If you're facing a charge for giving false identification to law enforcement in Pennsylvania, it's often difficult to look beyond the immediate consequences of a conviction. While jail time and a hefty fine can certainly be serious, having a criminal conviction on your record can also have long-term consequences. A criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor, can affect your future educational and career possibilities. Fortunately, Pennsylvania believes in giving people a second chance. So, our state offers several options to clean up your criminal arrest and court records.
Expungement is often the “gold standard” for cleaning up your record in Pennsylvania. With an expungement, the court orders your arrest and court records destroyed, ensuring that no one can access them. However, very few people qualify to expunge their records in Pennsylvania, so the state also offers the option of sealing records. You may qualify to seal your record for giving false identification to law enforcement automatically through Pennsylvania's “Clean Slate” legislation. Alternatively, you may petition the court to limit public access to your record through Pennsylvania's Act 5.
Pennsylvania Law Prohibiting Giving False ID to Police
Under Pennsylvania law, someone is guilty of giving false identification to law enforcement authorities if:
A person commits an offense if he furnishes law enforcement authorities with false information about his identity after being informed by a law enforcement officer who is in uniform or who has identified himself as a law enforcement officer that the person is the subject of an official investigation of a violation of law.
18 Pa. Stat. § 4914 (2000).
Providing false ID to law enforcement includes providing both fake identification cards and providing a false name to a police officer verbally. The law enforcement must be in uniform or have identified themselves as a law enforcement officer. Moreover, you must be the subject of an official investigation for violating the law.
Penalties for Giving False ID to Police
Giving false identification to law enforcement authorities in Pennsylvania is a third-degree misdemeanor. Under Pennsylvania law, a third-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $250 to $5,000. While a misdemeanor doesn't sound serious, it can still affect your future in some career fields. Fortunately, you may be able to clean up your record after your conviction.
Using Clean Slate to Seal Your Record for Giving Fake ID to Police
In 2019, the Pennsylvania legislature passed legislation designed to make sealing a criminal record easier and accessible to more people. Under the new “Clean Slate” legislation, the state will automatically seal the records of those who qualify. Before this new legislation came into effect, only a small number of the people qualified to seal their records petitioned the court to do so. In some cases, people didn't seal their records because they didn't know they could, but others didn't follow through with sealing their records because the process can be so cumbersome to navigate.
You may be able to automatically seal your record under Clean Slate if:
- Your conviction is for a minor summary offense, considered a grade below misdemeanors in Pennsylvania,
- Your conviction is only for a second or third-degree misdemeanor,
- Your conviction is for an ungraded offense or a misdemeanor that is punishable by only five years or less in prison, or
- You don't have a conviction because the court found you not guilty or dismissed the charges against you.
The waiting period for automatic sealing under Clean Slate will vary depending on whether you have a criminal conviction and the grading of your conviction. However, if you have a third-degree misdemeanor for giving the police fake identification, you may qualify for automatic sealing under Clean Slate. You should consult an experienced Pennsylvania expungement and sealing attorney to discuss your options.
Sealing Your Record for Presenting a Fake ID to Police with an Act 5 Petition
Not everyone will qualify to seal their records automatically with Clean Slate. If you aren't eligible to use Clean Slate, you may be able to petition the court to seal your record under Act 5, which applies to a wider range of criminal convictions. Sealing your record with Act 5 won't happen automatically; you must petition the court to seal your records.
You may qualify to use Act 5 sealing if:
- It's been at least ten years since you completed your sentence and paid all your fines,
- You have a misdemeanor conviction or a conviction for an ungraded offense punishable by five years or less in prison,
- During your ten-year wait, you don't have any prosecutions or arrests that are punishable by a year or more in jail.
Typically, an offense for giving a fake identification to law enforcement is a third-degree misdemeanor, which may qualify for automatic sealing under Clean Slate. However, if you don't qualify for automatic sealing for another reason, you may be able to petition the court to seal your record under Act 5. You should consult an experienced Pennsylvania sealing and expungement attorney to discuss your options.
Sealing Felony Records in Pennsylvania
If you have a felony conviction, you won't be able to seal your record under either Act 5 or Clean Slate. Pennsylvania law only allows those with felony convictions to seal or expunge their records in very limited situations. For instance, you can only expunge a felony in Pennsylvania if:
- You receive a pardon from the Governor,
- You are at least 70, and it's been at least ten years since your criminal proceedings, or
- If someone convicted of a felony has been dead for at least three years.
If you also have a felony conviction in addition to a misdemeanor conviction for giving a fake identification to law enforcement, you should consult an experienced Pennsylvania sealing and expungement attorney to discuss your options.
Hire an Experienced Pennsylvania Sealing Attorney
If you have a conviction for giving false identification to a police officer in Pennsylvania, you have options for cleaning up your record. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his skilled team at the Lento Law Firm can help. They've been helping people like you navigate sealing and expunging Pennsylvania criminal records for years. Find out how they can help. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686 to schedule your consultation, or contact them online today.