minor drivers license ca what happens if you get caught with a fake id

2022-04-15 11:34

minor drivers license ca what happens if you get caught with a fake id

We Asked Cops What Really Happens When You❻ Busted For A Fake ID

  Borrowing your older sibling’s driver’s license. Buying a fake at a sketchy online site. Photoshopping a copy of your passport.

  College underclassmen do all these things to get their booze on, and very few think twice about the legal risks they carry in their wallets. Getting turned away from a bar isn’t the worst fate you could suffer if a suspicious bouncer asks you what your zip code is.

  We spoke to police officers and criminal defense attorneys who deal with fake ID cases to find out what exactly goes down when you get caught red-handed lying about your age. Here’s what they said:

  Bouncers may confiscate your fake ID and hand it off to the police.

  Yes, really. Our previous interviews with bouncers and liquor store employees suggest this isn’t a common thing, but it definitely happens.

  ”Sometimes we’ll have police waiting outside the bar undercover,” criminal defense attorney Brandon Davis told us. “The bouncer will just hand them IDs that are suspected fraudulent, and they’ll take people into custody [right there].”

  And while exaggerating your age to a bartender may seem like no big deal — every underclassman does it, right? — lying to the cops is a big no-no. Handing a police officer your fake ID and trying to pass it off as the real deal will never work out in your favor.

  ”Any cop all across the board doesn’t like being lied to,” reserve police officer and MTV News writer Craig Goldstein explained. “If you give [a cop] a fake ID, whether you get pulled over or caught at a liquor store, and they say, ‘Is this yours?’ and you keep lying, they’re going to jam you up even more so.”

  People really do get arrested for fake IDs.

  Feeling FOMO because you can’t join your friends at a bar isn’t the worst thing that could happen if a bouncer spots your fake. But arrests don’t happen all the time, of course, so we asked Sgt. Adrian Acevedo, a police officer in New Jersey, just how frequently they occur.

  ”It usually happens during the first few months of the colleges coming back from their break [at] the beginning of their school year,” he told us. “You’ll get [arrests] happening quite often, could be once a week.”

  If you are arrested, you’ll most likely be charged with a misdemeanor…

  The exact charges vary by state, but in New York the most common one is criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree, which is a misdemeanor that could result in up to one year in county jail. Lawyers can sometimes negotiate an initial charge to get you a less severe violation, but this is never guaranteed.

  ”[Fake IDs are] basically always going to be charged as a misdemeanor [in California], but still the attorney may be able to get it reduced to an infraction,” criminal defense attorney Daniel Perlman said.

  …but using a fake ID is a felony in some states.

  In some states — Florida and Illinois, for example — you can be charged with a full-on felony for showing a fake.

  ”[Police] will actually arrest [you] for a felony, as ridiculous as that sounds,” criminal defense attorney Kate Mesic told us. She’s handled fake ID cases from both the prosecution and defense sides. “Most people don’t realize that, that it’s actually a felony [in Florida]. Most of the kids think it’s no big deal.”

  Don’t freak out, though. Before you’re charged, cops usually take into consideration what you were using the fake ID for.

  ”In Illinois [it can be a] class 4 felony for possession of a fraudulent ID,” Davis explained. “However, that is very rare [for] a kid getting into a bar. [Police] usually don’t take that aggressive of an action, but they can.”

  Keep in mind that being charged with something serious — a misdemeanor, a felony — isn’t the same thing as being convicted of said crime.

  ”Without any prior issues, [conviction] would be very unlikely,” Davis said.

  You probably won’t go to jail if you’re a first-time offender.

  Misdemeanor convictions can land you in jail for up to a year, while felonies can lead to several years of incarceration. But again, the circumstances surrounding the fake ID use definitely factor into sentencing decisions. Using a fake to get into a bar is very different from using it to impersonate someone else for financial gain.

  ”When [a fake ID is used] for the sole purpose of obtaining tobacco or booze, we understand that you’re not doing it because you want to commit some bigger crime,” Acevedo told us. “Usually first-time offense people don’t get jail time, but you can be put on probation [or] lose your driver’s license for up to two years [in New Jersey].”

  That’s right, you could lose your real driver’s license for a year or more.

  License suspension occurs in many states, even if you aren’t actually arrested. In Illinois, for example, even though fake IDs can technically be charged as a felony, that’s not what usually happens. Davis revealed that most of the time, the police will confiscate your fake, write up a report and send that report to the Secretary of State, who controls the DMV. Your real driver’s license is then suspended for one year. Fines or community service may also be required depending on whether or not the cops cite additional charges on top of their initial report.

