It may seem innocent enough: you’re a college student who wants to hang out with your friends at a bar or watch a concert at a 21-plus venue, but you’re not yet 21. So you get a fake ID so you, too, can join in the fun.
What you may not know is that it is illegal to carry and/or use a fake ID to enter an adults-only establishment or purchase items that are only available to people 21 or older.
If you slip by without getting caught using a fake ID, consider yourself lucky. But what if you weren’t so lucky?
From our team of experienced DC student defense attorneys, here’s what you need to know about fake IDs and the consequences you could be facing.
Here’s what you should do if you’re caught with a fake ID
If you’re caught with a fake ID, here are the steps you should take:
- Give up the ID: If a bartender, bouncer or law enforcement officer orders you to turn over your fake ID, do it. There’s absolutely no ID worth causing a scene over and ending up arrested or taken to a police station.
- Often, if you give up the fake identification card and leave the establishment you illegally tried to enter, that will be the end of the conflict.
- If it’s not the end, you could end up facing more than one criminal charge: Not only is it a crime to carry a fake ID, but it’s also a crime to use it. If you end up buying alcohol or cigarettes using a fake ID, you could also be charged with underage possession of alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana if it’s legal to purchase in your state.
- In most cases, being busted for having a fake ID is a misdemeanor offense, and an experienced college criminal defense attorney like Shanlon Wu will work to ensure your punishment is not too severe. Without an attorney, the punishment could range from probation to a few days in jail to a hefty fine, or up to a year in jail or longer, depending on what state you are in.
- In some states, possessing any form of false identification is a felony, which would mean the punishment could be much worse if convicted.
Should you hire a student defense attorney?
If you’re a college student who’s been busted using a fake ID, you could not only face criminal charges – you could also be in violation of your college or university’s code of conduct.
This could result in disciplinary action from your school, in addition to criminal charges. University policies on fake IDs are designed to protect the safety and security of students and staff. University policies typically prohibit the use of fake IDs, and may impose penalties such as suspension or expulsion for students who are found to be in possession of them. In some cases, university police may also be notified of fake ID incidents.
That’s why it’s imperative that you contact an experienced student defense attorney if you’re in trouble for using a fake ID.
Contact DC Student Defense today
Shanlon Wu has ample experience defending college students accused of crimes and policy violations of all types. Contact his office today for a consultation.
These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.