also, each of them has special methods of detecting fakes. Local police and security personnel know what their state’s identity cards look like. Their appearance varies from state to state. For example, California is completely different from Illinois, etc.

Use of a Stolen ID

If you use identity card of someone else that not is yours, the Department of state law will punish you. It is common for young students who have not reached the age of majority, ask friends to borrow their driver’s license for a while to hang out with alcohol in any night place. Bartenders and bouncers check on the card only the date of birth, but, of course, the person who uses someone else’s ID, should look like a real holder. When anyone uses borrowed or stolen ID cards, it is considered a fake ID crime.

Multiplied penalty

Actually, mostly minors, who are less than 21 years old, commit crimes using or having fake ID, but sometimes adults also buy fake ID. They can do this for various reasons, for example, to obtain a driver’s license without taking exams or they need it to rent a house for a party. Be careful, as several states can punish the owner of a fake ID card for its possession as well as for having alcohol if they catch you while buying or holding a bottle. In this case, you will have to pay twice. A penalty can also be reduced if you agree to confess and tell the officers the honest truth about the place where you bought it and when you used it.

Vendor’s Responsibility

Shops and establishments, that sell alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, other tobacco products, or all kinds of weapons, require people who look young to show them an identity card, as state laws require this mandatory. Suppliers should make sure that they only sell the special product to adults. Owners of establishments will also be under investigation and will be charged if it turns out that they sell alcohol to minors. The state can punish them in some strict ways, such as fines, suspension of the license and even revocation of the license. However, if the retailer has and uses the testing equipment to check whether the ID card is valid or not, all the fault is taken off of them.


There are various penalties for the possession, production or use of a false identity card. Each individual case depends on several factors, such as state law, age, type of action, human behavior, and more. In most cases, when a person uses a fake ID, he commits an administrative crime or misdemeanor. However, there are some states that consider the possession and use of forged identity documents as a felony offense, especially when a person buys firearms.

  • Prison. Offenders, who have been convicted of a crime with a false identity, can be sent to prison. However, for the first time, convicted people can avoid imprisonment in case of recognition of the committed administrative offense and promise not to repeat it ever. There are other mitigating circumstances that will reduce the penalty. On the other hand, the misdemeanor of a fake ID can put you in jail for 90 days as a possible sentence, that is common in the United States. A felony may result in a term of one year or more imprisonment.
  • Fines. The most common types of penalties are fines. The amounts of the fine vary considerably. It also depends on many factors. For example, when someone is convicted of a fake ID crime, he could be charged $1,000, no more. In case you are convicted for the first time and committed a light crime equal to a misdemeanor, you only have to pay $500 or less. As for criminal offenses, offenders will be fined up to $100,000.
  • Probation. Another common sentence is probation. The term is actually 12 months or so. Probation means to carry out orders that the judge has ordered in accordance with the crime committed. When you have a trial period, you should prepare a daily report. The supervisor checks all the reports every day and monitors your activities. During the probation period, it is necessary to behave well and implement all the requirements according to the verdict of the court. Nonсompliance may result in an extension of probation or imprisonment.

Find an Attorney

If you are caught with a fake ID, you need to seek the help of a good lawyer immediately. But do not think that being caught with a fake ID will not bring any harm to the offender. A qualified attorney will help you avoid harsh punishments and smooth out the circumstances of the crime, but the punishment will still be. In any case, any serious crime or administrative offense is punishable by law.

It is in your best interest to contact a local lawyer once you have your fake ID confiscated, only local lawyers can give you advice on your case, because they not only know the applicable laws but also have experience with local prosecutors and judges.

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