Many of us have fond memories of using or borrowing a fake ID to get into a club, trying to buy beer, or getting into a concert as a kid. It's not a big deal, right? Unfortunately, what we remember as a youthful indiscretion is against the law in Pennsylvania and can result in a criminal record or even a felony conviction. If your child borrows an ID, buys one, loans someone a fake ID, or even tries to change the birthdate on someone else's ID, it can carry serious consequences.
If you have a child arrested for fake ID charges in the Pleasant Valley, East Stroudsburg, or any school in Monroe County, they need an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction for using, manufacturing, or altering a fake ID can affect their future educational and career opportunities, following them for years.
Fake ID Violations and Charges in Monroe County
Many of us have preconceived notions about what a fake ID charge involves. Your child doesn't have to buy a fake ID online or from some guy they met at school to face criminal charges. They could also face charges if they borrow a friend's legitimate ID or try to change the information on their own state-issued ID.
Your child could end up facing fake ID charges if:
- They try to use someone else's ID as their own
- They show a fake ID to a law enforcement authority
- They use a forged or fabricated ID
- They alter an official government ID
- They use false information or documents to try to get
- a state-issued ID
- They manufacture a fake ID
- They sell, give, or “loan” a fake ID to someone else
- They possess a fake ID
Your child may only use an ID issued to them by the state of Pennsylvania or the federal government, providing accurate information or documents. Using any ID not issued to them, giving incorrect information while trying to obtain an ID, or changing an ID, can result in an arrest and criminal charges.
If your child is underage and uses a fake or altered ID to try to purchase alcohol or tobacco, they could face charges for attempting to buy alcohol or tobacco while underage, but they could also face fake ID charges, especially if they present a fake ID to a police officer.
Pennsylvania Fake ID Laws and Penalties
Pennsylvania's criminal statutes contain several sections regarding fake IDs:
- Presenting False Identification to Law Enforcement Authorities If someone presents a fake ID to 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). This crime is a third-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $5,000 and 90 days in jail.
- Manufacturing or Selling a False Identification Card Anyone who “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” can face second-degree summary offense charges in Pennsylvania. 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.2 (1988). If convicted of a second-degree summary offense, your child could face a fine of $150 and 20 days in jail.
- Carrying a False Identification Card If your child is under 21 and uses a fake ID or someone else's ID to buy alcohol, they could face a summary offense. See 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.3 (2018). A summary conviction is the least serious category of a criminal offense, considered a lower-level offense than a misdemeanor or felony. However, a summary conviction can result in a fine of up to $250 and 90 days in jail. Your child may also face charges for possessing or attempting to buy alcohol, besides the fake ID charges.
Defending Against Fake ID Charges in Monroe County
An arrest or a charge for using or possessing a fake ID isn't a conviction. Your child is still innocent until proven guilty, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect their rights. Experienced Monroe County criminal defense lawyer attorney Joseph D. Lento can evaluate your child's case, look at the facts and the circumstances surrounding the arrest, and help build the best defense possible.
Your attorney may work on challenging:
- Your child's intent: The statute's elements governing the manufacturing or selling of a fake ID require “intent, knowledge, or recklessness” as elements of the crime. If the state fails to show that your child had the requisite intent, the court won't convict your child.
- The actions of the police officer: Section 4914 of the statute governing presenting a fake ID to a police officer requires that the officer either be in uniform or identify themselves as a police officer. If the officer fails to do this, the state can't show that your child violated all the elements of the crime. This can be a common defense to fake ID charges because many people are suspicious of providing personal information to a stranger who isn't in uniform.
Sealing or Expunging a Fake ID Conviction in Monroe County
In some cases, an experienced fake ID attorney can help get charges against your child dismissed or reduced and give them the best possible chance in court. But if the court does convict your child of fake ID charges, your child may be able to expunge or seal their fake ID criminal or arrest records.
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania law only allows expungements in some very limited situations, including:
- Your child has a summary offense conviction and hasn't faced an arrest or prosecution in five years
- Your child has a conviction for an underage alcohol offense
- It's been ten years since your conviction, and you are 70 or over
- The expungement applicant has been dead for three years or longer
- Your child receives a pardon from the governor
- Your child has a juvenile conviction for fake ID charges, is now over 18, and meets all the additional statutory requirements
Pennsylvania law allows you to seal fake ID charges, including misdemeanor convictions, in a wider range of cases. Sealing your child's records means they will still exist, but the public will have limited access to them. But if your child has a felony conviction, their options for sealing their records are much more limited.
Pennsylvania's Clean Slate statute requires that the court automatically seal some misdemeanor or summary offense convictions after five to ten years. However, you may be able to apply to limit public access to your record, even if your conviction isn't eligible for automatic sealing.
Fake ID Convictions and Your Child's Education
A conviction for using or possessing a fake ID can seriously impact your child's future college and graduate school education. For example, Lafayette College's student code of conduct states, “[T]he College reserves the right to hold students or student organizations accountable for any behavior that violates any federal, Commonwealth, or local law or ordinance that is not otherwise specifically addressed in the code. For incidents that occur off campus, the laws of the local jurisdiction will apply to this Policy.” Moreover, the school will broadly hold students responsible for illegal conduct:
For the purposes of enforcing the Code of Conduct, students are accountable to the code from the time they are notified of their acceptance to the College until they receive their degree, resign, or are expelled from the College. This includes conduct that occurs between semesters, while a student is on a temporary leave (voluntary or involuntary), or has been suspended from the College. An individual who has been awarded their degree, resigned, or otherwise separated from the College may still be held accountable to the Code of Conduct for behavior that occurred while that individual was a student, even if the behavior is not discovered until after the individual has been awarded their degree, resigned, or otherwise been separated from the College. The College may proceed with conduct procedures even while a student is on a temporary leave from the College, or after a student has resigned from the College.
On top of this, the college has its own policies about fake identification presented while on campus. The student code of conduct expressly prohibits:
- Knowingly providing false information to College officials, resident advisers, law enforcement officials, emergency medical or fire personnel, or authorized agents of the College acting in the performance of their duties is prohibited.
- Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified, or forged materials, including, but not limited to, documents, accounts, records, permits, identification or financial instruments, and/or misrepresenting oneself as another person is prohibited.
Violations of the student code of conduct related to on-campus conduct or off-campus conduct resulting in an arrest or conviction for fake ID charges could result in:
- Formal warning
- Warning probation
- Disciplinary probation of varying levels
- Social probation
- Educational sanctions
- Loss of privileges
- Parent or guardian notification or conference
- Revocation of admission or a degree
- Substance use assessment
- Other sanctions designed by the case administrators and hearing panels
Even a high school or college conviction on fake ID charges, whether a misdemeanor or felony, can affect your child's college admissions, scholarship awards, internships, and graduate school. In many cases, a criminal conviction can also prevent your child from joining the military, holding a security clearance, joining a law enforcement agency, or obtaining professional licensing, even if they can finish their degree.
Hire an Experienced Monroe County Fake ID Defense Attorney
If you have a child facing a fake ID charge in a Pennsylvania court, it's important to take the matter seriously. A criminal conviction can impact your child's ability to complete their education, have a fulfilling career, and result in jail time and substantial fines. Your child's best option for avoiding a criminal conviction is to hire experienced criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento. Joseph Lento and his skilled legal team at the Lento Law Firm have handled criminal fake ID charges for many Pennsylvanians. Attorney Lento is also an experienced student discipline defense attorney, able to help you and your child negotiate with your child's school and navigate the criminal justice system. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 and make an appointment for your consultation.