  The driver’s license suspension often applies in non-fake ID situations as well. Open container violations or just being a minor in possession of alcohol can leave you begging your friends for rides. And the consequences get way worse if you’re a repeat offender.

  ”The second [offense in Illinois] would result in a license revocation,” Davis explained. “It’s an indefinite period without driving privileges. You have to go through a hearing with the Secretary of State, which would also require an alcohol and drug evaluation.”

  Creating a fake ID is wayyy worse than just using one.

  Fake IDs typically set you back around $100 depending on the quality and quantity ordered at the time. You might be tempted to create your own instead of forking over your hard-earned cash to a rando who says they know a guy.

  Save your Photoshop skills for your Facebook profile pic. If you make your own fake or make ones for your friends, you’ll be charged with forgery, which is a much more serious offense than possession of a forged instrument.

  ”[In California] that’s a felony charge for forgery of a state document,” Perlman explained. “While it’s unlikely that can result in a prison sentence … a future employer would see [that charge] as one involving honesty.”

  Similarly, fake passports carry harsher consquences than fake licenses.

  We mentioned this previously, but it’s worth repeating here. Passports are federal documents, while driver’s licenses are issued by individual states. If you’re busted with a fake license, the legal consequences are confined to whatever state you got caught in, even if it isn’t your home state. But if you use a fake passport, you could be prosecuted at the federal level.

  ”Federal prosecutions are worse because federal prosecutors generally have more attorneys and money to devote to each case … your chances of winning a trial against a federal prosecution tend to be lower than in state court,” criminal defense attorney Lance Fletcher told us.

  Something will likely end up on your record, at least temporarily…

  Even if you aren’t arrested or charged with anything, driver’s license suspension goes on your public record for the duration of the suspension. Afterwards, you can pay to have it taken off.

  ”Something’s going to go on your record for some period of time,” Davis said.

  Several states have clauses within their legislature that allow fake ID cases to be dismissed without any major penalties if the fake was used for the sole purpose of obtaining alcohol or for entry into an age-restricted venue. In these situations, the defendant — that’s you, the kid who was busted — has to meet the court’s conditions, which typically involve alcohol education classes and community service, before the charges are dropped. Lawyers can help negotiate these specific terms, but again, nothing is guaranteed.

  ”If somebody is arrested, even if the charges are dropped, it will still show up on their record [in Florida],” Mesic told us. Sometimes records can be expunged, sometimes they can’t be. It all depends on the circumstances and many times, whether or not it’s granted is completely discretionary.

  …which could negatively impact your ability to get a job. 🙁

  If you aren’t convicted — and first-time offenders usually aren’t — you can answer “no” to an application’s question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” This doesn’t mean your past is completely buried, however. If your license was suspended several years ago and you never took action to remove the suspension from your public record, an employer could find out. And if you are convicted, that charge will likely go on your permanent record and follow you around for the rest of your life.

  ”Any theft, forgery or fraud charge on someone’s record is going to significantly compromise their ability to find employment,” Perlman told us.

  Borrowing your older friend’s real ID can get you both into trouble.

  In the same vein, lending out your ID to underage friends once you’re over 21 can also land you in hot water. The specific legal repercussions again vary by state. Mesic explained to us that in Florida specifically, both of you could be charged with second degree misdemeanors or have your driver’s licenses suspended.

  The legal process is a total nightmare.

  If you’re arrested, the police will fingerprint you, take your mugshot, all that fun stuff you see go down on “Law & Order.” Regardless of what you are or aren’t charged with, you will likely need a lawyer’s help to make negotiations and sort out court appearances, which occur over the course of several months.

  ”Generally [a] misdemeanor case [in New York] may see three to five court dates before it is resolved,” Fletcher told us. “Simple cases can be resolved with as little as one or two court dates. Complex misdemeanors can last for up to 10 court dates or longer.”

  We won’t even go into the massive fees all those legal meetings and sessions would amount to.

  Even if you aren’t busted, just getting a fake comes with significant risks.

  If you don’t have an older friend or sibling whom you can mooch a real ID off of, the process of finding or buying a fake is sketchy at best. Online manufacturers ask you for personal information, and giving out your real name, address, date of birth or social security number to a stranger across the world means someone could steal your identity IRL.

  ”If you give out your personal identifying information … the person receiving it could use it in a way that you did not authorize or they could give it to a third party to make the ID,” Fletcher told us. “This third party could then save it and use it for other customers.”

  Using someone else’s name on your fake isn’t a solution though, because that comes with just as big of a problem.

