When you're young, it's s time to have fun, experience new things, and hang out with friends. Unfortunately, sometimes what we see as harmless fun can have serious consequences, such as using a fake ID to buy alcohol or get into a club. In Pennsylvania, using, borrowing, or altering a fake ID is illegal and can have serious long-term consequences, aside from possible jail time and fines.
If your child is facing fake ID charges in the Panther Valley, Lehighton Area, or another high school in Carbon County, they need an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction for using, selling, or manufacturing a fake ID can have long-term consequences on their education and career prospects. Skilled fake ID lawyer Joseph D. Lento can help.
Fake ID Violations and Charges in Carbon County
If arrested for using, possessing, or manufacturing a fake ID, your child could end up facing a number of charges in Pennsylvania. They could be arrested for:
- Using someone else's ID as their own
- Presenting a fake ID to a police officer
- Using a forged or fabricated ID
- Altering an official state or federal government ID
- Using false information or documents to obtain an official state or federal ID
- Manufacturing a fake ID
- Selling, giving, or “loaning” a fake ID to another person
- Possessing a fake ID
Moreover, if your child tries to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol or tobacco, they could face charges for possessing or buying these products while underage. But they could also face additional charges for using a fake ID.
Pennsylvania's Fake ID Laws and Penalties
Pennsylvania's criminal statutes outlaw possessing, manufacturing, selling, or altering a fake ID, as well as presenting a fake ID to a law enforcement official.
- Presenting False Identification to Law Enforcement Authorities If your child 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,” it is illegal. 18 Pa. C.S. § 4914 (2000). Presenting a fake ID to a law enforcement officer 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 If your child “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,” they may face second-degree summary offense charges. 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.2 (1988). In Pennsylvania, a conviction for a second-degree summary offense. A summary offense is a lower-level crime, less serious than a misdemeanor or felony. However, a conviction for a second-degree summary offense can result in a fine of $150 and 20 days in jail.
- Possessing a Fake ID Card If your underage child uses someone else's ID or a fake ID to attempt to buy alcohol, they could also face a fake ID charge. See 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.3 (2018). Possessing a fake ID is a summary offense in Pennsylvania and is punishable by a fine of up to $250 and 90 days in jail. In addition to the fake ID charges, your child could also face charges for buying alcohol while underage.
Defending Against Fake ID Charges in Carbon County
One of the most important things you can do to help your child after a fake ID arrest is to hire an experienced Carbon County criminal defense attorney well-versed in handling similar charges. Skilled lawyer Joseph D. Lento can evaluate the case, look at the facts, and determine the best way forward, including building a strong defense for your child.
Some of the most common defenses in fake ID cases include:
- Challenging intent: The statute making the manufacturing or selling of a fake ID requires “intent, knowledge, or recklessness” as elements of the crime. A court won't convict your child if their attorney can show they didn't have the requisite intent.
- Challenging notice: The Pennsylvania statute that makes it illegal to present a fake ID to a police officer requires that the officer either be in uniform or identify themselves as law enforcement. Without this, the state can't convict your child of the crime. The statute makes this an element of the crime because it's natural to be uncomfortable handing your real identification to a stranger.
Sealing or Expunging a Fake ID Conviction in Carbon County
The best way to avoid long-term consequences for your child after a fake ID arrest is to avoid a conviction. But that isn't always possible, even with the best attorney. But in some cases, your child may later become eligible to expunge or seal their fake ID records.
In Pennsylvania, destroying records through expungement is only possible in very limited situations, including if:
- You haven't faced an arrest or prosecution in five years and only have a summary conviction
- Your conviction is for an underage alcohol offense
- You are 70 or over, and it's been at least ten years since your conviction
- The applicant has been dead for three years or more years
- You receive a pardon from the governor
- You have a juvenile conviction for fake ID charges, are now over 18, and meet all the additional statutory requirements
Pennsylvania law may allow your child to seal fake ID charges, including misdemeanor convictions, even if they aren't eligible for an expungement. Sealing their records means they will still exist, but the public won't have access to them without good cause. However, your child can't seal felony convictions.
In 2018, the Pennsylvania legislature amended the state's sealing statutes to require the court to seal some records automatically after five to ten years. Even if your child isn't eligible for automatic sealing under this Clean Slate legislation, they may be able to petition the court for limited public access.
Fake ID Convictions in Carbon County and Your Child's Education
If your child is convicted of using or possessing a fake ID, their criminal record can seriously impact their future educational prospects and get them kicked out of college. For example, Lehigh Carbon Community College's Student Code of Conduct states that the school will investigate any alleged violation of state law and may instigate an interim suspension for conduct that occurs on or off campus:
Alleged violations of federal, state and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Code of Student Conduct. When an offense occurs over which the College has jurisdiction, the College conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
The College reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint (additional grounds for interim suspension are outlined on p. 22 of this Code of Student Conduct). Interim suspensions are imposed until a hearing can be held under Section 7 Formal Conduct Procedures.
Any student facing fake ID charges may also be violating the school's code of conduct, requiring an investigation and disciplinary hearing for “[k]nowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, reports, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments.”
Students can take a leave of absence from school until the criminal charges are resolved but may still face the student disciplinary process when they return. Students can face sanctions from the college that include:
- A warning
- Community or college service requirements
- Loss of privileges
- Behavioral requirements
- Educational program, including alcohol education
- College probation
- Eligibility restrictions
- College suspension
- College expulsion
- Other sanctions
As you can see, a criminal conviction in high school or college can significantly impact your child's college and graduate school plans. Moreover, after school, a criminal record can also impact your child's ability to obtain professional licensing, obtain a security clearance, or work in fields like finance, the military, or law enforcement.
Hire an Experienced Carbon County Fake ID Defense Attorney
A criminal conviction on a fake ID charge can have serious consequences for your child's future career and educational prospects, including continuing their education at their current college. If your child is facing fake ID charges, you need an experienced Carbon County defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the skilled legal team at the Lento Law Firm have defended many Pennsylvanians in court and before school disciplinary committees. Joseph Lento is also an experienced student discipline defense attorney who can simultaneously help your child through the criminal justice and school disciplinary systems. Give the Lento Law Firm a call at 888-535-3686 and find out how they can help you.