Many of us may see a criminal charge for using a fake ID in Pennsylvania as no big deal. Kids will be kids, right? But a conviction for a fake ID charge in Lebanon County is a serious issue. In some cases, using a fake ID can be a felony charge. But altering an ID, even by changing a birth date or manufacturing a fake ID, can land your child in serious hot water.
If you have kids in the Cornwall-Lebanon high schools, Lebanon Valley College, or any school in the Lebanon area, you need to ensure that if one of them is facing charges for using, manufacturing, or altering a fake ID, they have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the Lebanon area and court system. A fake ID conviction can affect your child's future education, career, and more.
What Is Considered a Fake ID Violation?
Your child doesn't have to use a manufactured fake ID that they bought from their buddy Eddie's friend down the street to face criminal charges. It's not just illegal to use or manufacture a fake ID. It's also illegal to use someone else's ID or to alter a valid government-issued ID in Pennsylvania.
Some examples of situations that can end in a fake ID charge in Lebanon County include:
- Trying to use someone else's ID as your own
- Showing a fake ID to a law enforcement authority
- Using a forged or fabricated ID
- Altering an official government ID
- Using false information to try to obtain a government-issued ID
- Manufacturing a fake ID
- Selling or giving a fake ID to someone else
- Possessing a fake ID
The only valid ID you may use is issued to you by the state or federal government using only truthful information or documentation that you provide. If your child uses an ID that wasn't issued to them, provides incorrect or false information to obtain an ID, or alters someone else's ID, they could face criminal charges.
People under 21 may often try to use a fake ID to buy cigarettes, vapes, or alcohol. In this scenario, the police could charge them with using a fake ID, presenting it to a law enforcement officer, misrepresenting their identity, and attempting to buy alcohol or tobacco while underage.
Pennsylvania Fake ID Laws and Penalties
Fake ID charges delineated in Pennsylvania's criminal code include:
- False Identification to Law Enforcement Authorities Under Pennsylvania law, it is a third-degree misdemeanor offense if someone furnishes a police officer with “false information about [their] 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. C.S. § 4914 (2000). A third-degree misdemeanor conviction can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and 90 days in jail.
- Manufacture or Sale of False Identification Card Your child may face a second-degree summary offense under Pennsylvania law if they “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly manufactures, makes, alters, sells or attempts to sell an identification card falsely representing the identity, birth date or age of another.” 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.2 (1988). A second-degree summary offense conviction can result in a fine of $150 and 20 days in jail.
- Carrying a False Identification Card Your child could face a summary offense if they are under 21 and use a fake ID or someone else's ID to buy alcohol. See 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.3 (2018). A summary conviction can result in a fine of up to $250 and 90 days in jail. Your child could also face additional charges as a minor in possession of alcohol or a minor attempting to buy alcohol.
Defending Against Fake ID Charges in Lebanon County
If your child is facing fake ID charges, it's important to remember that they are still innocent until proven guilty. An arrest does not mean that a court will convict your child. An experienced Lebanon County criminal defense attorney will be able to evaluate your child's case and determine the best available defenses depending on the circumstances of the case.
For example, section 6310.2, manufacturing or selling a fake ID, requires intent, knowledge, or recklessness as elements of the crime. Your attorney may be able to show that you did not have the requisite intent to meet the elements of the crime. Under section 4914, presenting false identification to a police officer requires the law enforcement officer to be in uniform or identify themselves as such. If they fail to do so, you may have a defense to the charge. It's not common for people to be suspicious of strangers asking for personal information. An experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney will understand the best options for your defense.
Can My Child Expunge or Seal a Fake ID Conviction?
In some situations, your child may be able to expunge or seal their criminal records for fake ID charges. However, expungement in Pennsylvania is a limited option. You can only have charges expunged for a conviction if, for example:
- Your conviction was for a summary offense, and you haven't been arrested or prosecuted in five years
- Your conviction is an underage alcohol conviction
- You are 70 or older, and it's been ten years since your conviction
- The individual has been dead for three years or longer
- You receive a pardon from the governor
- You have a juvenile conviction for fake ID charges, are now over 18, and meet the statutory requirements
You can seal fake ID charges in a wider variety of situations, including misdemeanor convictions. However, you cannot seal felony convictions in Pennsylvania except in very limited situations. Under Pennsylvania law, the court may automatically seal some misdemeanor convictions after five to ten years. Even if your conviction isn't eligible for automatic sealing, you may be able to apply for limited public access for some misdemeanor convictions after ten years.
Can a Fake ID Conviction Affect My Future Education?
A fake ID conviction can impact your child's future education and ability to continue at their college or university. For example, the Lebanon Valley College Student Code of Conduct manual states:
Alleged off-campus student code violations that have or could have a direct, detrimental impact on the College's educational functions, its community members, or the local municipalities, may be resolved through the student conduct system, regardless of any actions that may be brought in civil or criminal court systems. If a student is charged in both legal and student conduct jurisdictions, the College will proceed with its internal review according to its own schedule.
All Lebanon Valley College students are required to report arrests and/or convictions that occur off campus. This includes, but is not limited to, situations that occur over breaks and summer months. […]
The College retains conduct jurisdiction over students for any misconduct occurring while the individual is a student. This jurisdiction is not affected by leave of absence, withdraw, or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student's ability to re-enroll, obtain official transcripts, engage in any College-related activities or functions and/or graduate. All sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility.
The College also reserves the right to dismiss any student(s) whose conduct is detrimental to the College's mission.
A conviction for a misdemeanor or felony, even during high school or college, could also affect your child's ability to enter college, gain valuable internships or scholarships, or continue to graduate school. Your child could also face issues trying to obtain professional licensing, join the military, or become a law enforcement officer after finishing their education.
You Need a Skilled Lebanon County Fake ID Defense Attorney
If your child faces a fake ID charge in Pennsylvania, it's a serious matter. A conviction can affect your child's future education and career and result in jail time and hefty fines. The best way to avoid negative repercussions is to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by their side. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the skilled team at the Lento Law Firm are well versed in handling criminal charges in Pennsylvania. Moreover, Joseph Lento is an experienced student discipline defense attorney. He can help your child navigate the criminal justice system as well as negotiations and defense with your child's school or university. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to find out how they can help you.