  ”If [you’re] using a [fake ID] with someone else’s name, there might be a warrant or something attached to that name [that] now you’re going to take ownership of,” Acevedo explained. “For example … [if the name on your fake ID] has a warrant for murder, you’re going to get brought in and be put in jail until they figure out it’s not you. Murder is an extreme case … but it happens all the time, especially when people [are making multiple] IDs with the same name.”

  Moral of the story? Fakes aren’t as casual as your friends and even the media play them off to be. They come with big risks and even bigger legal consequences if you’re caught. Know your state’s specific laws governing the use of fake IDs. You might need that info someday — though we hope you don’t.

What Happens if You Get Caught With a Fake ID?

  A fake ID is almost a rite of passage in American culture. It may seem harmless if you’re a college student who just wants to hang out with their friends at a bar or watch a once-in-a-lifetime concert at a 21-plus venue.

  The only problem is – you’ve not yet turned 21. So, you get a fake ID that grants you access to all those venues. As innocent as it might seem, what you may not be aware of is the fact that you could get into quite a bit of legal trouble if you get caught.

  What happens if you get caught with a fake ID? Here’s everything you need to know.

  Fake ID laws in different states across the country generally define a fake ID as – Any government-issued legal identification card that has been:


If a law enforcement officer finds you in possession of a fake ID, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

  Keep in mind that even if you “borrowed” your older sibling’s driver’s license and tried to pass it off as your own, that would still constitute a crime. The fact that the true owner was aware doesn’t change anything.

  While the exact charges of being arrested for possession of a fake ID vary depending on the state you live in, more often than not, it is charged as a misdemeanor. In some states like California, a criminal attorney may get it reduced to a minor infraction.

  The misdemeanor penalty for Fake ID possession includes, but is not limited to:

  A jail term not exceeding one year in a county jailSummary probationCommunity serviceMonetary fines whose limits vary by state

In some states, the penalties for using a borrowed ID are less severe than using a forged document obtained from fake ID sites.

  Some states take fake ID possession quite seriously. In Illinois and Florida, for instance, you could face full-on felony charges if you’re caught using a fake ID – as outrageous as it sounds.

  So, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state before you go ahead and get a fake driver’s license. You might be grossly underestimating the severity of the consequences that await you should you get caught.

  Nonetheless, the severity of the charges leveled against you depends on what you were caught using it for. Very rarely will an underage child be charged with a class 4 felony for using a fake ID to get into a bar.

  Keep in mind as well that getting charged isn’t the same thing as being convicted. If you’re a first-time offender, a conviction would be a bit of a stretch. The felony penalties for Fake ID possession include, but are not limited to:

  Up to 3 years in state prison (the maximum term may vary by state)Formal probationCommunity serviceMonetary fines whose limits vary by state

If you are a university student, that’s only part of the nightmare. Here’s what could potentially happen.

  Your parking privileges could get suspendedYou could be expelled from university housingYou could be expelled from the university itselfYou could face temporary suspension or permanent dismissal from university groups, clubs, or organizationsYou could be denied access to university facilities

That’s not all, though. You could even get your driver’s license suspended for up to three years. So, while using a fake or stolen ID might seem innocent enough at the time, it may have far-reaching repercussions that you failed to take into account.

  As defined by state and federal statutes, a false impersonation crime refers to the act of using another person’s name or identity – fictitious or otherwise – to gain an unjust advantage or cause harm to the real person. To prove that a crime of impersonation occurred, prosecutors have to prove that:

  Bond or bail was posted for an individual using someone’s else’s name or identityThe defendant provided, acknowledged, published, and verified a document in someone else’s name and passed it off as true. A classic example of this would be cashing a check made out to another individualThe act committed using the other person’s identity would cause them to be criminally or civilly liable

Here’s an example of false impersonation.

  You borrowed your friend’s car for the day to run a few errands in town. You got distracted by a phone call and rear-ended the car in front of you. You panic since you were driving without a valid license.

  When the other driver asks you your name, you give your friend’s name instead (the owner of the car). In such an instance, you could be charged with false impersonation since you represented yourself as another individual in a situation that could expose them to civil liability.

  Here are some warning signs to look out for if you suspect that someone has stolen your identity.

  Your bank account has withdrawals that you can’t explainYou get calls from collection agencies about debts you didn’t incurYour credit report displays unfamiliar accounts or chargesYou get a notice from the IRS about one or more tax returns that were filed in your name or income reported from an employer that you don’t work forYour health care plan rejects your legitimate medical claim on the basis that you’ve exhausted your cover limit, an assertion that seems outrageous in your opinion

The Federal Trade Commission is the agency charged with handling most identity theft complaints. If you suspect that someone is fraudulently using your identity, visit IdentityTheft.gov to file a report and get a recovery plan.

