Young adults may believe they can use fake IDs to purchase alcohol or cigarettes as improvements in technology have made it easier to make fraudulent cards scanned by barcode readers in convenience stores and elsewhere. If you're caught using a fake ID, and the police get involved, they just confiscate it and make an embarrassing phone call to your parents, right? While Hollywood movies and nostalgic high school stories may romanticize this, the truth is that Pennsylvania takes its laws governing fake IDs seriously.
The punishments for young adults possessing, manufacturing, or selling fake IDs are severe. Not only will charges lead to possible fines and community service, but adolescents can also find themselves in jail for doing or so. Convictions will either establish or add to a criminal record that impacts a young adult's ability to succeed. Whether they may be applying to college, seeking a valuable professional license, or attempting to secure a loan, getting charged for a fake ID will affect you or your child for a long time.
If your child has been charged with breaking fake ID laws in Dauphin County, it's imperative that you contact a skilled attorney who can help you build a strong defense against the allegations immediately. You don't want to stand idly while your child's future is torn from them because of adolescent mistakes.
What Is Considered a Fake ID?
Valid IDs are issued to a specific person—any Pennsylvania resident over the age of ten—by the federal government or the State of Pennsylvania through the Department of Transportation (PENNDOT). Applications for an ID require truthful information supported by official documentation presented by the person for whom the ID is issued.
Prohibited actions surrounding IDs come in many forms. Some examples of law-breaking situations include:
- Altering your or someone else's ID
- Falsifying information to obtain a government-issued ID
- Manufacture, sale, or possession of a fake ID
- Presenting a fake ID to a law enforcement authority figure
- Showing an ID that was not issued to you
- Using an expired ID
For instance, if you're an 18-year-old high school student and you think that you and your older sister—who is of drinking age—look very similar and you use her old ID to buy alcohol, not only will you be in trouble, but so will your older sister. Just because you may have the same address, last name, and nearly identical looks, it doesn't mean you can get away scot-free.
Pennsylvania Fake ID Laws
Section 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (C.S.) details the parameters for crimes and offenses, including the consequences of using fake IDs for young adults in Dauphin County.
False Identification to Law Enforcement Authorities: Section 4914 states that it's a third-degree misdemeanor to provide "law enforcement authorities 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."
Manufacture or Sale of False Identification Card: Section 6310.2 states a person will be charged with a second-degree summary offense 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."
Carrying a False Identification Card: Section 6310.3 levies a summary offense on a person under the age of 21 that uses someone else's ID or a fabricated ID to buy alcohol.
Pennsylvania Fake ID Law Penalties
Summary offenses may not seem very serious, but they lead to harsh penalties, including but not limited to a maximum of 90 days in jail. For a young adult, having a jail sentence on your record can ruin many opportunities like applying for student loans, getting a job, or joining the military or Pennsylvania National Guard. Pennsylvania courts also hand down mandatory suspensions of driver's licenses for young adults carrying fake IDs.
Under Section 6310.3, those convicted may have to pay a fine of up to $500. A first-time offense under Section 6310.2 will carry up to a $1,000 fine, and subsequent violations will result in fines of no less than $2,500. Convictions under Section 4914 have even more harsh sanctions, as a third-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania can leave a young adult serving a jail sentence of up to one year.
High School Troubles Caused by Fake IDs
High school students may believe they can avoid problems at school by using fake IDs in vacation towns on spring break. However, legal trouble in a different locality typically finds its way back to a student's hometown. At Central Dauphin High School, if a student is engaging in "illicit activities," they may be subject to an "intervention" program known as a Student Assistance Program (SAP). Implemented by the State of Pennsylvania in 1982, SAP is part of the student's permanent record and includes:
- Behavioral observation and monitoring forms
- Screening assessments
- Referrals for counseling
- Agency or district release of information forms
- Action taken by SAP team
Each school district handles records release differently. If you're caught with a fake ID in Dauphin County, the college or university you're applying to may know about legal issues in your past, leaving you less competitive in the applicant pool.
College Student Code of Conduct Fake ID Violations
In addition to law enforcement officials, knowingly providing false information to college officials, resident advisers, or authorized agents of a college or university violates many postsecondary schools' codes of conduct. At Dauphin County's Messiah University, possessing a fake ID is considered an act of dishonesty and misrepresentation. Students may also be charged with using fake IDs to assist another student cheat on exams or classwork. A student found responsible for violating Messiah University's Code of Conduct or Community Covenant may receive a range of possible punishments, including suspension or expulsion.
The penalties are severe with this type of academic misconduct, and students are likely to lose their federal loan eligibility and private scholarships, including opportunities for internships.
Defending Against Fake ID Charges in Dauphin County
Even though the laws on fake IDs may appear forthright, an experienced attorney understands how to build an argument and legal defense to keep a student from the worst circumstances. Your attorney can demonstrate—under Section 6310.2—that your child acted neither intentionally, knowingly, nor recklessly in using the fake ID, helping to prove their innocence. Section 1520, Title 42 of the Pennsylvania C.S. allows a pre-adjudication disposition. Your attorney can negotiate for your child to avoid a guilty plea and be subject to alternate sections like:
- Community service
- Job training
- Educational program
- Self-improvement courses
An experienced attorney can also use Section 4914 to assert that your child didn't know that a person asking for their ID was a law enforcement official, and the authority figure may have failed to identify themselves.
How Can a Fake ID Charge in Dauphin County Affect Your Child's Future?
Although you may think being charged for using, possessing, or fabricating a fake ID is no big deal, the consequences can hang over you for years. Many employers, colleges, and the armed forces regard a fake ID charge to reflect an untrustworthy character. A criminal background check—required for most of those mentioned above—will reveal a fake ID charge, even if the Pennsylvania criminal justice system eventually drops the charge.
Young adults with charges or convictions on their record may need to explore expungement options with an experienced Pennsylvania attorney to protect their reputation. Although expungement may be helpful, the best approach is to defend yourself with the help of an attorney from the beginning.
Begin Working With a Dauphin County Fake ID Defense Attorney
If you or someone you love has been accused of possessing, manufacturing, or selling fake IDs in Dauphin County, you need to respond quickly. The Pennsylvania criminal justice system is already on its way to preparing its case and should be too. Developing an early defense strategy alongside a successful fake ID defense attorney is critical in facing a situation that can cause harmful, long-lasting repercussions.
Joseph D. Lento and his team and the Lento Law Firm understand that presenting a skilled defense of fake ID accusations is multi-faceted. Attorney Lento is not only skilled in fighting for the accused in Dauphin County but a proven student defense attorney who knows how to communicate with disciplinary boards to negotiate a more positive outcome. To learn how Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help mitigate the impacts of fake ID accusations in Dauphin County against you or your child, call 888-535-3686 now, or visit the online consultation form.