  The bottom line: Fake IDs aren’t as casual as your friends play them off to be. If you’re busted for using one, you could be looking at some pretty hefty fines or time behind bars, or both. Take the time to research what the specific laws in your state have to say about it.

  If you’ve been charged for possession of a fake ID, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you fight those charges.

  If you have any legal queries, chat online with a Laws101.com attorney today.

What happens if you’re caught with a fake ID?

  For as long as there have been laws restricting certain activities by age, there have been people who try to get around those laws with fake driver licenses or other pieces of phony identification. In Nevada and many other states, it is illegal to possess, sell, or transfer documentation intended to frustrate those laws, no matter what the intent is.

  But, what happens if you’re caught with a fake ID? What are the legal and financial consequences? The attorneys at De Castroverde Law, serving Las Vegas and surrounding areas in Nevada, have put together this guide to answer those questions. If you are ever accused of using a fake ID, our team of criminal attorneys can provide the counsel you need to resolve the matter, quickly and fairly.


  Nevada has long recognized that fake IDs are now being used for serious crimes. The crime of identity theft has become commonplace across the world, and it’s particularly acute in Nevada with our casino-based economy.

  Consequently, Nevada has established several levels of fake ID and identity theft crimes:

  The most severe crime under Nevada law is selling or transferring the personal information of someone who is 60 years or older or considered vulnerable under the law, or in a way that causes a financial loss of greater than $3,000.
It’s also illegal in Nevada to co-opt another person’s identity with the intent of fraudulently obtaining credit, property, or services, or to assist in the theft of someone’s identity.
The act of possessing a fake ID to establish a false identity is also considered a felony.
Finally, it is against the law to possess a fake ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes or for gambling in a casino, or to provide the fake ID documents to allow a person to do that.

Specific penalties will depend on the exact circumstances of each offense.

  Penalties for using a fake ID can be severe and include sentences to prison or jail. The most severe sentences will likely be reserved for repeat offenders. The statutory maximums are:

  Trafficking in personal information of someone over 60 or who is vulnerable or of multiple people is a Class B felony with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Using a fake ID for credit or debit card fraud is considered a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Possessing a fake ID is a Class E felony with a maximum prison time of 4 years and a $5,000 fine.
Selling or giving away a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or to allow someone to gamble, is a gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Possessing a fake ID to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or to allow someone to gamble, is a regular misdemeanor calling for 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Keep in mind that the U.S. government can also charge you with identity theft. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 calls for federal sentences of up to 25 years.

  Nevada law also makes clear that the state takes a dim view of fake IDs. The law states that Nevada can proceed with prosecution whether or not the person whose information has been appropriated is living or deceased, or if the information reflects a completely made-up identity. It also doesn’t matter if the person whose identity has been adopted suffers a financial loss or not.

  Certain limited exemptions do exist. The law does not apply to individuals who possess the personally identifying information of another person in the course of their employment, as long as those individuals do not demonstrate the intent to defraud or otherwise break the law.

  Casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere in Nevada offer the greatest temptation for the use of fake IDs. But keep in mind that casinos are heavily regulated in almost every facet of their gaming operation. Staying in compliance with the various regulations is vital to keep their licenses in good standing — i.e., to avoid fines and other penalties.

  Under Nevada law, no one under 21 years of age is allowed to enter the casino floor. Underage individuals cannot even go into a casino with a parent or a legal guardian. (As an aside, casinos are ready for you on your birthday; you can be admitted into a casino one minute after midnight on the actual date of your birth.)

  The odds are stacked against you. For even if you gain access to the casino with a fake ID, and you win money, you will have to produce the ID again to collect your winnings. Chances are low that you will get lucky twice. If caught, you will lose your winnings and potentially face costly misdemeanor charges.

  Though considered a misdemeanor under the law, getting caught with a fake ID in a casino can have long-term consequences even beyond your wallet. You do not want to handle the misdemeanor charge on your own; make sure you obtain proper professional legal advice.

  Don’t go it alone if you are accused of using false identification in Nevada. The criminal law team at De Castroverde Law of Las Vegas will help you identify and obtain the proper resolution of your case at the lowest possible cost. Our criminal law practice group includes several former prosecutors who understand the elements of a case and will work hard to hold the government to account. Whether it’s reduced charges or dismissed charges, we’ll build you a resolute defense strategy leading to the right outcome. Our attorneys will provide personalized attention, putting together evidence that tells the fullest possible story. We’re broadly experienced in all facets of criminal law will evaluate your case to provide an honest assessment of options. Call us or contact us online for a free consultation.

minor drivers license ca what happens if you get caught with a fake id